Vegan German plum cake

Vegan German plum cake

vegan german plum cake cut

I’m so looking forward to sharing this cake recipe with you. Firstly, because I want you to be able to make the most of the plum season. Secondly, because I want to be able to stop making this blooming cake 🙂 . This is my 9th attempt at this puppy and it’s great as the recipe has been thoroughly tested, but the trouble is, you see, that I enjoyed the ‘testing’ process a little bit too much.

I tried to offload some to my yoga class guys, friends and neighbours but it hasn’t been easy as it’s August and no one wants to leave the house (the roads are insane – massive traffic jams and reckless driving in full swing) so, unfortunately, I’ve been ‘forced’ to eat a bit too much of it myself 😉 .

This recipe is based on a classic Polish (although most people know it as German, go figure) plum cake that my mum used to make when I was a child. It features a fluffy sponge base with pools of jammy plums on top and a light sprinkling of icing sugar to finish. Unfortunately, my mum’s cake was neither vegan (it contained 4 eggs!) nor gluten-free so to provide a vegan and gluten-free option for you guys, I’ve had to twist this recipe a fair bit.

I decided to make the crumb a little lighter by swapping a portion of the flour for finely ground almonds. You don’t need to use almond meal for this though, although you can. I simply ground whole almonds until fine in my very average food processor and it did the job perfectly well. This cake is fluffy and rises beautifully thanks to the combustive reaction between lemon juice and baking soda.

I was really happy with my 5th iteration and was ready to shoot photographs for the blog, but on my 6th attempt, I went a little bit too plum-happy and crammed so many plum chunks on top that, when the cake rose, there was no rhyme or reason to the pattern and it looked like I decorated it under the influence. I decided that it wasn’t good enough to be photographed.

My 7th attempt was looking very promising, it rose beautifully in the oven and had a nicely browned top but then the unthinkable happened and one rebel plum sabotaged all my effort by sinking to the bottom of the cake causing it to crack a little (if you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen this rebellious plum on our Instagram Stories).

My 8th attempt was also not a beauty! All the plums appeared to have huddled together in two thirds of the cake, like they were planning on making a runner as soon as the oven door opened, leaving the cake looking annoyingly unsymmetrical. Argh! I toyed with shooting this imperfect cake, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. My inner perfectionist was not happy as I knew how good this cake could look. As it happens, all of my test runs looked better…

So this is my last, 9th. Before I started, I took all the plums aside and gave them a little pep talk about the importance of teamwork and not bursting other plums’ personal bubbles and it looks like it has finally worked…

vegan german plum cake

vegan german plum cake side

vegan german plum cake cross section

vegan german plum cake close up

makes
20 cm / 8”
PREP
10 min
COOKING
55 min
makes
20 cm / 8”
PREPARATION
10 min
COOKING
55 min
INGREDIENTS
WET INGREDIENTS

  • 240 ml / 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp / ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup melted mild coconut oil (or other mild tasting oil)
  • ½ tsp bitter almond essence*
  • 125 g / ½ cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar

DRY INGREDIENTS (GLUTEN-FREE VERSION)

DRY INGREDIENTS (REGULAR VERSION)

  • 220 g / 2 cups all purpose white flour
  • 80 g / ¾ cup finely ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 3-5 red plums, cut into 6 slices or halves
  • 2 tsp icing sugar, to decorate (optional)
METHOD
  1. Heat up the oven to 170° C (or 150° C fan forced) / 340° F (300° F fan forced). Grease a baking tin with a very small amount of oil.
  2. Mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift through all the dry ingredients, except for the ground almonds. If you are using wheat flour, be careful not to overmix the batter as the cake will be tough.
  4. Fold in the finely ground almonds. Again, if you used regular wheat flour, take care to fold them in very gently or else the cake will be tough.
  5. Transfer the batter to a lightly greased baking tin. If your tin doesn’t have a removable bottom, it may be a good idea to place 2 long and wide strips of baking paper down first so that you can use them as handy tabs to make cake removal easier.
  6. Decorate with plum segments or plum halves if your plums are little. To prevent plums from sinking to the bottom, dip the side of the plum that will rest directly on the batter in a little bit of all purpose flour (or cornstarch for the GF version) first before arranging on top of the cake.
  7. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
  8. Once cool, remove from the tin, sprinkle the top of the cake with a little bit of icing sugar and perhaps a dusting of ground cinnamon too, if you like.

