One of our favorite German cakes that my wife bakes, is what I call a ‘rustic farmhouse cake’ called Streuselkuchen or Streusel Cake. My role in the process of baking German cakes is doing the dishes, and enjoying the experience of eating them during ‘coffee & cake’ at our house, which we have at 3:00 p.m. each day. 🙂 Coffee & Cake, or Kafee und Kuchen in German, is my favorite German tradition, where one traditionally pauses at 4:00 p.m. for coffee along with a piece of cake, cookies, or pastry before resuming the day.
My wife uses a traditional family Streuselkuchen recipe passed down through the generations in Germany, but you can find a similar one in any good German cookbook or baking website. While the basic ingredients and recipes for Streuselkuchen are all pretty similar, my wife does add a few variations to the theme in her Streuselkuchen, which I’ll describe below.
The basic concept of a Streuselkuchen is that it is comprised of an enriched yeast cake bottom dough made of flour, yeast, sugar, milk, butter and eggs. The cake bottom dough is then topped with a crumbly streusel layer made of sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon.
My wife’s variation is to spread a thin layer of sour cream on the cake bottom dough and sprinkle it with cinnamon prior to applying the streusel topping. The sour cream adds moisture and acts as a binder to hold the crumbly streusel topping in place. Another variation is to place sliced apples on the sour cream layer before sprinkling with cinnamon and adding the crumble streusel topping, which is then called Apfelstreusel (Apple Streusel Cake). The apple slices add an element of apple pie taste to the cake, but the extra moisture the apple slices add prevents it from freezing well, so this version should be eaten fresh after baking. The standard version with the additional layer of sour cream and cinnamon freezes wonderfully, tasting as if it had just been baked after thawing out.
Once the cake bottom dough, sour cream, cinnamon and streusel topping have been assembled, sprinkle the cake with some additional cinnamon for flavor and color, and bake. For my taste, the more uneven the dough rises during baking, the more rustic and authentic it appears ~ enjoy!