Most German desserts are Christmas classics you might see at markets and in the grocery stores as holiday specials.
But there is so much more to them!
Yes, there are some great festive favorites here that are warm, spiced, and perfect for the winter months.
But there are also fun treats like ice cream spaghetti, quark cheesecake, and a fruity trifle that would make a great BBQ dessert.
I’ve rounded up 25 gorgeous German desserts that are perfect any time of the year. Enjoy!
1. German Plum Dumplings (Zwetschgenknoedel)
These little dumplings are such a cute idea for an after dinner treat.
Quark is a soft cheese that can be smooth or more like cottage cheese. It provides a great mild flavor and excellent texture for the dough.
The slightly tart plums become tender while cooking and are a pleasant change to the normal apple cinnamon combination.
Just be sure your water isn’t boiling, or it can ruin the dough.
2. Bee Sting Cake
A unique, yeast-based “cake,” there are a few tricks to make sure this German cake comes out just right.
You will need to knead and rest this “cake” before you can press it into your pan.
This gets topped with a honey almond mixture that will caramelize during baking.
A top tip is to cut this cake while it is still warm. Controversial, I know!
The idea is to cut through the top before it has time to set. That way, you’ll get clean slices.
The filling is a simple whipped cream and pudding mix that lets the honey and almond shine.
3. Blushing Maid
Putting pumpernickel bread into a dessert might sound bizarre, but it actually works.
A real German pumpernickel has a deep coffee and chocolate flavor that is a delicate balance with tart raspberries and sweet whipped cream.
This is not a typical sweet dessert. The bread gets soaked in yogurt for a tangy and rich flavor.
If the idea of pumpernickel is too much, you can use another kind of bread to make it sweeter.
4. Strawberry Rhubarb Trifle
Fresh rhubarb has a vibrant color that you just don’t get from canned. If you can’t find fresh, I wouldn’t recommend this recipe.
The tart rhubarb mixed with sweet and juicy strawberries makes a beautiful pink trifle. The colors are amazing, and the meringue adds some crunch.
I like these as individual portions, but the favors would work well as a German pavlova.
You can even save some of the rhubarb juice and reduce it down to a thicker sauce to pour over the whole thing.
5. Sweet Venison Cake
Don’t panic. No deer were hurt in the making of this cake.
A chocolate and almond cake made using Zwieback biscuits and ground almonds, the texture is somewhere between a cookie and a cake.
They actually have special pans to bake this cake that have molded ridges to mimic an animal’s ribs.
It then gets a dark chocolate glaze and almond “spikes” for decoration.
6. German Fruit Flan
German flans are more like fruit tarts. The difference is that the base is a sponge, rather than a pastry.
You can buy these in stores, but the recipe couldn’t be easier.
Just mix flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder and bake in a tart dish until golden brown.
When cool, you can cover with a simple vanilla pudding and the fresh fruit of your choice.
It’s so easy to change this up. I would try a lemon pudding and fresh blueberries.
For a nice shiny finish, try brushing your fruit tart with watered-down, warmed apricot jam.
7. German Coconut Macaroons
Have you ever come across something that is normal in one country, but not for you?
Well, I first came across baking wafers because of this recipe, and it’s a game changer!
I can’t say how many times I’ve made coconut macaroons and had them stick to the tray and ruin.
Baking wafers are edible discs onto which you pipe your sticky dough of choice.
When everything is baked, the wafers come right off the sheet, leaving your cookie sticky and whole.
These macaroons are super easy to make, using just coconut, egg whites, sugar and some flour.
The chocolate stripes are optional but dress them up perfectly.
8. German Rum Balls
No-bake rum balls are such a fun and simple way to get your chocolate fix.
I love the hazelnut in these, but you can leave them out if you want something nut-free.
You can always leave out the rum and still have a sweet and chewy treat.
Rolling in cocoa gives them a nice coating, but I think chocolate sprinkles or shavings would look great!
9. German Cheesecake
There are a few things about this recipe that sets this cheesecake apart.
First, the crust is a short crust pastry with a hint of lemon.
Second, the filling is made using quark instead of cream cheese.
As mentioned before, quark is a soft cheese with a mild flavor. It’s thicker than Greek yogurt and is not as sour.
The result is a creamy and mild flavored cheesecake with a thick and smooth texture you will love.
Top with fresh berries and some whipped cream.
10. German Blueberry Cake
More like a blueberry cheesecake, this recipe calls for a kilo of blueberries. That’s 2.2 pounds of fruit!
Needless to say, it’s so flavorful.
With a cream cheese based dough acting as a crust, you’ll get that tangy flavor in every single bite.
The good news is, everything gets baked together.
Just fill your crust with all those blueberries and pour over the sweet cream cheese filling.
You’ll get a mouthful of fresh blueberries with each spoonful, and the sweet cheesecake pairs perfectly.
11. Spaghetti Ice Cream
Did you know that pressing ice cream through a potato ricer will give you spaghetti?
This dish is so cute and perfect for kids, or after an Italian feast.
Using vanilla ice cream for the noodles, you will top it off with a strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings to give the impression of tomato sauce and parmesan.
If you want to go all out, try adding some brownie “meatballs.”
12. Dipped Gingersnaps
Christmas can be busy and crazy, and you don’t always have time to make up a batch of amazing cookies.
Luckily, you can modify some store-bought gingersnaps to make them festive. I won’t tell!
Of course, you can make your own with this recipe.
Try dipping your cookies in different chocolates and sprinkling with a few things, like chopped nuts and festive sprinkles for variety.
13. Linzer Cookies
These have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.
Buttery shortbread and filling with a sweet and tart jam? I’ll never say no to that!