NOTES
*Please adjust the amount of almond essence to the particular brand you have as they vary vastly and too much essence can render the cake unpalatable. I used VAHINE Bitter Almond Essence as that’s what I had to hand.

This recipe is based on my mum’s plum cake and this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
250
12%
sugars
13 g
14%
fats
13 g
19%
saturates
8 g
42%
proteins
4 g
9%
carbs
29 g
11%
*per serving
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5.0
23 reviews, 51 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Mackenzie:
I really enjoyed this recipe. My boyfriend did find it too lemony (he's picky though) even though I just used the juice of one lemon and topped the rest up with distilled white vinegar. The texture of the cake was great, really soft and almost chewy (in a good way) thanks to the almond meal. The plums add a great freshness and flavour to the batter and could easily be substituted for similar fruits (eg. peaches, apricots, cherries.) Overall, would really recommend if you're looking for a plum cake recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it. As for it being too lemony, you could safely dial down the amount of lemon juice to 2 tbsp and use 2 tbsp of plant milk or even water - the effect will be the same. Also, be aware that vinegar is much more potent and acidic than lemon juice, which might have been responsible for too much tang. Thank you so much for taking the time to review, much appreciated. x Ania
Janina:
This recipe is sooooooo amazingly good. Like I can't believe how good it is. I highly recommend making it. It's not too sweet, the crumb is marvelous, and the fruit is so good. I used the regular flour version.
I made some substitutions.
--Apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.
--1/4 tsp Anise extract + 1 tsp vanilla (just what I happened to have on hand...worked great)
--1/4 c + 2 tbsp cane sugar
--1/4 c allulose (to reduce the calories a bit and the grams of sugar)
I ended up using 3 plums cut into eighths and I made a pretty pattern on the top. Baked for 55 min. I used a 9-in square pan. I also make my own almond milk, so I have a ton of almond meal that I never know what to do with. This recipe is perfect! I will make it again and again (with different fruits!)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Janina. I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed this cake, especially that it has a special place in my heart (my mum makes an amazing one). Your substitutions are very sound. And thanks so much for taking the time to review, I appreciate it. x Ania
Beth:
This is one of my favorite recipes! I moved to Germany three years ago and I am celiac and vegan (allergic to milk and eggs) and I long to taste the lovely Pflaumenkuchen that I see. The flavor of the buckwheat adds so much.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much for your kind words, Beth! I am delighted to hear that my recipe enabled you to enjoy this beautiful cake despite your allergies. I am a bit fan of buckwheat flour too and I am really happy that you appreciate its flavour in this simple cake. x Ania
Rachel:
Absolutely delicious. I sprinkled some flaked almonds on top and used regular almond extract and my partner said it reminded him of a cherry bakewell, so it didn’t even matter thar the majority of the plums sank. I’m going to attempt to bake it in a pastry case and add some cherries to lean in to the bakewell vibe. I did worry that the sunken plums would make the cake too moist, but everyone loved it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Rachel, that's so lovely to hear that it was enjoyed so much. Yes, plums are tricky customers due to the fact that they are heavy so you'll definitely have better luck with cherries! I agree, it does have the flavours of bakewell tart and I cherry version was on my summer recipe list in fact, although it's so hot at the moment that it won't happen for a while ;) x Ania
Karina:
How big was the cake pan you used?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Karina,
    I used a square 20 cm / 8" tin. Hope that helps! Ania
Michelle:
Delicious and easy
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Michelle, I am delighted to hear that and I really appreciate you taking the time to review. Thank you. Ania
Kim Black:
Awesome I've been using the coconut milk and lemon base to create a few different caked now and it works amazingly. Thankyou so much
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, I am so pleased to hear that and thank you for letting me know. x Ania
Elizabeth Crewe:
So unbelievably fluffy- can’t believe it’s gluten free! Sifting the flours was definitely worth it.
I didn’t have buckwheat flour, so replaced it with 50-50 mix of blended oats and quinoa.
Also didn’t have almond essence, so I took inspiration from your loaf recipe an used cardamom.
Also, used erythritrol to make it sugar free.
