…no matter which bakery you walk in, from August to September the Zwetschgendatschi is a staple on every counter here in Bavaria. I don’t think anybody could refuse a still warm slice of this juicy cake. Some are topped with slivered almonds and cinnamon sugar (essential when the plums lack sweetness), others add crumbles – either way, it begs to be buried under a generous dollop of whipped cream.
Our annual backyard party once again was a huge success and our neighbors have generally outdone themselves on the culinary front, yet some creations were so good, they were polished of their plates in no time. Mark’s Zwetschgendatschi was one of them and just before I had finished my slice, I asked him for the recipe. The cake was baked the day Mark’s recipe found its way into my mailbox, and then again, and again. If you can get your hands on a large bowl of fresh damson plums, this recipe is a must. No excuses accepted.
For the dough, pour flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crumble the yeast into the well, sprinkle some sugar over it and pour enough of the lukewarm milk over it to cover the yeast evenly. Briefly stir the yeast milk, then cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the sponge rise in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes until the first bubbles become visible.
Add the rest of the milk, the remaining sugar, butter, egg and salt. Knead the mixture with the kneading hooks of your kitchen machine (or by hand) until the dough can easily be lifted from the side of the bowl. If the dough is still very sticky, add flour by the tablespoon. Lightly dust with flour, then cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until almost doubled.
Meanwhile prepare the plums: Wash, pad dry and cut them in half to remove the stone, then half again. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F) and brush a small baking sheet (~22×30 cm/~8,5×12 inches) with oil or line with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, roll out on a floured work surface until it is approximately the size of the sheet and about 0,5 cm (0,25 inch) thin. Then spread out on the baking sheet and pull into shape.
Arrange the plum quarters in slightly overlapping rows – tightly and cut side up – and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon (depending on the plums’ sweetness and your sweet-tooth-grade). Then distribute the slivered almonds evenly over the cake.
Bake in the oven (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, but make sure that the bottom doesn’t get too dark (I carefully peak underneath after 20 minutes or so with a spatula). Take out, let cool and cut into square pieces. Serve with whipped cream and/or an extra pinch of cinnamon sugar.
Recipe source: inspired by our neighbor Mark
Prep time: ~20 minutes, rising time: ~1 hour 15 minutes, baking time: 25-30 minutes
Ingredients (yield: one small baking tray, ~22x30 cm/~8,5x12 inches):
275-300 g all-purpose flour, possibly a bit more
10 g fresh yeast (cake)
50 g white sugar
100 ml lukewarm milk
50 g butter (at room temperature)
1 egg (medium, at room temperature)
a pinch of salt
600-700g Zwetschgen (Italian prune plums/damson plums)
optional: 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
50-75 g slivered almonds
serve with whipped cream and/or an extra pinch of cinnamon sugar