16 September 2012

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE - WITH AND WITHOUT STREUSEL

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Prunes or plums... and how are you supposed to know the difference? Not even the WWW had a satisfactory answer to offer. This cake is originally called 'Zwetschgenfleck' or 'Zwetschgendatschi', with 'Zwetschgen' meaning prunes or plums, and 'Fleck' meaning a flat tray bake. 'Datschi' comes from 'datschen' that I think means something like 'to press inside', as the dough is pressed inside the tray, or the plums are pressed inside the dough. 'Streusel' is the German word for crumble. But as for prunes versus plums: in Austria the word for plums is 'Pflaumen', but we hardly use it. I would call anything plum, and  'Pflaumen'-like a 'Zwetschge', which I thought is a 'prune'. But, in English 'prune' apparently stands for a dried plum, but that is the one thing in Austria we call Dörrpflaume (= dried 'plum') and not Dörrzwetschge!)   :-)  To add to the confusion, in Belgium plums in general
seem to be called 'prune'... So at this point, and for reasons of not wanting to be called 'full of plums', I will not make any further assumptions and will simply call them 'prune plums'... Anyway, I found two different kind of prune plums, one bigger, one smaller, and did a (not so fair) test making two cakes: using Streusel with one kind of prune plums and no Streusel with the other! Both cakes were delicious, although the Streusel option was a lot more sweet and rounded and is definitely our favourite prune plum cake.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

There are different versions of 'Zwetschgenfleck' in Austria and Germany made with different doughs, but for me it has to be with yeast dough. I used a recipe for the base that I have used many times before for 'Butterzopf', a sweet yeast bread with raisins. I left out the raisins and added more sugar and butter instead, and less salt. The dough is very soft and cannot be kneaded by hand on a work surface, but is better 'beaten' with a wooden spoon inside a bowl. Due to the small amount of flour, and high amount of butter the cake is really soft after baking. I made twice the amount of dough as stated below, used half for the first cake and froze the other half for the second for later. The dough defrosts very fast. It did not rise again before baking, but I made sure that it was at room temperature before use.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

I recently purchased a 20x30cm swiss roll tin, versus the standard 30x40cm oven tray. I find this is a perfect size for us, and this way the cake really stays a treat versus an overwhelming amount - as if! The big tray I tend to use when we have guests. Using only half of the ready-made dough and freezing the second half for later is also a great time saver. Working with yeast dough is really not difficult. I have better results than with many other cakes that don't rise, sink back in the middle, etc. There's a few things to watch out, that's it. I always use fresh yeast, no specific reason, I just like it better. Also, I make sure to use a sufficiently high cake tin to make sure all fruit juices stay inside. Depending on their age, prune plums are more or less juicy and it saves me from having to clean the oven when all I want to do is (eat half ofadmire our nice new cake...  :-)

Makes: app. 10 large pieces
Quantities below are suitable for a 20x30cm baking tin. 
A large baking tray (app. 30x40cm) requires twice the amount. 
Tip: make twice the amount stated below, use half of the dough for a 20x30cm cake tin and freeze the second half for later use.

For the Dough: (20x30cm Swiss roll tin): 
Make sure to bring all ingredients to room temperature: 
250g flour
125ml milk
50g butter
21g fresh yeast (1/2 cube) (I always use fresh!)
1 egg
40g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Butter for the Swiss roll tin

For the Topping (20x30cm cake tin) choose one of the 2 options below: 

Option 1: PLUM CAKE WITHOUT STREUSEL (CRUMBLE):
App. 1.4 kg large prune plums (mine were pretty large, and I fitted 35 halves = 18 plums)
App. 1 Tbsp (15ml) sugar, use more for rather sour plums
App. 1 tsp (5ml) cinnamon
Icing sugar for dusting

Option 2: PLUM CAKE WITH STREUSEL (CRUMBLE):
The amount of Streusel below will cover the cake and plums almost completely.  Use 1/2 or 2/3 for less Streusel
App. 1.1 kg small to medium size prune plums (I fitted 63 halves = 32 plums)
150g flour
150g caster sugar
100g butter, cold-ish
1 Dsp (10ml) Vanilla sugar
½ tsp (2.5ml) cinnamon
Additional cinnamon to sprinkle over plums
Icing sugar for dusting

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

4 GOLDEN RULES WHEN MAKING YEAST DOUGH:
1) Before starting, bring all ingredients to room temperature
2) The milk must not be warmer than hand-warm; too hot might kill the yeast, too cold will mean the dough takes a long time to rise
3) Avoid any draft or cold air while handling the dough or during resting time
4) Do not open the oven door during the first 15 minutes of baking!

