Traditional German Cake Recipes

Enjoy the German cake recipes in English that Grandma used when making delicious dessert cakes for her family. Nine children can eat plenty of cake, especially when it's this good, so she sometimes doubled the recipes!

Have fun making one of these scrumptious German dessert cakes today. They are easily prepared and so delicious to eat. Below are authentic German cake recipes for making a variety of traditional German cakes and tasty buns.

Authentic German Cake Recipes

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Here's a Fun Fact

Vintage Illustration of a German Chocolate CakeGerman Chocolate Cake With Coconut Pecan Frosting
(Source: Adapted From a Vintage Magazine Ad)

If you arrived here hoping to find a recipe for THE famous German Chocolate Cake, it's NOT a German cake recipe at all, as it had its origins in America!

It was only called "German" because a Walter Baker & Company employee, an English immigrant named Samuel German, invented "German's Sweet Chocolate" back in 1852, and "German's Chocolate" became associated with the "German Chocolate Cake."

In truth, it's a delicious, moist cake with a rich sweet chocolate flavor, a gooey coconut pecan filling, and a topping of coconut pecan frosting that's the traditional German Chocolate Cake frosting.

Not to worry, you can still get the original German Chocolate Cake Recipe to enjoy. It's in the Cakes menu, and it makes a great birthday cake when served with ice cream, and it's a classic cake to enjoy anytime.

*German's is a trademark of General Foods Corp.

German Chocolate Pound CakeEnjoy German Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate Drizzle
(Source: ©Whiteaster/Depositphotos.com)

German Marble Pound Cake

Grandma's Tip

To maintain the freshness of a moist German cake, after baking and cooling, cover your cake with plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet (unsalted) butter*
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3-1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt or 1/8 teaspoon
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons oil

* Do NOT substitute margarine

Method:

Before making this old fashioned German cake recipe, preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan and set aside. Beat the butter with sugar and extracts until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs first and then add the milk.

In a large bowl, with a wire whisk stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat the dry mixture into the creamed mixture until combined.

Remove half of the batter to a separate bowl and stir in the cocoa and oil into the batter in the mixer bowl.

Alternate large globs of the white and chocolate batter around the tube pan, then gently swirl the two batters with a spatula.

Bake in moderate oven (350°F to 375°F) for about 50 to 60 minutes (maybe more, depending on your oven) or until it pulls away slightly from the sides of pan and a wire tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer cake to a wire rack and cool completely before serving. Take some bittersweet melted chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the cake to decorate.

Old Recipe for German Buns

True, this isn't a German cake recipe, but these German buns with their sweet filling taste as good as cake and are excellent for serving at tea time as a dessert with homemade preserves.

German Buns: 4 cups sifted flour, 1 small teaspoon salt, 1 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup lard, 1 egg (well beaten). Mix up with milk and water, half each, enough to make a dough. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.

Filling: 1 egg, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour; mix.

Roll out your buns and spread on the filling. Then roll up and cut off in slices. Bake (375°F). Do not put the buns too close together, as they spread.

German Cake Recipes in English

With a Saucepan Over the Sea (1902)

Bavarian Tart That's Really a Layer Cake

Make three thin layer cakes from a good cake recipe, and put them together with a stiff filling of whipped cream, sweetened and flavored with strawberry juice.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with a homemade icing of the same flavor, both pink and daintily made. Serve, sliced, for dessert.

Decorate the top of the cake with candied cherries and leaves of citron, cut thin, in a wreath. This is a good and very pretty cake, though called a tart.

German Konglauffe

In Germany, it's customary to shake some cinnamon sugar all over this kind of cake, as soon as it's turned out of the mold.

Beat 10 ounces of butter in a medium bowl with 1/4 pound sugar, which has mixed with the zest of a lemon and a little nutmeg. Add 4 ounces of flour and 2 eggs, well beaten.

Work these well together, add 3/4 pound more flour, 2 whole eggs, and the yolks of 4 one by one. Add finally 3/4 ounce of yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup of whole milk.

Butter a cake mold, line it with chopped nuts, and pour in batter and bake 1-3/4 hours (350°F). Turn out, serve in slices, with cream sauce or melted jam.

