The tradition of Kaffee and Kuchen (cake and coffee) on Sunday afternoons is wonderfully ingrained in the culture. Traditional German Cakes and Tortes, baked from Traditional Recipes are familiar favorites. Cakes made with real cream, fruit, chocolate, nuts and streusel make their appearance every week, mid-afternoon, as a nice treat after a walk or nap are served with a mellow German coffee on good china. This is a treat to be savored, a time for family and friends to sit together just enjoy life.
Whether you bake your own, or buy them from your favorite Bakery, the hardest part is choosing which one you want…. with so many to choose from, what are the Best German Cakes Recipes for your Kaffeklatsch?
Blitz Torte (Lightening Cake)
The name Blitzkuchen is not because the baker was struck by lightning… rather, because of how FAST this “fancy” cake is ready. Two layers of simple cake baked with a meringue topping are filled with whipped cream and possibly fruits like cherries or gooseberries. It’s an unbelievably easy cake to make, but looks like you slaved for hours. This delicious simple recipe comes from my Tante Anne.
For the recipe–>Blitz Torte
Apfel Kuchen (Apple Cake)
There are probably as many variations on ApfelKuchen as there are bakers. Versunkener Apfelkuchen, Sunken Apple Cake, where slices of apple are places on the dough before baking so they sink in to the cake and ApfelStreuselkuchen, Apple Streusel Cake, where the apple is covered with Streusel. Served simply with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or dash of real whipped cream, this classic cake is a treat any time of year. This cake was always on our Kaffee Klatsch table.
Find the recipe for Versunkerer Apfelkuchen here–> Apfel Kuchen
The Frankfurter Kranz appeared in Frankfurt around 1735 and symbolizes a crown with cherry Jewels. The cake itself is a sponge cake, baked in a Bundt or Gugelhopf form, cut into 3 horizontal layers, then filled and frosted with a rich buttercream. A caramelized hazelnut topping adds crunch and delicious flavor. Although it requires a little extra work, this is one of the easier Tortes to make. This cake was a special treat when we visited mom’s friend Marion (we kids had to wait until the adults had their fill, then we could have some… if there was any left!)
Find the Recipe for Frankfurter Kranz here–> Frankfurter Kranz
Simple cakes loaded with fruit, like this Kirschkuchen (Sour Cherry Cake) are fantastic for weekday baking and snacking. Just mix the batter, top or stir in cherries, and bake. Decorate with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, and you have a fabulous desert. Use jarred cherries or frozen! I find that the sour ones or Morello cherries taste the best, but you can also substitute other stone fruits like apricots or peaches.
Find the recipe here.–>Kirschkuchen
Donauwellen (Schneewittchen Kuchen)
Donauwellen- photo courtesy of wikipedia commons
Donauwellen, literally “Danube Waves” is a sheet cake that gets its name from the layered waves that you see when you slice into it. Chocolate and vanilla cake are marbled before baking, and topped with a vanilla cream and tart cherries. Once the cake has cooled, a rich layer of chocolate glaze goes across the top. The cake’s other name Schneewittchen Kuchen comes from that combination of dark and light, with cherry red, for lips). I was so excited when My Tante Annemarie, who looks like Schneewittchen, make us delicious cake, and gave me her recipe.
Find the Recipe for Donauwellen here– Donauwellen
Bienenstich (Bee Sting)
Legend has it the baker who originally baked a Bienenstich was stung by a bee that was attracted to the sweet smell of this favorite cake. This sheet cake is topped with a layer of baked on caramelized almonds slices. After cooling, the cake is sliced horizontally, filled with sweet vanilla pastry cream. My dad’s favorite!
Find the recipe here–> Bienenstich
Pflaumen kuchen (Plum Cake)
When Zwetschgen (an oval Italian plum) are in season, Pflaumenkuchen shows up everywhere from the corner bakery, to the Konditerei… and with good reason. The delightful contrast between cake and slightly sour plum topped with either sugar crystals or streusel makes a delicious cake that isn’t as rich or heavy as a cream torte. To me, it tastes like Summer.
Find the recipe here–>Plum Cake
MORE Traditional German Cakes!
Kaese Sahne Torte ( Cheese and Cream Cake)
Consider Kaese Sahne Torte a perfect hybrid of Cheesecake and a whipped cream cake. A creamy, delicious 2-3 inch thick filling is tucked between two thin layers of cake. It may look like a heavy calorie bomb, but in actuality, this cake is light enough to make you consider taking a second slice. Or a third. This recipe is proof that baking traditional German cakes doesn’t have to be difficult!
For the Recipe–> Kase Sahne Torte
Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)
No list of Traditional German Cakes and Tortes would be complete without the iconic Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte. Chocolate cake, soaked a bit with Kirsch Liqueur (which give it the name), then filled and frosted with whipped cream, Morello cherries and chocolate shavings. Interestingly enough, the Black Forest Cakes origins are relatively recent…although who exactly made it first is up for debate. But, whoever made it first won’t matter to you while when you dig in to a slice.
For the recipe–> Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte
Obst Boden (Fruit Flan)
An Obst Boden must be the most versatile cakes in the German Bakery. This simple sponge cake is baked in a special Boden / Flan pan, and is filled with whatever fruits you have on hand…. everything from a mound of strawberries to a rainbow of layered slices of mandarin, banana, mango, cherries, grapes and even poached fruit. Top that with a glaze of melted jam, or a layer of Torten Guss (thin layer of Gelatin to keep the fruit fresh). It’s refreshing and beautiful.
Find recipe here–>Obst boden
Heidelbeer Käsekuchen (Blueberry Cheesecake)
The best of both worlds! Rich creamy cheesecake baked with loads of fresh and juicy blueberries. Perfect for summertime! This cake is light enough to have two pieces. Normally a baked German Käsekuchen (cheesecake) is made with Quark. Since that ingredient is a bit more difficult to find in the US, this recipe uses Neufchatel Cheese for excellent results.
Find the recipe here- > Heidelbeer Käsekuchen
Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)
Apfelstrudel is the dessert everyone automatically thinks of when they are thinking dessert in Germany. Thin and crispy layers of flaky pastry are wrapped around thinly sliced apples, raisins and sugar. Perfect with a schlag of whipped cream and a steaming cup of coffee. Added bonus, there is so much fruit in a strudel, you don’t have to feel guilty about having a second piece.
Making the pastry from scratch at home is best left to experts… use store bought Phyllo dough for easy results
Find the Recipe here–> Apple Strudel
Marmorkuchen (Marble Cake)
Marmorkuchen is the cake designed to make everyone at the table happy. This beautiful pound cake has swirls of chocolate and vanilla batter! Serve it with whipped cream for a special weekend treat… or pack it in a lunch box to make your child extra happy at school.
For the recipe-> Marmorkuchen
I’m including this one, because it’s a cake I will order when I’m in a German Cafe… the Eierlikor topping on a vanilla and chocolate cake is the ultimate indulgence! (like this piece at the Cafe Rischart above the Vikutalienmarkt in München. I think it might be time to bake one myself…
For a recipe-> Eierlikor Torte
Looking for more Traditional German Cake Recipes?
Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenDr. Oetker: German Baking Today: The OriginalGerman Baking TodayFestive Baking: Holiday Classics in the Swiss, German, and Austrian TraditionsChristmas Baking: Traditional Recipes Made Easy (English and German Edition)Baking: Easy and Elegant
What is YOUR Favorite German Cake?