cultural difference 32: cakes

Having “coffee and cake” on Sunday afternoons is a typically German tradition. We have a countless number of different cakes and pastries.

My personal favorite is cheesecake. In Germany, we prepare it with Quark, which apparently is not known in many other countries. It’s a kind of yogurt-like cream cheese. There’s an ongoing debate about whether raisins belong in cheesecake. To me, the answer is: YES, of course!

Some people prefer cheesecake with mandarin oranges, though.

A specialty in Southern Germany, where I live, is “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” (Black Forest Gateaux). That’s the one with the cherries in the first picture above. Personally, I find all the whipped cream and the “Kirschwasser” (cherry liquor) a bit too much, but a lot of people love it.

Then there’s Frankfurter Kranz (Frankfurter Crown Cake) with buttercream.

The Dresdner Christstollen, a loaf of cake with dried fruits, is a specialty that is mostly eaten around Christmas.

Linzertorte is originally an Austrian recipe, but it’s very popular in Germany too, especially with home-made raspberry jam.

Then there are different kinds of Zopf (which translates to “braids”),which is made from flour, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, and often raisins. The dough is braided before baking, so therefore the name “Zopf.” Sometimes, it’s filled with ground nuts.

Hm. Now I’m hungry :-)

8 thoughts on “cultural difference 32: cakes”

  1. Come over both of you and you’ll get a treat of two (!!) cakes I had made yesterday – the one is a tart with strawberry&apple filling, very fruity and refreshing in summer, and the other one is a chocolate cake (similar to Frankfurter Kranz, at least from the way it looks) with cream Patissiere between the layers. I love baking, that’s where I let my creativity go wild! :)

  2. By the way, here in Cyprus they make cheese-cakes with Philadelfia cheese, which is creamier, than Quark (neither here, nor in Russia or Ukraine you can find the exact analogue of Quark). The last one is cottage-cheesier. :)

  3. Hey, cheesecake is my favorite cake as well. But sorry, Jae. No raisins for me. I prefer the plain version.
    I think the cake and coffee tradition is a very typical tradition for families. Often relatives show up as well on a Sunday afternoon and you sit together, drink coffee and eat cake.
    But this is a tradition that I find gets more and more lost with the younger generation. (Do I sound old here or what?).

    • I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m only 22 and I totally agree with you! Cake and coffee on a Sunday afternoon is such a lovely tradition, it makes me sad that it is being lost. I for one strive to always share my baking with friends and family (although it often occurs on other days of the week). I believe that food is one of the best ways to bring people together!

  4. My whole family is german (although we now live in Canada), and my Opa is a Master Pastry Chef! So, I have grown up eating all these lovely cakes. Cheesecake has always been my favorite, although I admit I’ve never had it with raisins. I make my own Quark for my cheesecakes, just like Oma and Opa taught me!

    Thank you for this post, I love all the photos!


    • Cheesecake is a lovely family tradition. I learned how to bake it from my grandmother, who is 84 and still bakes cheesecakes. The last time she made it, she wanted to improve the recipe and soaked the raisins in Amaretto.

      We quickly realized that it wasn’t an improvement at all. Sometimes, the old ways are really the best ways :-)

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