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle with a spoon.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Warm the milk until just about hand-warm, app 30°C. Pour the milk into the flour well. Crumble in the fresh yeast then add 2 pinch of the sugar. Stir the yeast inside the milk with a spoon, incorporating a little and just enough of the surrounding flour to make a thick pancake-like dough.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for app. 30 mins. After this time the yeast should have become active and the dough risen.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Add the remaining dough ingredients to the bowl, then beat vigorously. This can be done with a kitchen machine or hand mixer, but I prefer to do it the good old fashioned way with a wooden spoon: the dough is beaten in circular movements, but with the circular movements not happening inside the dough and bowl, but at 90 degree to the dough and bowl: in as fast movements as possible, starting from one side of the bowl (right), go downwards into the dough, drag the spoon through the dough and beat it onto the other side of the bowl (left) then move up on the left, following the circular movement, and back down on the right, and so on, turning the bowl as you go, until a soft elastic dough forms. The dough is very soft and sticky and for this reason I keep it in the bowl at all times until baking. It cannot be kneaded on the work surface.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise and double which may take up to 1 hour depending on the room temperature. Once risen, beat out the air so that the dough returns to its original size, then cover and leave to double once more.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Towards the end of the second rise start to pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Grease the baking tin with butter. Put the dough into the tin using a dough scraper if necessary. Slightly flour your hands, then with your fingers flatten the dough out inside the tin until it fully covers the bottom of the tin. Keep putting more flour on your hands if necessary as you go along to avoid the dough from sticking to your fingers.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Wash the plums, pat them dry, then cut them in half along the visible 'line' and remove the stones. Make an incision in each half, app. half way into the plum.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKEZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Arrange the plums in the tin on top of the dough so that they overlap slightly. I do a row of plums to see how many are required per row, then divide the number of plums I have by the number of plums per row to work out the number of rows I can lay. This ensures I don't run out of plums at the end or I have a big amount left over. When using a bigger amount of plums, they fit in by just overlapping the rows a bit more and making more rows.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE



TOPPING: WITH or WITHOUT Streusel

Option 1: PLUM CAKE WITHOUT STREUSEL (CRUMBLE)Mix 1 Tbsp sugar (or more if prune plums are rather sour) with app. 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over the plums, then put the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for app. 30-40 mins. A wooden skewer inserted and removed should have no bits of dough attached when the cake is baked. I overlooked mine and the plum tips went a little dark. Cover with foil towards the end of the baking time to avoid this. A wooden skewer inserted and removed should have no bits of dough attached when the cake is baked, and the Streusel are golden-brown. If necessary cover with kitchen foil towards the end of the baking time to avoid dark browning of the top.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Serve sprinkled with icing sugar and maybe a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side. The neutral cream goes very well with the sweet and tangy cake.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE



Option 2: PLUM CAKE WITH STREUSEL (CRUMBLE)

For the Streusel put the flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla sugar (I grind mine first into finer powder using a Mortar & Pestle) into a bowl. Cut the cold butter into little pieces and add on top. Using your fingertips, start to crumble the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Sprinkle with a little cinnamon then add the Streusel on top. Put the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for app. 30-40 min.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

A wooden skewer inserted and removed should have no bits of dough attached when the cake is baked, and the Streusel are golden-brown. If necessary cover with kitchen foil towards the end of the baking time to avoid dark browning of the top.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Very nice on day 2 and 3 when warmed for a few seconds in the microwave.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE

Serve sprinkled with icing sugar or a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side.

ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE


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ZWETSCHGENFLECK - AUSTRIAN PLUM CAKE - WITH AND WITHOUT STREUSEL


Makes: app. 10 large pieces
Quantities below are suitable for a 20x30cm baking tin. 
A large baking tray (app. 30x40cm) requires twice the amount. 
Tip: make twice the amount stated below, use half of the dough for a 20x30cm cake tin and freeze the second half for later use. 

For the Dough: (20x30cm cake tin): 
Make sure to bring all ingredients to room temperature: 
250g flour
125ml milk
50g butter
21g fresh yeast (1/2 cube) (I always use fresh!)
1 egg
40g granulated sugar
Pinch salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Butter for the cake tin

For the Topping (20x30cm cake tin): 

Option 1: PLUM CAKE WITHOUT STREUSEL (CRUMBLE):
app. 1.4 kg large prune plums (mine were pretty large, and I fitted 35 halves = 18 plums)
app. 1 Tbsp (15ml) sugar, use more for rather sour plums
app. 1 tsp (5ml) cinnamon
icing sugar for dusting

Option 2: PLUM CAKE WITH STREUSEL (CRUMBLE):
The amount of Streusel below will cover the cake and plums almost completely.  Use 1/2 or 2/3 for less Streusel
app. 1.1 kg small to medium size prune plums (I fitted 63 halves = 32 plums)
150g flour
150g caster sugar
100g butter, cold-ish
1 Dsp (10ml) Vanilla sugar
½ tsp (2.5ml) cinnamon
Additional cinnamon to sprinkle over plums
Icing sugar for dusting


4 GOLDEN RULES WHEN MAKING YEAST DOUGH:
1) Before starting, bring all ingredients to room temperature
2) The milk must not be warmer than hand-warm; too hot might kill the yeast, too cold will mean the dough takes a long time to rise
3) Avoid any draft or cold air while handling the dough or during resting time
4) Do not open the oven door during the first 15 minutes of baking!

