Vegan German plum cake
Vegan German plum cake
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…
- 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)
- 195 g / 1½ cup + 2 tbsp buckwheat flour
- 20 g / 2 tbsp cornflour / corn starch
- 80 g / ¾ cup finely ground almonds (or almond meal)
- 1 tsp gluten-free certified baking soda
- ½ tsp gluten-free certified baking powder
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
- 3-5 red plums, cut into 6 slices or halves
- 2 tsp icing sugar, to decorate (optional)
- 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.
- Mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
- 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.
This recipe is based on my mum’s plum cake and this recipe.
This looks amazing, but when I tried to make it the dough was very thick and dry. It was hard to mix all ingredient together. It would not pour.
What consistency should the dough / batter be please?
Which version did you make (gluten-free or regular?) and did you use scales to measure out dry ingredients? It sounds like this must have been due to a measuring error. The batter should be thick but still barely pourable. I consulted my recipe testing notes and there doesn't seem to be an error in this recipe and have had many people make this cake and I've had no similar complaints. Ania
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!)
I used a square 20 cm / 8" tin. Hope that helps! Ania
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!
A very beautiful and delicious cake!
Perfection as always from @lazycatkitchen
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!
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
I will be making this with different fruit and using it a base for many other flavours!
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
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. 😊
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
All the best,
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...
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
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
Can I also omit baking powder and increase baking soda and lemon juice? I don’t use baking powder.
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
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
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
What size baking tin should we use?
I used 20 cm / 8 " square baking tin so anything with similar surface area will be great. Hope that helps! :) 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!
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