Gemütlich Zwetschgendatschi – Plum Cake

Before you reach for your German-English dictionary or think your computer took a wrong turn off your preferred language site, let me explain. It so happens that I have a word of the day dropped into my email each day. Today, I was surprised to find gemu(e)tlich. My German language knowledge is rudimentary at best but I was proud to say, hey I know this one. (The ‘e’ is added if you are English and do not use the umlaut. )

Photo by Kat Jayne on The 19th century German pronunciation is geh-MOOT-lik, the word means affable, pleasant or cheerful.

The other reason I found this word so fortuitous this morning was I wanted to share with you the German dessert, Zwetschgendatschi. The plum cake can certainly be labeled gemutlich. Various regions call it Zwetschgen Kuchen, Quetschekuche or Pflaumenkuchen. This is a chance to wrap your tongue around some German multisyllabic words.

One of our trips to Germany fell in the fall. We said auf wiedersehn to Oktoberfest but still toured areas like Augsburg and Munich. Augsburg, a city in Bavaria northwest of Munich and one of the oldest cities in Germany, claims to have invented the original German plum cake, which they call Zwetschgendatschi.  It’s the city’s signature dish.  While variations exist even within Augsburg, the original version is made with shortcrust pastry and without any streusel. Authentic Zwetschgenkuchen (German Plum Cake).

We reconnected with our former exchange student Steffi Kuhlmann in Munich and as we were walking by a bakery near the Marienplatz she insisted we go in so she could introduce us to her favorite treat when she was growing up. She ordered us this wonderful pastry crust covered in plums and sugar. Delightful or gemutlich, for sure. Both the meeting and the dessert.

Steffi Kulhmann

Since returning home, I have tried making it on my own but have not mastered the skill of the German bakery in the least. I have found a number of recipes and I am sure you could find one to your liking. Some purre the plums, others leave the plums atop the crust in large slices. It is best use late plums available in September for this classic German cake. The plums should have an aromatic taste and just enough juice for the cake to be juicy but not soggy. Use fine granulated sugar (or I have seen powdered sugar) so that it melts well in the oven. (Rias-Bucher, Barbara. “Zwetschgendatschi.” The Little German COOKBOOK, Hölker, Münster, 2006, pp. 74–75. ) Here is the recipe from this little German cookbook I have.

As you can tell, this has been translated from the German to the English and is not that easy to even figure the ingredients since we usually measure in cups and or ounces rather than grams and kg. There are many more modern recipes that can be found on line like the one I referenced from the Daring Gourmet earlier in the blog. I am sure she would not mind me sharing her link here again. Zwetschgenkuchen

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