When you are at a picnic and people eat up one pan of this cake in under twenty minutes, and send you home to fetch the second pan you kept there, you know you have a winner. This cake has never disappointed and comes together relatively easy. What make this a keeper in my book is the fact that you can customize it to quite an extent, it travels well, and hey, who doesn’t love rich, buttery crumbs.
I use my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook for this recipe. But you can do it by hand too. Mix dry ingredients and the lemon zest. Heat up the milk with the butter until the butter is melted. Don’t boil the milk, that’s icky and will kill your yeast. Pour the egg, and the milk-butter mixture into the flour and on low setting on the stand mixer blend until you have a nice, pliable dough. If it’s a bit sticky don’t worry, the dough’s stickiness will go away once it has risen.
If you are keeping it overnight in the fridge, make sure you let it sit on the counter for about an hour before handling, otherwise it will keep retracting when you try to shape it.
Mix the crumb topping together. By hand works best in this case, or if you have, a food processor. Make sure it’s nice and lumpy. And now comes the most important part… put it in the fridge for at least one and a half hours, or overnight. Don’t use it right away and bake as it will melt into a gooey puddle.
You can either lightly roll the dough into a rectangle or dump it in your lined jelly roll pan and stretch it out with your fingers. Let the dough rest in the pan while you slice the fruit. And here you can be creative. Use plums as I have in these photos, or apples. You can mix things up. Sprinkle with almond slivers, or incorporate ground nuts in the crump topping.
Place the prepared fruit on the dough making sure to keep a neat margin.
Top with the crumb topping and bake in the middle of the oven at 350F for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. This cake tastes best the day it was made but it pretty good the next day as well.
This recipe was adapted from one found on the German recipe site chefkoch.de
German Yeasted Crumb Cake with Fruit
(for the dough)
1 lb flour
3-4 tsp. yeast
2.6 oz sugar
3.5 oz. butter
1 cup+2 tbsp. milk
1 egg (room temp)
zest of one organic lemon (optional but highly recommended)
1 tsp. salt if using unsalted butter
around 2.5 lbs of fruit (apples, stone fruit like plums, cherries)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
for the Crumb Topping
7 oz Flour
5 oz Sugar
5 oz. Butter
2-3 tbsp. of cinnamon
1 scant tsp. salt if using unsalted butter
You may replace part of the flour with ground nuts if you like
Combine all dry ingredients, add warm milk with melted butter and the egg and knead into a dough. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
Combine ingredients for crumb topping, make sure it’s nice and lumpy. Place in refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours.
Line baking pan with parchment paper and place dough on it. You can just use your fingers to push and stretch the dough into place.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Let the dough rest while you process the fruit. Remove pits or cores, and slice. Toss with sugar and cinnamon to coat. Place neatly on the cake dough taking care to leave a neat edge/border.
Top the fruit with the crumb topping and immediately place in preheated oven.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
Allow to cool before slicing.