Hobelspane / Small German Dessert Cakes

Sift 3 ounces of flour, add a pinch of salt, the grated rind and juice of a lemon, yolks of 5 eggs, and enough water to make a paste. Let this stand 1/2 hour.

Roll it out thin, cut into strips, twist these like curls, and fry in hot fat. Dust them with confectioners' sugar and serve hot, with a sauce of melted grape preserves. May be cut in squares instead.

Manheim Rolls

Mix 2 eggs, 6 ounces flour, 2 ounces sugar, and 1 ounce of anise seed to a paste. Cut into long rolls, twist them, glaze with yolk of an egg, and bake until brown. Serve for afternoon tea or lunch.

Authentic German Cake Recipes

365 Foreign Dishes (1908)

Prune Kuchen

Boil some prunes until tender. Remove the kernels and mash the prunes well. Mix with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice to taste. Make a rich biscuit dough, roll out and place on a well-buttered baking pan. Fill with the prunes and let bake (375°F) until done. Serve cold. Excellent with a dollop of whipped cream.

German Sweet Pretzels

Mix 1/2 pound flour with 1/2 pound of fresh butter; add 1/4 pound of sugar, 1 egg, and 1 beaten yolk, 1 tablespoonful of sweet cream, and some grated lemon peel.

Mix thoroughly and mold the dough into small wreaths; brush the top with the yolk of an egg and sprinkle with powdered sweet almonds. Lay in a well-buttered baking sheet and bake (375°F) until a deep yellow color.

German Pound Cake Recipe

Cookery (1895)

8 ounces butter, 10 ounces flour, 1 ounce sugar, 4 ounces candied peel, rind and juice of 1 small lemon, 8 ounces sultana raisins, 5 eggs.

Beat butter and sugar to a cream, add yolks of eggs, then flour and whites alternately, lastly, the fruit. Pour into buttered and (parchment) papered cake tins, and bake two hours in moderate oven (375°F).

German Pound Cake With Rum

Practical Cooking and Dinner Getting (1876)

Ingredients: One pound of flour, three-quarters of a pound of butter, six ounces of sugar, one egg, half a cupful of rum.

Mix and bake in a pie pan, pressing the entire cake until it is about one-quarter of an inch high. Before baking, sprinkle sugar and ground cinnamon on top of the cake; after it is baked, cut it into squares while it is yet warm.

German Puff Cakes Recipe

Miss Parloa's New Cook Book (1882)

The yolks of six eggs, five tablespoonfuls of flour, one of melted butter, one pint of whole milk, half a teaspoonful of salt. Beat the yolks of the eggs light, add the milk to them, and pour part of this mixture on the flour.

Beat light and smooth; then add the remainder of the eggs and milk, and the salt and butter. Butter muffin pans, and half fill them with the cake batter.

The quantities given will make twelve puffs depending on the size you make them. Bake twenty minutes in a quick oven (425°F). Serve on a hot platter with the orange dessert sauce (see below) poured over them.

Orange Dessert Sauce

Grandma's Tip

Nowadays, it's best to use pasteurized egg whites in No Bake recipes.

The whites of six eggs, one cupful of powdered sugar, the juice of two oranges or of one lemon.

After beating the whites to a stiff froth, gradually beat in the sugar, and then the juice of the fruit.

Authentic German Cake Recipes

German Cookery for the English Kitchen (1906)

Pfefferkuchen / Gingerbread

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.

5 eggs
6 powdered cloves
1/2 grated nutmeg
1/4 ounce ground ginger
9 ounces castor sugar
6 ounces mixed peel
1/4 pound sweet almonds
1/4 ounce baking soda
1/4 teaspoonful ground cinnamon
2 tablespoonsful milk

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and add to them the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and castor sugar. Beat these well for about 10 minutes.

Next add the peel, cut into thin but rather large pieces, the flour well dried, the almonds, blanched and cut into halves, and baking soda mixed in a tablespoon of milk.

Stir quickly and pour into a deep baking tin lined with butter, or, which is much better, wafer papers (parchment paper).

Shake some more almonds on the top and bake in a moderate oven (375°F), three-quarters of an hour. When nearly done, sprinkle a little icing sugar on the top. This will keep well in a dry airtight tin.