In the end, it still worked out beautifully, as all your recipes do!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Elizabeth! I'm delighted to hear it came out so well although as you changed the ingredients quite a bit, I suspect most of the credit goes to your superior baking skills ;) x Ania
Rafi:
Hi Ania, I have just made this plum cake and it came out amazing. Many thanks for sharing this recipe. I will certainly make it again soon.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Rafi, I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much! x Ania
Rebecca Willmott:
This recipe is amazing. Super simple and easy to follow instructions. I used plums from my allotment, great way to use up surplus fruit. I used oat milk instead of coconut milk and spelt flour instead of plain and almond flour. I would try using almond flour next time to give a nutty flavour. I received lots of compliments when serving this cake. I made it twice in two days! The cake is super moist, subtly sweet and fluffy! Thank you for such a great recipe Lazy Cat Kitchen!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, Rebecca! I'm delighted to hear that it went down so well and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a review. x Ania
Rebecca:
This turned out so great! I followed the recipe to the letter (for once!).
A very beautiful and delicious cake!
Perfection as always from @lazycatkitchen
xxx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Rebecca! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it so much and thank you for taking the time to leave a review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Bhakti Caruso:
Hi Ania! Just made this cake (GF version) and the texture and flavor of the cake is on point! Fluffy, moist, delicious, just wonderful. I made two slight variations and I have a question for you. The first is that I put about a 1/2 tsp salt as I have a preference for baked goods, esp cake, to have some salt. The second variation I made was to add a tiny pinch of cardamom powder, as this spice accentuates the fruitiness in a recipe ( Froot Loops purportedly contained this spice as a secret ingredient.)
My question for you: How do you keep the plums from sinking? I dusted the side of the plums that touched the batter with cornstarch, but they still sunk. Seems that this is a finicky art to nail, since that's why you made this cake so many times. If you would share any tricks you learned in the process this would be so appreciated. The beauty of this cake is the plums on top, like your pictures, and I hope for some insight into how to achieve this "work of art" look!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Bhakti,
    I'm really pleased to hear that you enjoyed the flavour and texture of this cake and I'm so down with the addition of cardamom! As for the 'plum-gate', I don't know if there is much that can be done to be honest. The plums sink because they are heavy and the cake rises around them, not so much with them. The only thing I have noticed that if you resist the temptation to push the plums into the cake at all they tend to look a little less sunken. Another trick is to use lighter, smaller fruit or smaller segments of plums. That's all the wisdom I'm able to offer, I'm afraid. x Ania
Nikki:
Loved this recipe! It was moist and delicious.
I will be making this with different fruit and using it a base for many other flavours!
Thank you..
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Nikki! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it and plan to make regularly. Yes, it totally works with lots of different fruit although stone fruit is recommendation personally. x Ania
Holly:
Thanks for the awesome recipe. So light and fluffy and a great use for our plum harvest.
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Holly! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. x Ania
I made this recipe and it was delicious! Very moist and the plums taste great on it
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear that you enjoyed my cake and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. Ania
Juliane:
I've made this recipe several times - it's become my go to cake. It always comes out delicious! I like that it's written in metric (so much easier) and that it's so versatile (you can use plums, peaches or other fruits).
Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Juliane! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoy it so much. And thanks so much for taking the time to rate and review the recipe - much appreciated! x Ania
Rosie:
We made this and it was AMAZING! So light and creamy. The tip about not over mixing was very helpful, that's my downfall with vegan cakes and this one wasn't tough or dense at all. Thanks for your recipes, they are the best!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Rosie! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and rate the recipe – much appreciated! Ania
Emily:
