Reader Jasmine puts out a distress call:
I encountered the most amazing cake ever in Germany, and have been searching for a recipe to no avail – I was wondering if you or other readers could help me out here? It was basically half an inch of cake base, toped with a good 1.5″ of strawberries (or raspberries) set in strawberry jelly, and could be found literally everywhere. I’ve done a google search and turned up recipes for Erdbeerkuchen where you top a flan base off with fresh strawberries and paint it with a glaze. It’s close but no cigar – I distinctly remember the fruit being sweetened and set in a jelly layer. Have you any clue what this might be, or how it could be recreated?
I’m no expert on German cakes. Anyone out there care to enlighten us?
UPDATE II: Reader Majka from the Czech Republic writes:
I am not from Germany, but from its neighbor Czech republic. There are several variants of this cake quite common here.
My recipe for what could be the “mystery” cake, with thick jelly layer on top.
1. Bake one layer of sponge cake (best in spring form)
2. Optional: if you don’t want soggy sponge cake, give it a thin layer of strawberry jam
3. You could use fresh strawberries, but canned fruit works too, perhaps even better. Prepare jelly (from gelatin), using either strawberry sirup or the liquids from canned fruit instead of plain water. Let it cool.
4. Take spring form, set the sponge layer inside. Put the fruit on it and pour the cooled gelatin on it. Let it set in the spring form.
Some cakes here are sponge layer and jelly layer only, some have sponge/jam/sponge layer and jelly, some have in the middle additional layer made from mixture of sour cream, gelatin and either ladyfingers or more fruit in it.
There are other cakes, where the fruit and jelly layer is thin in comparison, the method depends – should there be a crisp layer of jelly, the spring for is needed again. Other cakes can be made without.
I did find two German articles, where the methods are shown – ca. in the middle of the article: using the spring form (simply omit the cream layer and make thicker jelly layer) and for the last one, simply pouring jelly carefully on top
Hope this helps,
UPDATE III: Reader Lisa from Germany writes:
Having read the reader question about the German strawberry cake, I just wanted to let you know about an excellent baking book, the English translation of one of the most well known baking books in Germany.
It is published by Dr. Oetker, which is the biggest brand name for baking supplies in Germany. They offer a huge variety of baking and cook books, and all their recipes are tested in their test kitchens. I own at least fifty different German baking books from various publishers, and this one is by far my favorite. It covers all the different forms of dough, such as sponge, yeast, pound, puff pastry, etc. and has all the classic German recipes. For anybody who wants to bake authentic German cakes, cookies, Torten, etc., this is the best source in my opinion. You and your readers might find it interesting.
I am by no means affiliated with Dr.Oetker, but I have been reading numerous American baking and cooking blogs and I always thought that you would like these German recipes, if you would get to know them.
I have always found it quite surprising that French breads and pastries are so highly regarded in America, while most of our German products are unknown to Americans. I really like French baking too, but IMHO, te German baking — especially the bread — is much more varied and of excellent quality.
I hope that this information is helpful for you. Concerning the strawberry cake question, I looked at the two suggestions and both seem to be accurate. It is usually either a sponge cake or a normal pound cake batter that gets baked in a special cake pan, such as this.
But you can use a normal springform pan as well. You simply put halved or whole strawberries on top of the baked and cooled cake and glaze the fruit with some JELL-O sort of translucent jelly. In Germany, you can buy jelly specially made for this very popular kind of strawberry cake.
Some people like their Erdbeerkuchen with a thin layer of vanilla pudding between the strawberries and the cake, to make it more moist and prevent the juicy strawberries from seeping into the cake. I have never had any strawberry cake that had strawberry jam in the middle, and I have eaten a lot of strawberry cake in my life! If the strawberries are any good, you usually don’t sweeten them because the cake underneath and the thin glaze above are both sweet enough. In general, German pastries are a lot less sweet than American pastries.
Thanks a lot and best wishes from Germany or as we say “Viele Grüße”,
Looks like I have a new cookbook to order!