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10 Traditional German Cakes To Try

10 Traditional German Cakes To Try

German cakes are famous for being decadent, calorific and, most importantly, delicious.

A huge part of the German culture, ‘coffee and cake’ (usually at Grandma’s house) is a Sunday afternoon ritual for many. From the fruity crumble cake (Streuselkuchen), to the sweet Bee Sting Cake (Bienenstich), and the iconic Frankfurt Crown Cake (Frankfurter Kranz), traditional German cakes have been made the same way for centuries. So, here’s a look at 10 of the most classic German cakes to try on your next visit:

1. Streuselkuchen/Crumble Cake

Known as a crumble cake in English speaking countries, this flat cake is made on a baking tray and is a firm favourite in Germany. The combination of a fluffy yeast dough base with a sweet topping of crunchy crumbs make for a delightful afternoon treat. Best consumed when freshly baked and still a little warm from the oven. You can find many variations of this cake, commonly made with different types of fruit, such as cherries, apples, rhubarb or apricot.

2. Frankfurter Kranz/Frankfurt Crown Cake

The Frankfurter Kranz is a real eye-catcher on any coffee table. However, the preparation of this showpiece takes some time and practice. The cake consists of layers of a firm sponge cake shaped in a ring, buttercream icing is placed between the layers, usually with an additional layer of jam. The cake is then garnished with icing and sprinkled with caramel brittle and cherries. With its round shape, golden brittle and red cherries, the Frankfurt Crown Cake is thought to be reminiscent of the crown of the Holy Roman emperor.

 

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3. Marble Cake

A classic marble cake is a welcome treat any day of the week, and the preparation of this sponge cake is very easy. The cake features a streaked pattern achieved by blending vanilla and chocolate batter. Optionally, you can sprinkle it with powdered sugar or glaze it with a chocolate icing.

4. Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau is considered the most popular German cake. Typically, it consists of layers of chocolate sponge made with kirsch (a clear alcoholic spirit made from cherries), which is then sandwiched with cream and cherries. Additional cream, chocolate shavings and more cherries are then used to decorate the cake. The true origin of the cake is not known, yet various theories exist. One theory claims that it gets its name from the speciality cherry liquor of the Black Forest region, which is used in the recipe.

5. German Cheesecake

In contrast to typical American cheesecakes, which use cream cheese, a German cheesecake is made with quark. The base is usually made with freshly made pastry, instead of Graham crackers. There are many variations found, such as the bottomless cheesecake, or flavoured with berries and stone fruit.

6. Donauwelle/Danube Wave

Translated literally as ‘Danube Wave’, this cake’s name comes from its wavy pattern found inside the cake, as well as on the chocolate topping. The main components of this layered cake are the light and dark batter, morello cherries, buttercream and cocoa.

7. Bienenstich/Bee Sting Cake

Known in English as ‘Bee Sting Cake’, this classic cake consists of a creamy filling, enclosed between two layers of sweet yeast dough. The filling is typically made from sweetened whipped cream, vanilla or buttercream. The topping is a gooey, crunchy combination of sugar, honey and caramelised almonds. The name is supposedly derived from bees being attracted to the sweet honey-based glaze.

 

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8. Strawberry Cake

A classic strawberry cake with a crunchy base is the cake of choice in early summer. A light, airy base is filled with a layer of creamy vanilla pudding. After that, it is topped with fresh strawberries and usually served with plain whipped cream.

 

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9. Kalter Hund/Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Translated literally to ‘Cold Dog’, this non-bake cake is very simple to make. Only requiring a handful of ingredients, it is created by layering rich butter biscuits with chocolate. Once assembled, it is placed in the refrigerator for a few hours and enjoyed cold.

10. Hefezopf/Yeast Braided Bread

When talking about traditional German cakes and pastries, the Hefezopf should not be forgotten, an essential part of Easter brunch in Germany. Firstly, the sweet yeast dough is divided into 3 parts and rolled into long “sausages”. After that, it is braided into a plait and coated with a little milk, sprinkled with sugar and then placed in the oven. Served with butter or jam, it makes for a wonderful breakfast treat or midday snack.

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