Plum Blitz Kuchen

A piece of plum blitz kuchen cake on a blue and white plate with fork

Plum Blitz Kuchen, or ‘lightning cake’ is a vintage German snacking cake recipe from the 1931 edition of Joy of Cooking. It’s a quick and easy, as the name suggests, and really delicious for breakfast, brunch, coffee break or anytime snacking. Customize it with almost any fruit you like.

Pieces of Plum Blitz Kuchen Cake, stacked

plum blitz kuchen is a classic breakfast cake

This simple cinnamon coffeecake is brought up to speed with vibrant fresh plums. They dot the cake like little gems!

Plum Blitz Kuchen cake in a pan with a piece removed

blitz kuchen was introduced to this country by German immigrants

We owe so many of our baking traditions to early German immigrants who brought with them their love of baking cookies, pastries, and cakes of all kinds. Generations ago lots of Germans settled in the American midwest, and these kinds of baked treats are still hugely popular there. The kuchen is the official state dessert of South Dakota!

A piece of plum blitz kuchen cake on a blue and white plate with fork

simple snack cakes like this harken back to the Great Depression

I can remember my grandmother, who was a young housewife during the Depression, cooking this kind of quick cinnamon sugar cake when I was little…we loved it  best when it was piping hot out of the oven when the cinnamon, sugar and butter topping that she scattered all over the top was still molten. This cake has that same simple, vintage feel to it that really appeals to me. I’ll bet during the depression this would have been quite a treat.

batter in a bowl for plum blitz kuchen cake

The batter is a breeze to whip up, it comes together quickly with electric beaters, or you could even use a whisk. It’s a nice thick batter so the fruit that I scatter on the top doesn’t sink straight to the bottom.

black plums diced and ready to be baked into a plum blitz kuchen cake

so many different types of fruit would work in this cake.

I chose gorgeous black plums that I picked up at my farmers market, but apricots, peaches, bananas, etc, would all work. Apples and pears would also be delicious, so keep them in mind for the fall season. Just don’t be tempted to over do it ~ too much juicy fruit will make the cake soggy.

A piece of plum blitz kuchen cake on a blue and white plate

this easy little plum breakfast cake is a delight

The perfect thing to rouse sleepy houseguests, or treat the family to on a weekend morning. It bakes up in a mere 25 minutes ~ just when you begin to smell the cinnamon-y aroma, it’s done.

Plum Blitz Kuchen (lightning cake) is a vintage German snacking cake recipe from the 1931 edition of Joy of Cooking.This old fashioned coffee cake is yummy! #cake #breakfast #coffeecake #plum #plumcake #German #depressioncake #depression #homemade scratch #recipe #easy #best #snack #cinnamon #afterschool #brunch

also try ~

*recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking
Pieces of Plum Blitz Kuchen Cake, stacked
4.05 from 20 votes

Black Plum Blitzkuchen

Plum Blitz Kuchen, or ‘lightning cake’ is a vintage German snacking cake recipe from the 1931 edition of Joy of Cooking.  It’s a quick and easy, as the name suggests, and really delicious for breakfast, brunch, coffee break or anytime snacking.  Customize it with almost any fruit you like.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine German
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Author Sue Moran


topping mixture

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick, unsalted butter, at room temperature (the butter must be truly soft)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped plums don’t peel


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Grease a 9×13 pan.
  • Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla for 2 minutes, then beat in the softened butter.
  • Spread the batter in the prepared pan, and then top evenly with the cut plums. Sprinkle the sugar and nut topping evenly over everything.
  • Bake for 20-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check on the early side, you don’t want to over bake this cake.

Cook’s notes

On layer cakes like this can be easily over baked, so check on it on the early side.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Make it your own ~

  • Make it with different nuts ~ try almonds or walnuts
  • Make it with different fruit, as noted above, try other stone fruit, or apples or pears.
  • Make it richer ~ dot the top with butter before baking. You can also use half and half instead of milk.
  • Make it non-dairy ~ use almond or coconut milk.
  • Make it with a mix ~ it occurred to me that this cake could easily be made with a cake mix as the base…talk about lightning fast!
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I’m fascinated by Depression era recipes, are you? When circumstances are tough and times are lean, creative cooks come up with some amazing ideas. My Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake is made without butter or eggs, but it’s one of my favorite cakes, who knew? And what about Creamed Peas on Toast? Mashed Potato Cakes? Or Fried Cabbage with Bacon? All good stuff!

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Glenda jeter
    September 5, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a lot. Its always a big hit!
    Glenda Jeter
    Eugene, OR

    • Reply
      September 5, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks Glenda 🙂

  • Reply
    Diamante Swift
    October 1, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    This is not the German pflaume kuchen, Germany doesn’t have pecans. And they rarely use cinnamon.

  • Reply
    susan shelton
    August 4, 2019 at 5:18 am

    do you have a recipe for the cake you re referring to in this recipe? The one your grandmother would make with cinnamon and butter on top. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Pat Marrion
    July 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Wonder if berries would work for this, or would they be too juicy? I have a lot of blackberries!!

    • Reply
      July 28, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      Blackberries would work great Pat, let us know how it goes!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2018 at 11:54 am

    As usual, I’m going to try to convert it to gluten free. If anyone has any luck with that, please let me know. There is a classic plum cake recipe that has been printed in the New York Times periodically. I believe it was either Florence Fabricant or Marian Burros and they called it the original plum torte. People begged the newspaper to print it every year. It’s not as cakey as yours, but I like cakey! You might want to look at it, just fyi.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      I will look it up, thanks Alene. I love the NYT’s recipes. I think this might work with a gf baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill ~ if you try let us know 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    June 25, 2018 at 8:33 am

    I grew up on kuchen and have never found one I didn’t love. This one is new to me and I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      June 25, 2018 at 9:20 am

      My mom and grandma made them as well, but never with fruit ~ juicy plums take it over the top 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    June 25, 2018 at 7:17 am

    It looks so yummy with those sweet juicy plums!

    • Reply
      June 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

      plums are EVERYTHING right now :

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    June 25, 2018 at 5:50 am

    So lovely! Love baked plums and especially baked into pretty cake 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    June 25, 2018 at 3:27 am

    Those pockets of plum deliciousness, that gorgeous sugary top, the wonderful texture – all reasons I need to make this ASAP!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I don’t think I could say that three times fast, but it looks absolutely delicious!

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