Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Kuchen

Once again, an abundance of summer fruits called to me and inspired to me to just do something already with them. This time, I had plums, peaches and still more blueberries. Since I have not mastered savory fruit dishes, my mind turned to baking... even with the record-setting 100+ degree heat we’d been suffering.

The cake itself is somewhat closer to a Tortenboden – a tart crust – than an American yellow or pound cake. It’s a bit dry and crusty, relying on the sweet juiciness of the fruit to make it all work. However, calling it cake seems so much more accessible and summery than a torte. You can bake this in a regular cake pan and plunk the fruit right on top of the batter without any need for fancy tart pans and glazes or neatly arranged fruit pieces.

The original version of the recipe called for peaches, but any combination of your favorite summer fruit will do. I tweaked it a bit to soften and sweeten my fruit ahead of baking and to up the nuttiness of the cake. My cake may have been a bit drier than the original recipe, but it worked well. And leftovers became even more moist as the cake absorbed the fruit juices. At the same time, the almond flavor was more pronounced a day later, tasting a little like marzipan. If you don’t have almonds in the pantry, it is fine to use 1 cup of all purpose flour.

Served with a lightly sweetened, loose whipped cream, this is absolutely perfect and harkens back to all kinds of childhood memories of summertime and the endless wait for the grown-ups to decide it was time for Kaffee und Kuchen.

Summer Kuchen
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking’s “Fresh Fruit Kuchen”

You will need:
• A 9” round cake pan and butter to grease it.
• ¾ cup AP flour + ¼ cup ground almonds
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 1/8 tsp salt (1/4 tsp if using kosher salt)
• 1 tsp + a dash of cinnamon
• 8 tbsp (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
• ¾ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp almond extract
• 2 to 2 ½ cups fruit (peeled and sliced if necessary)

Move one oven rack to lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Liberally grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

Combine fruits in a bowl with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Let macerate while oven heats and butter softens.

Whisk together in one bowl the flour mixture, baking powder, dash of cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time and then add vanilla and almond extract.

Stir flour mixture into butter/egg mixture until just combined. This will yield a very thick batter. Spread evenly into bottom of prepared cake pan. Top with an even layer of the fruit. Some cake may remain uncovered, which is fine.

Bake about 40 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake only comes out clean. Cool before serving.


  1. Yum. Plum Kuchen is on my list for next week/Dave's birthday. Glad to see your version. xoxo

  2. Enjoy. This recipe was a piece of cake. Har har... Best b'day wishes to Dave.