1) Add flour to the bowl: Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle with a spoon.

2) Add warmed milk and yeast: Warm the milk until just about hand-warm, app 30°C. Pour the milk into the flour well. Crumble in the yeast then add 2 pinch of the sugar. Stir the yeast inside the milk with a spoon, incorporating a little and just enough of the surrounding flour to make a thick pancake-like dough.

3) Leave yeast to rise: Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for app. 30 mins. After this time the yeast should have become active and the dough risen.

4) Add remaining ingredients and 'beat' the dough: Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, then beat vigorously. This can be done with a kitchen machine or hand mixer, but I prefer to do it the good old fashioned way with a wooden spoon: the dough is beaten in circular movements, but with the circular movements not happening inside the dough and bowl, but at 90 degree to the dough and bowl: in as fast movements as possible, starting from one side of the bowl (right), go downwards into the dough, drag the spoon through the dough to the other side of the bowl (left) then move up on the left, following the circular movement, and back down on the right, and so on, turning the bowl as you go, until a soft elastic dough forms. The dough is very soft and sticky and for this reason I keep it in the bowl at all times until baking. It cannot be kneaded on the work surface.

5) Leave dough to rise: Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise and double which may take up to 1 hour depending on the room temperature. Once risen, beat out the air so that the dough returns to its original size, then cover and leave to double once more.

6) Meanwhile: Pre-heat oven and Prepare baking tin: Towards the end of the second rise start to pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. 
Grease the baking tin with butter. Put the dough into the tin using a dough scraper if necessary. Slightly flour your hands, then with your fingers flatten the dough out inside the tin until it fully covers the bottom of the tin. Keep putting more flour on your hands if necessary as you go along to avoid the dough from sticking to your fingers.

7) Prepare the Plums: Wash the plums, pat them dry, then cut them in half along the visible 'line' and remove the stones. Make an incision in each half, app. half way into the plum.

8) Arrange the plums on top of the dough: Arrange the plums in the tin on top of the dough so that they overlap slightly. I do a row of plums to see how many are required per row, then divide the number of plums I have by the number of plums per row to work out the number of rows I can lay. This ensures I don't run out of plums at the end or I have a big amount left over. When using a bigger amount of plums, they fit in by just overlapping the rows a bit more and making more rows. 

9) For the Topping choose one of the 2 options below: 

Option 1: PLUM CAKE WITHOUT STREUSEL (CRUMBLE)
Mix 1 Tbsp sugar (or more if prune plums are rather sour) with app. 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over the plums, then put the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for app. 30-40 mins. A wooden skewer inserted and removed should have no bits of dough attached when the cake is baked. I overlooked mine and the plum tips went a little dark. Cover with foil towards the end of the baking time to avoid this.

Option 2: PLUM CAKE WITH STREUSEL (CRUMBLE)
Make the Streusel: Put the flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla sugar (I grind mine first into finer powder using a Mortar & Pestle) into a bowl. Cut the cold butter into little pieces and add on top. Using your fingertips, start to crumble the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Dust the plums with a little cinnamon then put the Streusel on top of the plums and distribute them evenly. 

10) Bake: Put the cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for app. 30-40 min. A wooden skewer inserted and removed should have no bits of dough attached when the cake is baked (and for option 2: the Streusel are golden-brown). If necessary cover with kitchen foil towards the end of the baking time to avoid dark browning of the top.

11) Serve: Serve sprinkled with icing sugar or a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side. Very nice on day 2 and 3 when warmed for a few seconds in the microwave.

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4 comments:

  1. Anton2.2.13

    This is exactly the recipe my Oma made when I was a child. She also baked it with cherries and my favourite, apricots. I love it. Thanks for posting it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Anton. Nice to hear this recipe brought back childhood memories for you. Of course, Oma's recipes are always the best and I'd be curious to hear if my cake tastes anywhere as nice as you remember it. For your love of apricots, maybe you'd also like our Austrian Marillenfleck: http://pizzaforbreakfasts.blogspot.be/2012/06/austrian-obstfleck-apricot-tray-cake.html

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  2. Thank you for your great post. Your post is really valuable and help me a lot. Waiting for your next similar post.
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    Replies
    1. Dylan, thank you for your comment. Glad to hear you found it useful. PS, here's a similar recipe but without yeast, that is also very nice with plums:
      http://pizzaforbreakfasts.blogspot.be/2012/06/austrian-obstfleck-apricot-tray-cake.html

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