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.
VINTAGE VIEW ~ this Plum Blitz Kuchen cake is from TVFGI archives, first published in 2011. As part of a series on the blog I’m reviving some of the best recipes that you may have missed over the years ~ I’ve updated my notes and taken new photos. I’ve always been drawn to simple, depression era recipes and this one is typical of the times…simple, homey, and so delicious. I’m excited to bring this one out of the ‘vaults’ and into the light again!
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!
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.
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.
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.
This easy little 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.
Also try ~
- Peaches and Cream Breakfast Cake
- Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake
- Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
- Caramelized Plum Upside Down Cake
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.
- 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 9x13 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.
On layer cakes like this can be easily over baked, so check on it on the early side.
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!
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!