Traditional German Christmas Cake Recipe

Choose a traditional German Christmas cake recipe and make delicious German cakes brimming with Old World goodness. Coming as they do from Pennsylvania Dutch/German kitchens, they are worth the time it takes to make them from scratch for the Holiday Season.

A festive German cake is so good tasting that your Holiday baking will receive rave reviews and requests for seconds. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Traditional German Christmas Cake Recipe

Yuletide Favorites (c.1950)

Slices of German Stollen for ChristmasEnjoy Traditional German Christstollen at Christmas
(Source: ©ajafoto/

Christstollen / German Stollen Bread

Homemade stollen is the perfect pastry dessert for serving after your Christmas dinner and for the evening snack. The delicious stollen you make from this traditional German Christmas cake recipe will taste so much nicer than any you could buy at the grocery store at Christmas time.

Yeast Cakes

Yeast cakes have been sold in different sizes formerly. So, it's easiest to calculate the dry yeast needed based on how much flour is called for in the original recipe.

For instance, up to 4 cups flour (1 pound, or 1 quart), use 1/4 ounce (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast, and so on.

Stollen makes a perfect Christmas dessert and breakfast for Betty. It is also a nice treat for Christmas giving. —Miss Betty Schmidt, Charleston, WV

1 pint milk
2 cakes yeast
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup softened butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup rum
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Step by Step Instructions:

1. Scald milk and cool to lukewarm. Add crumbled yeast and 1 cup flour. Beat well and let stand in warm place until light.

2. Cream butter and sugar together (reserving two tablespoons of the butter for brushing loaves) and beat in eggs one at a time.

3. Add yeast mixture, rum, lemon zest, salt, almonds, raisins, and rest of the flour. Knead on floured work surface or board until smooth and elastic.

4. Cover with a linen cloth or plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm place until nearly double in bulk. Divide into three loaves.

5. Roll out slightly into an oval shape, fold left side of dough over, then the right side over on the left side so its edge sits slightly left of the middle, pinch in the ends, then press dough down along center with edge of your hand to create the traditional stollen shape. Brush with melted butter. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Bake in 350°F preheated oven 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Cool baked stollen slightly and generously dust with powdered sugar or brush with thin sugar glaze.

German Stollen RecipeMake This Classic Stollen Recipe for Christmas Time
(Source: Yuletide Favorites c.1950)

Traditional German Christmas Cake Recipes

Mary At the Farm and Book of Recipes (1915)

Mondel Krantz / German Almond Cake

Frau SchmidtFrau Schmidt

The Professor's wife, Frau Schmidt, told Mary when she gave her this traditional German Christmas cake recipe that this almond wreath was always served at the breakfast table on Christmas morning at the home of her parents in Germany, and it was always baked by her mother who gave her this old family recipe.

1 pint sweet milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 yeast cake (See Grandma's Tip above)
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons rock candy
1 orange (grated zest and juice)
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
Flour enough

Set to rise early in the morning. To the scalded milk, when lukewarm, add flour enough to make a batter and the yeast, cover dough with linen cloth, set to rise until yeasted dough is light, near the range, which will take several hours.

Then add the sugar, butter, and eggs beaten to a cream, grated orange zest and orange juice, a couple tablespoons finely chopped almonds, and add enough flour to make a soft dough, as stiff as can be stirred with a spoon; set to rise again, and when light, divide the dough in two portions, from which you form two wreaths.

Roll half the dough in three long strips on the floured bake-board with the hands, then braid them together. Place a large coffee cup or small bowl inverted on the center of a large, round or oval, well-greased baking tray, lay the wreath around the bowl. The bowl in the center of the pan prevents the dough from running together and forming a cake.

Brush the top of the wreath with a little milk, containing teaspoon of sugar; over the top of the wreath, stick blanched, well-dried almonds, and strew thickly with crushed rock candy or very coarse sugar.

Let dough rise until light, then bake (375°F). This traditional German Christmas cake recipe makes two large wreath cakes.

German White Fruitcake

3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 pound seeded raisins
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 pound currants
1 pound chopped almonds
Flavor to taste with almond extract
4 cups of flour sifted with 2 teaspoonfuls of Royal baking powder
1/2 pound figs
1/4 pound citron

Beat to a cream sugar, butter, and egg yolks. Then add milk and flour alternately and fruit and almonds. Lastly, add stiffly beaten egg whites. Flour fruit before adding. Chop figs in small pieces. Cut citron fine or shave it thin. Bake in 375°F oven. A very good Holiday cake.

Frau Schmidt's German Christmas Cake

Cream together in a large bowl half a pound of pulverized sugar and half a pound of butter; then add 5 egg yolks, 1 grated lemon rind, 1 pint of milk, 1-1/2 pounds of flour sifted with 4 teaspoonfuls of baking powder, 2 teaspoonfuls of vanilla extract. Bake at once in a moderately hot oven (375°F).

Mary baked an ordinary-sized cake by using one-half of Frau Schmidt's traditional German Christmas cake recipe. The cake was fine grained, similar to a pound cake, although not quite as rich, and she added a couple tablespoonfuls of thinly shaved citron to the batter before baking. This is a particularly fine cake for the Christmas Holidays.

German Light Fruitcake

1 pound butter, scant measure
1 pound pulverized sugar
1 pound flour (full pound)
10 eggs
1 pound English walnut kernels
1 pound raisins
3/4 pound citron, candied orange peel, and lemon peel
1 cup brandy
1 teaspoonful baking powder

Bake 2-1/2 to 3 hours (375°F). This traditional German Christmas cake recipe makes an excellent fruit cake for any occasion.

Traditional German Christmas Cake Recipes

With a Saucepan Over the Sea (1902)

Driekoningentaart / German Three King's Tart

This classic German Christmas cake celebrates the January 6th Feast of Epiphany, or Three King's Day, the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Mix one pinch each of cloves, cinnamon, and mace with 4 ounces of chopped almonds, 2 ounces of chopped peanuts, 2 ounces of citron, and 2 ounces of stoned raisins, the grated zest and juice of a lemon, and 2-1/2 ounces of breadcrumbs, wet with milk. Beat in 6 eggs the whites and yolks whisked separately, and 4 ounces of sugar.

Pour into a shallow dish, and bake in a moderate oven (375°F), until cake tester inserted comes out clean. Turn out when cold, and serve dusted with confectioners' sugar or with a sugar syrup flavored with wine or cordial.

German Christmas Cake

To start this traditional German Christmas cake recipe, mix 1/2 pound butter with 1/2 pound powdered sugar, add 6 egg yolks, and 3/4 pound of flour. Beat the sugar and butter before adding eggs, well beaten separately, and then the flour and a spoonful of vanilla.

Roll out and form into cakes the traditional shape of an S or a U, cover with an icing made of icing sugar and water boiled, adding currants and candied citrus peel, if desired. Bake in a very hot oven (425°F) until done.

Marchpane / Marzipan Candy

Chop 1/2 pound of sweet and 1/2 ounce of bitter almonds. Add 1/2 pound of sugar, and boil to an almond paste. Knead it well, roll thin using rolling pin, and cut into small squares. When these are dry, dip them in fancy icing.

Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr!

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