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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  • Reply
    A Plum By Any Other Name
    August 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    You probably can gather how I feel about plums. And I love the idea of this in muffin form. 😉 Sounds like a great dog days of summer dessert!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I’m a Joy of Cooking girl myself, second generation. My first copy fell completely apart so I found a pristine copy at a yard sale that had been a wedding gift for some couple who were way too cool for it. I think of my mother when I use it…and it answers any question, about any cuisine, about any cut of meat or any sauce or any whatever.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Oh my gosh, I totally contemplated making this…just for that awesome name! ha ha ha…but it looks beyond delicious, as well. Beautiful =)

  • Reply
    Jane and Lance Hattatt
    August 5, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    5 stars
    Hello Sue:
    ‘The Joy of Cooking’ was until now completely unknown to us and we are unsure whether or not Irma Rombauer was ever published in the UK. It all sounds most fascinating and is of interest to see the changes in eating habits over a period of time which books, such as this, illustrate.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to Irma S. Rombauer – love that you chose a classic recipe and added your own twist with fresh fruit.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I think you have captured the spirit very well Sue:D

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    August 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Mmm! This cake is surely a wonderful homage to Irma’s German roots! Looks so moist and gooey! I do love a crumbly fruity cake with a hot cuppa Joe!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    This cake looks simple and tasty – were you pleased with the results despite the confectioner’s sugar not fully incorporating? It reminds me a little of the plum crisp in one of the Barefoot Contessa books. I have a reprint of “The Joy of Cooking”. Although I know it is a kitchen standby, I have had rather mixed results with the recipes in there.

  • Reply
    Brownieville Girl
    August 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Love the addition of the plums in there – I’d say it was heavenly with a mug of coffee.

    Love the idea of cooking your way through all the female greats – looking forward to reading all your exploits :-}

  • Reply
    A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
    August 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    What a nice post, Sue! I am sorry I just cldn’t do anything this week but will hopefully be back next time. Glad you liked my Ali Nazik!! A far cry from Joy of Cooking!!

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