Kuchen is made with a slightly sweet yeasty dough (means 'cake' in German) topped with usually fruit and sometimes nuts or a buttery crumble, eaten for breakfast or with coffee anytime of the day.
I made this one with plums as they are in season at the moment and it's a very traditional lepény topping, but equally good with apples, blackberries, cherries. The recipe I used filled a gigantic baking tray and while proving and baking it kept spilling out around the edges. So I am giving you half the quantity as it will still be plenty to go around and enough for a normal size baking tin, causing less stress in the kitchen :-)
For the cake base:
350g plain flour
half packet (3,5g) dried yeast
pinch of salt
50g caster sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
few drops of almond extract
125 ml milk
Blend the flour, yeast, salt and sugar together. Warm the milk a little and beat the eggs, add these to the flour mix together with the vanilla and almond extract. Knead it by hand or a machine until well mixed. Melt the butter and work this into the dough until it is a soft, smooth and springy texture. This will take 5-10 minutes. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rest and double in size in a warm place for about 1-1,5 hours. Prepare the topping.
For the topping:
sugar to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
Wash and stone the plums, cut them into long quarters. Mix it with a few tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Let it rest until needed.
When the dough is ready, knock it back on a floured surface and stretch it out by hand (or roll it out with a rolling pin) into a medium size rectangular baking tin. Arrange the plums on top, pressed slightly into the dough. I like to line them up overlapping, with pointy end sticking out of the dough - these will nicely caramelize while baking and the lines are easier to cut more neatly.
Let it rest and rise for another 30 min/1hr in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 180C and bake until cooked through for about 35-40 minutes. By this time your house will be filled with delicious, sweet cinnamony bread smell. When ready, cut them into slabs, dust with more sugar and serve warm.