Home Desserts 20 Traditional German Cake Recipes

20 Traditional German Cake Recipes

From the creamy käsekuchen to the decadent schwarzwälder kirschttorte, these German cake recipes will make your next get-together a huge hit!

As difficult as they are to spell and pronounce, these cakes all have one thing in common: they’re just delicious.

Germany isn’t just famous for its rich culture and traditions, but its cuisine, too – particularly, the desserts. 

Sweet German Chocolate Cake
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German desserts come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Some are fudgy and chocolatey, while others are fruity and refreshing. Some are simple, while others are very intricate. 

In this collection of recipes, there’s something for every mood and occasion.

Also, just in case you’re looking for a recipe for German chocolate cake, which, surprise – isn’t really German, I have it here, as well.

There’s a lot to cover, so los gehts! Let’s go!

1. Apfelkunchen

Apfelkuchen is a light and refreshing cake that features, as you may have guessed – apples.

There are many variations of the apfelkunchen.

There’s the Gedeckter apfelkuchen, which resembles the American apple pie, but with a dense sponge cake for a crust.

There’s also the apfelkuchen mit Mürbeteig, which is an apple pie with a thick shortcrust at the bottom, a spiced apple filling in the center, and a crumble on top. 

Then, there’s the Versunken apfelkuchen, also known as the “sunken apple cake,” which is what this recipe makes.

It’s a moist and buttery cake topped with a beautifully arranged layer of crisp, sweet, and tart apple slices. It’s an excellent idea for a fall dessert! 

Pair this with coffee or tea for a delightful afternoon snack.

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2. German Cheesecake

Cheesecakes aren’t only famous here in the US, but all over the world.

Many countries have their own iterations of this simple, yet decadent dessert, Germany included.

Called käsekuchen, the German cheesecake is lighter and fluffier than the American version.

It’s all thanks to quark, a dairy product formed by curdling and straining soured milk.

Also, instead of a graham cracker crust, it uses shortbread.

If you can’t get ahold of quark, that’s okay, as whole-milk ricotta makes a great alternative.

3. Bee Sting Cake

It sounds a bit painful, but don’t worry, the only sensation you’ll experience when eating this cake is pure delight.

Bienenstich, or bee sting cake, is a pastry filled with creamy pudding and topped with honey-glazed almonds.

Legend has it that a bee was attracted to the honey topping that it stung the baker who invented it, hence the name.

4. Black Forest Cake

Who doesn’t love a good black forest cake, am I right?! 

First of all, it looks stunning. It’s definitely a wonderful addition to birthday parties and special celebrations.

Second, it’s incredibly packed with flavors and textures. 

It has layers of chocolate sponge cake, brandy-soaked cherries, whipped cream, and shaved chocolate on top.

One spoonful gives your tastebuds an epic, mind-blowing experience.  

5. Butterkuchen

Don’t be fooled by its seemingly simple look. Butterkuchen is so scrumptious, you’ll want a slice (or two) every single day.

This is a wonderfully moist and fluffy cake loaded with buttery goodness and topped with crunchy almond slivers.

It’s not uncommon to use yeast when making cakes in Germany, and this is one of them. 

That said, be prepared to knead and proof dough for this recipe. Don’t worry, it’s worth the time and effort.

6. Danube Waves Cake

Donauwellen kuchen or Danube waves cake is a delectable combination of chocolate, cherries, and vanilla.

Two cake batters – chocolate and vanilla – are swirled together to create the waves.

The cake combo is studded with cherries, as well, for added flavor and crunch.

Then, a thick layer of buttercream frosting is spread on top, followed by decadent chocolate ganache.

This is the ultimate German dessert!

7. German Apple Sheet Cake

The German apple sheet cake is also a kind of apfelkuchen, but in sheet form.

It has a light and moist sponge cake flavored with vanilla and lemon at the bottom and cinnamon and sugar-soaked apples on top.

This recipe makes a big cake, so it’s ideal for afternoon get-togethers with friends. When feeding a crowd, one round cake just won’t do!

8. German Advocaat Cake

The eierlikörtorte, or advocaat cake, has a layer of flourless, almond chocolate cake at the bottom, cream frosting in the middle, and an advocaat custard on top. It’s very decadent, to say the least.

Advocaat is a German egg-liqueur that can easily be made at home.

In fact, this recipe calls for such basic ingredients to make the advocaat custard – egg yolks, cream, rum, and sugar.

9. Streuselkuchen

When you think about German desserts, I’ll bet streusel is one of the first things that come to mind. Streusels are very big in Germany, and for good reason.

Streuselkuchen, or German crumb cake, is made from a yeast dough that turns incredibly soft and moist once baked. 