The five-ingredient dough is simple and delicious. Be sure not to over-mix, though. You’ll want it short and crumbly.
Though I prefer the traditional raspberry filling, I think any jam would be great.
For a little twist, why not try striping with some dark chocolate?
14. German Crumb Cake
Though this cake has three layers, it all gets baked as one.
The base is a fluffy yellow cake that gets topped with apricot jam, which will bubble and seep into the sponge for extra moisture and sweetness.
The top is a simple crumble topping made with flour, butter, and sugar.
Traditionally, this has almonds on top, but you can leave those out if you prefer.
Just like the recipe above, I think any jam would make this cake taste great. Or maybe even a layer of fruit compote for added texture.
15. Authentic German Lebkuchen Recipe
With a high fruit and nut ratio, these cookies are spiced, nutty, and sweet.
This recipe calls for Lebkuchengewürz, which you can substitute for gingerbread spice.
This dough is quite sticky. You need to add some extra almond meal to allow you to scoop the batter.
These keep great and get better the longer they sit and soak up all the flavors.
I think they would be the perfect partner for a hot coffee on a chilly day.
16. German Rice Pudding
When you read this recipe, you might be thinking this is kind of a sweet risotto. And you’re not wrong.
It uses the same kind of rice, and you’ll need to lightly toast it before adding in your liquid.
Cook over a low heat until the liquid is almost all absorbed.
Serve with brown sugar and cinnamon for a simple but comforting weeknight dessert.
17. Peppernut Cookies (Pfeffernusse)
These cookies are similar to ginger cookies, but the main flavor note here is anise.
Not only that, they incorporate cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.
These cookies are great when cooled, with a crisp edge and chewy middle.
But they are also delicious after a week, when they have had time to harden and crisp up like biscotti.
The licorice flavor is definitely the most prominent, so if you’re not a fan, this might not be for you.
18. Cinnamon Star Cookies
Not only are these gluten-free, but they are also dairy-free and have just seven ingredients.
The binders here are whipped egg white and ground almonds, for an amazing texture.
The dough will be sticky, but you should be able to press it onto your surface and cut your stars.
The simple cinnamon nut cookie is sweetened just a touch with a meringue glaze.
I think these would be adorable hung on the tree with colorful ribbons.
19. Sacher Torte
This chocolate cake has a cult following and deserves the best quality chocolate you can find.
The cake is light and airy, made with melted chocolate, vanilla, butter, sugar, and flour. The eggs get separated, and you will incorporate the whipped whites at the end.
For that real authentic feel, don’t skip the apricot glaze.
Lastly, the whole cake gets covered in a dark chocolate glaze that will set up just right for a beautiful and clean finish.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe an Irish coffee.
20. Apple Strudel
Rather than a thick crust of pastry, this apple dessert is encased in a thin, hand-stretched dough.
It’s a little strange, but you’ll have fun giving it a go!
The beauty is, it doesn’t need to be neat and tidy. Just gently work around the edges, pulling from the middle to stretch it out as much as you can.
In fact, it should be so thin, you can read from a newspaper placed underneath!
This thin dough gets loaded with apple, cinnamon, and golden raisins, before being rolled up into a strudel log.
When baked, the crust should have layers of crisp and flaky pastry with a sweet and spiced apple filling that is bursting with flavor.
21. German Apple Pancakes with Cider Syrup
German pancakes, or Dutch babies, are big oven-baked cakes that you slice up and serve.
For this recipe, the batter is blitzed until smooth using a blender or immersion blender. It’s so simple.
It will look like a crepe batter.
When the batter is ready to go, saute your apples with cinnamon and brown sugar in an oven-proof skillet.
You’ll want to cook it long enough for the sugar to dissolve and the apples to soften a little.
Then pour your batter right over the top and bake until puffy and golden.
This will deflate slightly, that’s normal!
But it’s the cider syrup that is giving me life.
Gently stir the ingredients until the sauce has thickened and serve warm over the fresh out of the oven pancake.
22. German Chocolate Cupcakes
As much as I love a big slice of German chocolate cake, I have to admit that these cupcakes look super cute.
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. It looks like a lot of work, and I won’t tell if you use a boxed cake mix.
But this recipe will give you rich and moist chocolate cupcakes every time.
The coconut and pecan topping is out of this world. I would suggest making extra so you know you’ll have enough after… well, quality control.
These babies look so impressive and they won’t last!
23. Kirschmichel Cherry Dessert
Originally a way of using up old bread, this recipe is a modern twist on the cherry bread classic.
Instead of using bread, this recipe calls for semolina, which is coarse and will leave a specific texture in the sponge. If you can’t find semolina, quinoa flour is a great alternative.
When the cake is mixed, stir through your cherries and bake until golden and puffy.
This cake gets served with a delicious and creamy vanilla sauce but would be nice with whipped cream, too.
24. Peach Kuchen
This sweet tart has a wonderful buttery shortbread base.
You’ll bake the base with sliced peaches for about 15 minutes. This will give you time to make the custard.
The custard is as simple as whisking egg yolks and cream. This gets poured in the hot tart and baked for 30 minutes until set.
The layers are amazing in this simple tart, and it doesn’t even need any cream on the side.
You usually have to wait until the holidays to have Stollen, but I say make it year round!
A sweet bread loaded with fruit and nuts, it makes a great pairing with a cup of tea.
You’ll need to let this dough rise before kneading in all those extras. Knead until the fruit stays put and you can gently mold into a log shape.
After another rest, you can bake for 20-30 minutes and leave to cool, before dusting with powdered sugar.
I love all the ingredients here, but you can modify as you see fit. If you prefer macadamia nuts and glace cherries, that’s totally up to you.
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