Italian Plum Cake (Zwetschgenkuchen)

Source: Marcel; cir.1990

Plum cake

Plum Cake

End of summer is the usual time for this delicious cake.  It's made from one type of plum, known as the Italian Plum, or the Zwetschgen.  It's a very popular German tradition to make this Zwetschgenkuchen with the crumble (streussel).  Luckily, our small farm orchard came with an Italian plum tree, to which my German mother-in-law would ask every year for some of our fresh Italian plums so she could make her yearly cake.  This oblong-shaped Italian plum, also known as the Empress plum is very high in sugar, and very easy to de-pit.  Thus making it the only plum of choice to bake with.  This recipe is very traditional for the German culture, and symbolizes to the German's what apple pie symbolizes to the American's.  Beware though, this cake disappears.  Once made, keep your eye on it if you wish to slow the consumption...otherwise, serve and watch it be enjoyed by everyone who eats it.


Course 3 Dessert/pudding
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 1 tray



  • 3 1/3 cup flour
  • 0.7 ounce fresh yeast about 20gr
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1 stick
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/8 cup bread crumbs


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter or 1/2 lbs (230gr)
  • 2 pinches vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar



  1. Mix the dough and let it rise for about 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime take about 2 to 3 pounds of plums, wash them, then remove the pits.
  3. After the dough has risen, put it on the tray and form a boarder.
  4. Now put a little bit of breadcrumbs down. (this will absorb the moisture from the plums) Now add the plums evenly.
  5. For about 25 to 35min bake by 200 °C.

crumble topping

  1. This is our default crumble topping. (see below for an alternate option) Prepare the crumbles like below and put on top of the plums.
  2. Mix the flour with the cold butter and sugar by hand for about 2min.

Recipe Notes

Instead of the crumble topping use Vanilla pudding filling. While baking the cake, make a fresh vanilla pudding. After about 20min, take the cake out and fill all the gaps in the cake with the pudding. Now bake for another 5 to 10min.

  • Adding the vanilla cream

Tomato’s & eggs

Source:  Grandmother (on my dad’s side) about 1940

Tomato's & eggs

This recipe has withstood the test of time in my family. This is the only recipe from my grandmother (on my dad’s side) that everyone cooks. It was something I remember having when I was 9 years old. It was a huge deal when my grandmother made this, I think because it was all about the sauce. It wasn’t about the eggs, or the tomatoes…it was about having the knowledge: The right amount of oregano, the right amount of rosemary, and the right amount of time until the tomato sauce is thick and rich.  Play around, make it your own...but it's a special meal, found in the northern regions of Italy.  A typical peasant's dish. 


Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 3 people
Calories 1276 kcal



  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3-6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 handful rosemary fresh and diced
  • 1 handful oregano fresh and diced
  • 1-2 pinches sea salt
  • olive oil


  • 6 eggs 2 per person
  • basil fresh for garnish


  1. Begin to sauté onions in olive oil until onions are translucent (red onions are best for this recipe)
  2. Dice up fresh tomatoes and sauté.
  3. Add can of tomatoes. (about 250 gr net weight but you want all of if, about 400 gr)
  4. Now, begin to add your fresh herbs, and add a few pinches of salt.
  5. Let the mixture boil, then turn heat down to simmer with lid on for about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Check on the mixture and stir occasionally until a deep red color and thicker texture has been reached. Now, you are ready to add your eggs. I suggest 2 eggs per person. Crack them in, arranging them side-by-side in a circular pattern. Raise the temperature a bit so it begins a slow boil.
  7. As the sauce heats up, scoop some of the hot sauce (from below)
  8. You can turn the temperature down again to simmer, cover with a lid for about 2 min., or until egg is cooked “medium” so the yolk is just a bit runny for dipping.
  9. Serve on plate, garnish with some fresh Basil and serve with fresh sliced bread or toast.


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