When I was a young girl living at home we had this wonderful older neighbor lady who was of German descent and worked for a family as their housekeeper and cook. She used to make some of the most wonderful treats, especially around the holidays and one of the things she made were little cakes (or tarts) called Pflaumenkuchens which translates to little plum cakes. They really aren’t difficult to make and are wonderfully delicious. This recipe makes a wonderful holiday treat and a delightfully delicious gift for those folks who look forward to food gifts. It will be a gift they will look forward to year after year. If you are using them as a gift, wrap each little cake individually in cellophane or plastic wrap and tie up with a tiny bow or other holiday decoration. These also make a wonderful holiday treat to take to the office. They are sure to impress your boss as well as your co-workers. You will want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
To make Pflaumenkuchens you will need about 3 pounds of fresh plums. Gertta used the big red plums and chose those that were ripe but still good and firm, “best for baking,” she said. She would rinse them in cold water and allow them to drain and then cut them into bite size chunks removing the seed. And set the plums aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine and mix well to blend and set aside…
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs (not the seasoned kind)
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cold water
Next she made the batter for her little plum cakes:
In a mixing bowl combine and cream together beating vigorously with a wooden spoon and adding the eggs one at a time beating each egg in before adding the next one:
1/2 pound butter (not margarine)
1 cup sugar
5 whole, fresh eggs
The Zest of 3 lemons
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat until fluffy and light
To the egg mixture add a little at a time and sifted together
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. all spice
When all the dry ingredients have been added and mixed in Mix thoroughly until smooth and then divide the mixture evenly into prepared cupcake or tart tins for baking. Fill each tin about 2/3 full. Now divide the crumb topping over the batter evenly followed by the pieces of cut plums. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp sugar over the top of the plums on each of the little cakes.
Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The plum topping will sink into the batter a little while baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes and then remove from cakes to a rack to finish cooling. Refrigerate in an air tight container for best keeping. They will keep well for three or four days in the refrigerator, in case they happen to last that long but they probably won’t.
Serve topped with whipped cream for a dessert or just eat them plain as a delicious snack. Gertta used to sprinkle confectioners’ sugar lightly over the top when she serve them as a snack with lemonade or tea.
The family Gertta worked for always had a tea break in the middle of the afternoon and if I happened to be there helping Mr. Henderson in his gardens which I did from time to time, I got to have one of these delicious “little cakes” too. Oh what a wonderful treat!