Wiener Torte

1 pound flour
3/4 pound sugar
3/4 pound butter
6 egg yolks
4 whites of eggs
Grated rind of a lemon

For this traditional German cake recipe, cream the butter, add sugar and the beaten-up egg yolks, and stir 3/4 hour. Then add the grated lemon peel and alternately the flour, and whisked whites of eggs.

Roll out in three pieces and bake on buttered tins. Place the cake layers on each other, spreading jam between.

Blitzkuchen / Lightning Cake

1/2 pound sugar
1/2 pound butter
1/2 pound potato flour mixed with...
1/2 ounce baking powder
6 eggs
1/2 pound flour
Grated rind and juice of a lemon

Cream the butter and stir into it the beaten-up eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel, and lastly add the flour, sifted, and mixed with baking powder. When thoroughly mixed, fill at once a well-buttered tin and bake (350°F) 1 hour.

Potato Flour

Potato Flour is different from potato starch. It's a flour made from grinding dried, whole potatoes and is used as an alternative to wheat flour for gluten-free cooking.

The potato flour helps to improve texture and add moisture and a natural sweetness when added to cookies and cakes.

If potato flour is unavailable, twice the amount of instant potato flakes can be substituted with good taste results in recipes. For example, 2 ounces potato flour = 4 ounces potato flakes.

Tausendjahrkuchen / Thousand Year Cake

1 pound butter
1 pound sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 pound currants
1 pound flour
8 eggs, separated

Cream the butter, stir three-fourths of the flour into it and beat for 1/2 hour to a froth. In separate bowl beat, also to a froth, the sugar and egg yolks.

Add the grated lemon peel and then the egg whites, whisked to stiff peaks. Then mix with the beaten-up flour and butter and finally stir in lightly the well-washed and dried currants.

Fill a well-buttered cake tin and bake (350°F) 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

Glasuren / Traditional German Cake Icing Recipes

German Cookery for the English Kitchen (1906)

Use these mouth-watering icings with the authentic German cake recipes for a unique European taste.

Spritzglasur

1 tablespoonful white wine or rosewater
6 ounces castor sugar
1/2 teaspoonful lemon juice

Mix all well together till a thick mass. Fill a firm, pointed paper (plastic) bag, cut the tip of the bag off, fasten together at the top, and by pressing the thumb at that end, the icing is squirted out at the pointed end of the bag, so that patterns of all sorts can be traced at will on the surface of Torten and other popular German cakes.

Zitronen Glasur / Lemon Icing

1/2 pound castor sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice

Warm the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low to medium heat till lukewarm. Then spread at once over the delicious cake to be iced. White wine, rosewater, or fruit syrup may be substituted for the lemon juice.

Marzipan / Marchpane

1 pound sweet almonds
1 pound castor sugar
1 ounce bitter almonds
4 tablespoons rosewater

Blanch the almonds and grate them finely. Then mix them well with the sugar and rosewater, kneading well, so that the paste can be easily rolled out.

Form into a ball and leave for some hours, before working up into various shapes or spreading, thinly rolled out, on Torten or Pfefferkuchen (German cake recipes above).

About the German Cake Recipes

Little Red Riding Hood Being Watched by the WolfLittle Red Riding Hood Taking a Piece of Cake to Her Grandmother (Source: ©Angela Waye/123RF.com)

Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by everyone who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child.

Once she gave her a little riding hood of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called Little Red Riding Hood.

One day her mother said to her: "Come, Little Red Riding Hood, here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine; take them to your grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good." —The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm knew that "a piece of German cake" will do anyone good. That's because the rich, all-natural ingredients called for in these authentic German cake recipes, and the unsurpassed Old World taste of traditional German cakes makes them perfect for serving anytime.

Whether it's the German marble cake, the delicious konglauffe cake, or the simple hobelspane, your friends and family will look forward to their favorite cakes. They're wonderful cakes to have on hand, especially when company comes.

And, these Old World cakes make perfect German desserts to enjoy anytime. Choose one of the German cake recipes above and treat yourself to a  taste experience so good you'll want to skip dinner.

I don't know about you, but I don't need special occasions or even a good reason to enjoy eating a slice of homemade cake. Homemade always tastes better than store-bought. Always!

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