Hello! This looks so amazing... I have all of the ingredients now, except for an 8" pan. I have 9x13 only.... Should I make an extra 1/2 batch of the batter?
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Emily,
    Yes, that's probably not a bad idea, you may also need to increase the baking time a little as they cake may end up a little higher. Ania
Summer:
Hi Ania,
I wanted to let you know I’ve been making this cake for years. It’s a staple every time plum season comes around here in Utah. Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes! I have a lot of German heritage and have enjoyed your updates to classic recipes. 😊
~Summer
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's lovely to hear, Summer! Thank you :) Ania
Tracey:
This looks delicious and I will be trying it this week but can you let me know if the cake can be frozen? I have a cake fayre at the beginning of October and would love to take this along.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tracey,
    I haven't tried - I only have a tiny freezer and always tends to give away my cakes rather than freeze them - but I don't see why there would be an issue. I mean fresh is obviously best, but I reckon it will taste fine thawed too. Hope that helps! Ania
Silvana:
Thank you for your reply! I believe I used just one tsp of baking soda and I mixed it with the dry ingredients. My oil was sunflower oil first cold press. I did replace a little bit of buckwheat flour (because it was the first time ever I was going to eat it) for whole wheat flour that I regularly use in baking (organic, ultra-fine, lovely brand). It went 3/4 cup of almond meal, 1/2 cup buckwheat and 1 cup of whole wheat to the batter. We loved the texture of the cake! I believe I will be trying the regular version soon and maybe do some other experiment not vegan (so I can discard the baking soda idea) with the buckwheat. They say so many marvelous things about the buckwheat that I really hope it is not that I just do not like it
;)
All the best,
Silvana
    Ania
    Ania:
    Next time maybe just decrease baking soda to ¾ or even ½ tsp and increase the amount of baking powder a little. I doubt it's the buckwheat, it does have distinct flavour, but I would say it's fairly nutty and when incorporated into a cake - quite subtle. Having said that I grew up eating buckwheat so perhaps I am used to the flavour a bit more than an average person. I hope you'll enjoy the taste too next time. x Ania
Silvana:
Hello Ania from Buenos Aires, Argentina!
I've just tried your recipe with the buckwheat version, just because I wanted to introduce this flour into our diet. It turned out beautiful and perfect. Almost like the picture! hehe
But I did not like the taste (ooo). Could it be I just do not like the buckwheat? It was really bitter and almost salty. The other explanation for me would be the baking soda (I never use this much), but I am not sure about this...
Cheers,
Silvana
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Silvana,
    I am glad the cake come out looking the part although I am very sorry to hear about the funky taste. What you describe could be too much baking soda or baking soda not mixed in properly, but 1 tsp is pretty standard in vegan cakes and definitely not too much for 300 g of flour (buckwheat, almond, cornflour) so unless you put more by mistake, I am not sure why you are having this issue. I made this cake many times and I've never detected a funny taste. What oil did you use? I used grapeseed oil a few times and I did not like how the cake tasted afterwards. Sorry I cannot be of any more help! Ania
Annette:
Excellent recipe, tastes great, my son went straight into the tin with a spoon! Been vegan for 2 years and only just discovered your blog, very much appreciating the Polish influences! Thank you :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Annette! Thank you :) Merry Xmas!
Zahava:
I wonder how your cake looks so light if you used buckwheat flour.
    Ania
    Ania:
    The addition of cornflour/cornstarch and almond meal lightens the crumb of the cake. Hope that helps! Ania
Ari:
Hello, I would like to try the gluten free version of this plum cake and I was wondering if I can use coconut sugar instead of caster sugar.. thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, you certainly can, Ari! Ania
Roz:
i always try to increase whole grains in my baking and often substitute it for some (not all) of the white flour. Can i do this here, using either white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour? Say a quarter or a third?
Thanks.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Roz,
    I have not tried that and do not tend to do this unless in wetter cakes, like carrot cake for example, which can take extra coarseness. This cake has quite a light and delicate crumb so adding wholewheat flour will make it less so but if you like that, sure! Ania
Manthy:
