After an amazing stroll in Bristol’s Clifton village, I just couldn’t resist buying some more damson plums at the local greengrocers. I almost feel a bit sorry for my other half as I’ve already made several plum cakes, muffins and plum jams this autumn but haven’t had a chance to present him my favourite damson plum cake recipe from Munich, known as “Zwetschgendatschi” (Zwetschge = damson plum in German).
If you are in or around Munich this time of year, it’s almost impossible to find a bakery which doesn’t sell a version of my beloved “Zwetschgendatschi”. It usually is a tray bake and comes in many variations; plain, with cinnamon sugar, sliced almonds or my all-time favourite, crunchy crumble.
The damson plum cake crumble can be easily made in advance as it keeps for up to week in the fridge but as with most cakes, it’s at its best while still warm and with a deliciously crunchy topping which becomes soft over time but nevertheless is still very delightful.
De-stoning damsons can be a bit of a pain and I definitely wouldn’t want to miss my WMF plum pitter which de-stones plums quickly while beautifully cutting the fruit half way in quarters, making them more presentable.
Make most of the best season of the year when many fruits are at their best and often don’t have to travel long distances to hit our stores. Even better ask around colleagues and friends which might have a plum tree and are happy to share/get rid of their crop.
Damson Plum Cake Crumble AKA Zwetschgendatschi Ingredients
Source: concoction of Dr. Oetker (German only) cookbook and own recipe
Preparation Time: 50 minutes, 60-90 min proving
Baking Time: approx. 30 minutes
You will also need: a rectangle baking tray, approx. 30x40cm (1 foot x 1 foot 4 inch)
- 1kg/35 oz de-stoned and semi-quartered damson plums (or any other plums)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the yeast dough:
- 300g/10.5 oz plain flour
- 180ml/6 fl oz milk (lukewarm)
- 30g/1 oz fresh yeast or heaped tea spoon dried yeast
- 40g/1.5 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 40g/1.5 oz soft unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
For the crumble:
- 180g/6.5 oz plain flour
- 120g/4.5 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 120g/4.5 oz soft unsalted butter
Damson Plum Cake Preparation
1. Wash the damson plums and dry on a kitchen towel.
2. Prepare the yeast dough, by following my damson plum cake pudding recipe, which explains in steps 2-9 in detail, how to prepare a yeast dough. Ignore step 7 as no eggs are used in the damson plum cake crumble.
3. While the dough is proving and doubling in size (30-60 minutes), prepare the damsons. If at hand, use a plum pitter to de-stone and semi-cut them. The pitter won’t cut the damson into four pieces but just cut open the plum on one side and remove the stone. You can then open up the plum like a four-fingered fan which remains in one piece. Otherwise, cut the damson to the stone, open up the plum, remove the stone, cut the damson in half but not all the way and then cut the plum two more times so you have a four fingered fan.
Tip: Keeping the damsons in one piece will make it easier to arrange them on the cake later, creating a lovely pattern. Don’t worry if they fall apart, just use the single pieces, they are also great for filling in any gaps.
4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan oven (in the USA approx. 392ºF/356ºF fan oven).
5. Line the baking tray with grease proof paper and trace the corners with a pen (so you know how large to roll out the dough).
6. Once proved, knead back the dough, place the prepared grease proof paper on a clean surface and roll out the dough to the size of the pre-marked square (about 7-10mm/approx. 1/4 inch thick).
7. Quickly but carefully move the grease proof paper with the dough back into the baking tray and press into the shape of the tray.
8. Leave to prove for another 10 minutes and arrange the plums next to each other until they are all used up.
9. Sieve half a teaspoon of cinnamon over the plums.
10. For the crumble place the flour, sugar, vanilla essence and butter into a food processor and briefly blitz all ingredients until the crumbs are formed. Otherwise use an electric hand whisk but place a clean kitchen towel over the bowl as they might come out flying from the bowl the second you turn on the whisk, not leaving you with much for the cake.
11. Stir the crumbs with a fork and carefully spread over the damson plum cake.
12. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
13. You know the damson plum cake crumble is done, when you lift a corner carefully from the tray and it’s golden brown at the bottom.
14. Place the damson plum cake crumble on a cooling rack and enjoy while still warm or once it’s cooled down completely.
- Autumn harvest (independent.co.uk)
- Damson and blackberry Eton mess recipe (telegraph.co.uk)
- Delicious damson recipes (telegraph.co.uk)