Well, it’s actually prune cake. No, not the dried prunes that your grandfather eats from a bag. Prunes, contrary to common belief, are just another variety of plum, more oval, with a seed that’s easier to remove, and skin that is the most beautiful, matte shade of blueish-purple. In Northern Germany, where my parents live, they’re the most common kind of plum available, leading to lots of great plum desserts. This yeast cake with a nutty streusel topping is probably the most popular. When I was little, my friend Moritz and I used to make it with his mom, and then sell slices by the roadside, along with fresh coffee from a thermos. Those sad little lemonade stands could suck it! It’s how we afforded our first fish tank, which was housed in Moritz’s room, but to which I had unlimited visitation rights, leading to a life-long obsession with fish (and plum cake)!


Plum Cake


For the dough:

1 whole wheat flour

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

a pinch of salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 oz. yeast

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg

Mix the two flours, sugar and salt.

Heat the milk so it’s just lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle in the yeast, then add the butter in little chunks.

In a mixer, use the dough hook to knead the flour with the egg and the milk mixture. Keep kneading until none of the dough stick to the sides of the bowl. You may have to scrape the bowl and the dough hook a couple of times during the process.

Cover the bowl and let it sit in a warm spot for an hour.


For the topping:

4 1/2 lbs fresh prunes, or other plums

1/2 cup butter

2 cups pecans, roughly chopped (this is my americanized version….most other nuts will work just fine)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tblsp. cinnamon

2/3 cup brown sugar

While the dough is rising, wash, halve and pit the prunes.

Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and work them between your fingers until you get a crumbly mixture.


When the dough has risen, give it another quick knead, then lay it on a buttered half sheet pan and use your fingers to stretch it out to the edges. Cover again and let it rise for 15 more minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Lay your prunes on the dough, cut side up. Make sure they’re close together.

Cover with the crumb topping.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the sides are golden-brown.