A piece of Zwetchgenkuchen on a plate with plum in the background

German plum cake: a traditional Zwetchgenkuchen recipe

The one thing that would always get me super excited as a kid, was the smell of my Oma's Zwetchgenkuchen baking in the oven. Spending almost every summer in Germany, I quickly grew accustomed to their daily coffee break ritual, where cakes and pastries were always served. The best sweets were of course, homemade.

Thought to have originated in the town of Augsburg, Germany, today, Zwetchgenkuchen can be found in all regions of the country. Our absolute favourite (aside from Oma's of course), was found in a small bakery in the main square of Ludwigsburg.

Best Zwetchgenkuchen in Ludwigsburg

Traditional Zwetchgenkuchen is made from Italian plums, which are also known as prune plums or empress plums. These are smaller, and a little more tart than regular plums. Unfortunately, you can only find Italian plums from the end of August until early October.

Look for plums that are firm but not hard, and deep purple in colour. You can also allow them to further ripen in the refrigerator if need be.

There are many variations of Zwetchgenkuchen. Some versions use yeast to make a more bread-like crust. Oma's is more like a thin-crust pizza. If you want a slightly thicker crust, you could easily just use a smaller pan to bake the kuchen on.


  • 2 kg Italian plums, pitted and quartered


  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp water or white wine


  • 125g flour
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 65g unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. 1
    To make the dough for the crust, start by sifting the flour into a bowl. Cut cold butter slices into the flour with a pastry blender or fork until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. 2
    Add the sugar, egg and water, roughly combining everything using a fork.
  3. 3
    Use your hands to combine it into a smooth dough. Do not overwork. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. 4
    While you are waiting for your dough to chill, make the crumble topping. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well.
  5. 5
    Add the melted butter. Combine using a fork until coarse crumbles form. Set aside.
  6. 6
    Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Roll out the chilled dough on a floured countertop or board.
  7. 7
    Lay the dough out on a standard-sized cookie sheet. The dough should be on the thin side and roughly cover the entire sheet. Using a fork, poke some holes throughout the surface of the dough to prevent it from puffing during baking.
  8. 8
    Place your quartered plums in rows on the dough, leaving a half an inch border around the entire pan. Sprinkle the crumbles over the entire cake.
  9. 9
    Bake for 45 minutes until the crust is golden. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.

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Marianne Giordano

Author - Marianne Giordano

Marianne is a writer and family blogger specializing in outdoor travel and adventure. With her husband and four children, she is exploring the world, trying new foods, and making awesome family memories.

Last Updated 15 October 2022

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Germany is a country in the heart of Europe, which is rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. Wander through narrow streets, explore fairytale castles, go for a hike in the Alps or take a boat trip down the Danube - one of Europe's most scenic waterways.