Platz is one of the Mennonite treats I grew up eating. My mom, Omas and Aunts all made it. Usually we ate it for faspa, the Sunday meal that consisted of cheeses, cold meats, and homemade buns (zwieback), jams and pickles. As a kid I wasn’t a big fan of faspa, but I always looked forward to the platz for dessert.
Platz, sometimes called Obstkuchen, is a coffee cake that is topped with fruit, then covered with a sugary-buttery crumb topping.
The fruit my relatives used was typically plums or apricots, but almost any fruit works. For this one I used a combination of plums and nectarines. A tart fruit works well in here, like sour cherries or rhubarb, because the topping is pretty sweet.
The crumb mixture we usually called streusel, but sometimes is was called ruebel.
It was typically made in a 9×13 pan, but I made mine in pie plates so I could give one away and keep one.
There are many recipes for platz, and I think they are all good. This one is my mom’s, so it is the best! The recipe (see below) is handwritten by my mom and stored in a drawer up at the family cabin. She no longer uses margarine for this; only butter will do.
I love to eat this cake while it is still warm, but since I grew up eating the day-old platz that was baked on a Saturday, I also think it’s pretty good a day or two later. I’ve learned to heat it up ever-so-slightly to bring back the freshly-baked feel.
What you need for the cake:
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- fruit, cut into slices
What you need for the streusel topping:
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- a dash of vanilla
- 1/3 cup butter
What you do:
- Butter your pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cream the sugar and butter well.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Crack an egg into a measuring cup, then fill the cup to 2/3 with milk.
- Add flour and milk alternately, ending with flour. Resist the temptation to over mix.
- Place the thick batter into your pan and spread it evenly to the edges and corners. Hands work well for this; just wet them a little before you start pressing it into the pan.
- Place the fruit in one layer on top of the batter.
- To make the streusel topping start by melting the butter. Add the other ingredients and mix together. Hands work well for this too, then you can use your hands to spread the topping evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. Some of the fruit will begin bubbling through the streusel, and the edges of the cake will be lightly browned.