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Simple German Plum Kuchen Recipe

When I friend told me she had the perfect recipe for empress plums, I didn’t realize it was a plum kuchen until she texted me a mishmash of instructions combining a few different recipes. Of course, I then changed her mishmash a little more.

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Tray of empress plum kuchen sitting on a wrought iron table.

This may not be a fully traditional German kuchen, but it’s an incredibly simple preparation with very few ingredients. And it tastes absolutely amazing.

The tartness of the plums pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the creamy custard. This German plum cake is sweet and tangy without being overpoweringly rich.

This is a totally different version of a kuchen than the peach kuchen my great grandmother passed down in my family, but both recipes are uniquely delicious in their own way.

Slice of homemade peach kuchen on a plate on a wooden table.

What are the best plums to use for pflaumenkuchen?

I used empress plums, but you can use whatever fresh plums are in season at the time. Empress plums are in season generally from late summer to very early fall, and you may see them called prune plums, blue plums, Italian plums, or European plums.

That said, this works well if you choose a different type of plum like red plums or black plums or even golden plums. The most important part is choosing a ripe plum that separates well from its pit.

If you can find these Italian prune plums while in season, use them, however. They have a deliciously concentrated taste, and I love the way they turn bright fuchsia when baked.

Overhead shot of a pan of plum kuchen.

Should I peel plums when I bake with them?

Nope. The skin on plums not only gives this plum kuchen a gorgeous color, but it adds to the tartness of the taste, as well.

When you bake them, the skin softens, so it’s easy to cut through as you slice the cake.

Plus, it saves time, and plums don’t peel nicely. In general, you can often leave peels on fruit when you bake with them, whether you’re making a granola apple crisp or fresh peach scones. The exception of course is fruits like mango or papaya where you never want to eat the skin.

How do I store German plum cake?

Once you let the plum kuchen cool to room temperature, then cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

It lasts for about three days in the fridge, and yes, it tastes delicious cold. Do not reheat it, as the custard separates when you try, and no one wants that.

You cannot freeze pflaumenkuchen either. Custard separates when it freezes, and it does not make for a nice texture.

Can I make gluten free kuchen?

Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, the friend who originally shared this has children with multiple allergies, including a severe gluten allergy.

She uses her favorite gluten free flour blend in a one to one substitute. In fact, her kids are also allergic to dairy, so she uses rice milk in place of the milk to make this dairy free and vegan, as well.

Gluten free flour works really well in this recipe and creates a delicious and still flaky crust. She promises.

Does this simple crust really work?

To be honest, this is the question I asked my friend – twice – when she first shared that part of the recipe with me. It seems too simple to work, but it does.

She assured me that this actually makes a pretty good pie crust in general, and it turns out light and flaky somehow. It actually does.

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I don’t know the chemistry behind this one because it was a new technique to me, but it makes a perfect pie crust base for the kuchen. And yes, I do in fact intend to use it in other recipes.

How to Make German Plum Kuchen

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Add milk and oil to a medium mixing bowl. Add salt, granulated sugar (just the amount for the crust!), and all purpose flour, and mix with a spatula until combined.

Press with clean hands into an ungreased 9×13 glass baking dish. You don’t need to make it perfect, but try to make it fairly even, and press the dough up the sides about an inch all around.

Slice your washed plums in half, and remove the pits. Place them cut side down in the baking dish so that they touch.

In your now empty medium mixing bowl (why dirty another bowl?), add the eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and flour. Whisk vigorously until the mixture loosens and starts to become more airy.

It starts out somewhat thick, but once the sugar dissolves, it changes texture. Make sure you give it a good couple minutes of whisking, or you can choose to beat it on medium speed with your mixer.

Carefully pour the custard mixture over the plums.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. You want the edges lightly browned and the center not jiggly, but don’t overbake it to where the custard is hard.

Let your plum kuchen cool for 15 minutes to set, then enjoy!

Save this plum kuchen recipe to make again!

Overhead shot of a pan of plum kuchen.

Plum Kuchen

Yield: 24 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This simple dessert recipe takes just a few minutes to make and uses very simple techniques to create a delicious and tangy dessert you're sure to love.


For the crust:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 12 plums
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add oil and milk to mixing bowl with salt, sugar, and flour. Mix with a spatula until combined.
  3. Pat dough into 13x9 glass baking dish and 1" up sides.
  4. Slice plums in half and remove pits. Place cut side down to fill the pan over the dough.
  5. In mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, and flour. Whisk 2-3 minutes until loose and airy.
  6. Pour custard mixture over plums.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until top no longer jiggles in the center.
  8. Remove from oven and let set 15 minutes, then serve. Store leftovers tightly covered in fridge up to 3 days.


  • This recipe is perfect for empress plums when they're in season. If you can't find them, this works with another plum variety.
  • For more tips and hints, be sure to read the full article.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 3g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe above and save it on Pinterest so you can find it to make again and again. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think about it, too!

Side on shot of plum kuchen on a white plate with text tradtiional plum kuchen with fresh plums.

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Sunday 10th of July 2022

It looks like a good recipe-except there is no mention of the sour cream- except in the ingredient list!


Sunday 10th of July 2022

I don't know how that disappeared! It thankfully was in the full description but not in the recipe card. It's updated, so thank you for pointing that out!

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