Hi Ania, looks amazing! I want to try this recipe but can I use something other than almond meal? I have flax, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, coconut - would any of these ground up into meal work as a substitute? I’m going to make coconut milk from scratch for this anyway so I’m wondering if I could use some of the leftover pulp in this recipe.
Can I also omit baking powder and increase baking soda and lemon juice? I don’t use baking powder.
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Manthy,
    Any finely ground up nuts should work fine instead, but in terms of flavour, walnuts or hazelnuts would probably be my first choice. As for your other question, I am not sure. I have never made this cake without baking powder, plus cakes do tend to have a bitter aftertaste if there is too much baking soda so I would personally not recommend doing this. Hope this helps! Ania
Gail:
Amazing recipe! Really easy to make and tastes awesome :) Thanks à lot for sharing it :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Gail! I'm delighted to hear that!! x Ania
Allison Smith:
I just found your website after looking for a vegan plum cake recipe, and I am so glad that I did! Here is a tip if you ensure that you have a nice moist cake, add some vegetable glycerine to the batter, My mother got this tip from a French pastry chef and always used it and it works!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Allison,
    Thanks for your tip, that's very interesting indeed, but I try to use easily accessible ingredients in all my recipes and I don't think vegetable glycerine is widely used in home kitchens. Ania
Hazel:
I bake often and tried the gluten free version and it just did not rise and was very tough so sadly it went in the bin, although I saved the plums so I can try again.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Hazel,
    I'm sorry you hear that. What makes this cake rise is the reaction between baking soda and lemon juice, did you use both of these? I have made this cake 9 times and so I am confident the recipe works well. Please don't get discouraged and if you want us to trouble shoot together, please let me know. I'm happy to help! Ania
encendete:
delicious, I can not wait to eat that
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks :) Hope you'll like it! Ania
Juliana:
I made the gluten-free version today with Italian prune plums and it was quite good. I really enjoyed it and my mom loved it too. We both loved the lemon-almond flavor of the cake, and the buckwheat was very satisfying and hearty - an interesting choice for the gluten-free flour. The plums were incredible in this cake. Out-of -this-world. I ate 2 big slices about 7 hours ago and I'm still not hungry. Usually when I eat cake, my blood sugar goes all out of whack and I'm shaky and famished an hour later. I feel good about this cake. I'll make it again. I was thinking about making muffins next time and keeping them in the freezer.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for lovely feedback, Juliana! I'm pleased you liked my cake, especially that it took me many tries to get it spot on :) Muffins could work, sure. Ania
carrie:
Hi Ania,
What size baking tin should we use?
Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Carrie,
    I used 20 cm / 8 " square baking tin so anything with similar surface area will be great. Hope that helps! :) Ania
Nicola:
I made the gluten free version this morning and used nectarines as I didn't have any plums! The cake is delicious and I've already eaten a third of it! :-D
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for great feedback, Nicola! We're chuffed to hear that you liked it that much!! x Ania
Huyen:
Lovely as always Ania ;)
The rebellious plum and your pep talk about team work have made my day haha
I have only a bit ground almond left but will go ahead and give this a try!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Huyen! Yes, I was a bit at the end of my wit with these plums so I'm relieved they finally looked the part :) I'm having 'plum sinking to the bottom of the cake' nightmares now, ha ha. Ania
Alison:
Haha! Great story. Love that the plums responded to your pep talk. Also, I really want to know how you got icing sugar on the cake but not on the plums?!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Alison. Thank god they did cos I was really at the end of my tether ;) It was like a plum ground hog day! I used a small sieve and was being very careful. Ania
Nina:
Hi, I have to avoid coconut products. Would this work with either dairy milk or plant milk? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Nina,
    Yes, I reckon it would but I recommend replacing some of the fat lost (coconut milk is fairly fatty) with an increased amount of oil, so for example use 6 tbsp (as opposed to 4) of oil and 210 ml (as opposed to 240 ml) of other plant milk. Hope that helps! Ania
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