It’s loaded with large and chunky butter crumbles on top, giving it a wonderful contrast of flavors and textures.

10. German Strawberry Roll

Let’s take a break from dense and decadent cakes for a while and say hello to the light and delicate erdbeerrolle.

This is a fluffy and airy roll with whipped cream and fresh strawberries in the center. This refreshing cake is excellent for summer picnics and barbecues.

This cake is most commonly flavored with strawberries, but you can experiment with other berries, too.

11. German Cheese Cream Cake

Not to be confused with a German cheesecake, käsesahnetorte is a cake with a biscuit crust and topping, with a smooth and creamy cheese filling in the middle.

Made from a combination of quark (a dairy product formed by curdling and straining soured milk) , whipped cream, and lemon and tangerine juices, the filling is incredibly light and refreshing.

It’s so good it’s one of the most popular cakes Germans like to eat with their 4:00 afternoon coffee.

12. Marmorkuchen

Marmorkuchen is a moist marbled cake made by swirling together a chocolate and vanilla cake.

While marble cakes are known all over the world, we have Germany and Austria to thank for this wonderful concoction.

Back in the day, the swirls in a marble cake are made up of spices and molasses.

But in the interest of making the dessert more kid-friendly, chocolate is used instead.

13. German Chocolate Cake

Say hello to the only dessert on this list that’s not German. 

It’s understandable why many confuse this cake to have German roots, what with its name and all, but the German chocolate cake is all-American.

It was created all the way in the 1850s by an English-American chocolatier named Samuel German, hence the misleading name.

Layers of moist and fudgy chocolate cake are filled with a gooey coconut and pecan filling and coated with a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting.

No matter its origins, one thing’s for certain: this cake is divine. 

14. German Red Currant Cake

A tender and crumbly yeasted dough cake is topped with bright red currants for a refreshing summer dessert!

If you’re not so much of a sweet tooth, you’ll appreciate how this dessert isn’t overwhelmingly sweet.

The sweet-tart currants provide a lovely balance of flavors.

If you’re unfamiliar, currants are little red summer berries that are abundant in Northern Europe. 

15. German Apple Custard Cake

This version of the classic apfelkuchen has a warm vanilla custard drizzled on top.

At the bottom, you’ll get a beautiful layer of tender and moist apple cake spiced with cinnamon and cardamom.

The cake and custard are both delicious on their own. Together, they’ll make magic happen.

16. German Plum Cake

Zwetschgenkuchen, or plum cake, is another well-loved dessert in Germany.

So much so that it has many names and versions by various German regions.

Some are made with yeast dough, others with a shortcrust pastry. Some are rectangular, while others are round.

This particular recipe makes a mouthwatering plumcake with yeast dough and streusel that comes in bar form.

Despite the differences, all have one thing in common: they all honor the goodness of the sweet and juicy European plum.

17. German Sunken Apple Cake

As you may have noticed, Germans love using apples in their desserts. This is because apples are abundant in the country all year round!

This recipe for sunken apple cake, or Versunkener apfelkuchen, is a soft and buttery cake with apple slices on top.

The cake is sprinkled with raw sugar on top to provide an element of crunch. 

18. Bremer Klaben

Bremer klaben is a festive holiday bread dotted with candied and/or dried fruit.

This fruitcake-like dessert has a dense yeasted dough batter that’s infused with vanilla, cardamom, and lemon zest, and loaded with candied lemon and orange peels, almonds, raisins.

19. German Poppy Seed Cake

If you like the nutty and crunchy goodness of poppy seeds, mohnkuchen is a must-try.

To be clear, mohnkuchen refers to any dessert that contains poppy seeds. 

This one, in particular, has a crisp bottom crust, a creamy ricotta-poppy seed filling, and a golden crumble on top.

20. Baumkuchen

Baumkuchen is a breathtaking cake that looks like a slice of a tree log. It has numerous layers of thin crepe-like rings rolled into a log, creating its iconic look.

I’m not going to lie, this recipe calls for a lot of work. But just one look at it, and you can already tell it’s worth it.

Also, fun fact: did you know that baumkuchen is a huge thing in Japan?

Don’t be surprised to see this cake sold in Japanese pastry shops and even convenience stores!

20 Traditional German Cakes

Your family will adore these traditional German cake recipes! From apple cake to cheesecake to black forest cake, take a virtual trip to Germany and enjoy some of its best sweets.


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German Cake Recipes

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “20 Traditional German Cake Recipes”

  1. Hi Kim, I had an older German neighbor lady that made what she called Bismark oak cake, it was Choclate, rolled up like a log. Does this sound familiar? I do want to try some of these cakes, as well. Thanks Debbie


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