Moist Streuselkuchen (German Crumb Cake)

Streuselkuchen is a classic German coffee cake that consists of a yeast base and delicious buttery “crumble”. You will find this cake in every bakery in Germany. This is the basic recipe for plain old-fashioned German crumb cake. But you will also find it made with fruit such as my German Apple Streusel Cake.

A piece of German streusel cake on a plate.
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What is Streuselkuchen?

Streuselkuchen is a classic German sheet cake made with yeast dough. In order to create the streusel, you create crumbles from a mixture of butter. flour and sugar.

It is one of the classic German yeast cake recipes. Yeast is a popular choice for cake bases in Germany. Other traditional yeasted cakes are Butterkuchen, Bienenstich and German Red Currant Cake.

Translation to English

The word “Streusel” is derived from the verb “streuen” which means “to scatter or spread” in English. It refers to the crumbs being scattered on top of the cake base. It is also the word used for “crumble or crumbs” “Kuchen” is the German word for “cake”. Hence the name “Streuselkuchen” can be literally translated means Crump Cake.

Pronounciation

As an English speaker pronounce it “STREW-SELLE-COOK-EN”.

History

Streuselkuchen has a special history in the German part of Silesia, where it appears in the 19th century in various literary sources. There are various legends about Silesia and the origin of this German crumb cake.

It was first mentioned in 1819 as a popular cake at fairs (Kirmes). During the harvest season, the recipe was varied with ingredients such as poppy seed and seasonal fruits such as apples and cherries.

It also was an important cake for wedding festivities in East and West Prussia. In the Rhineland, on the other hand, people know it better as a to bring to funerals.

Until now you will find that Streuselkuchen remains a popular coffee cake that appears in most German cookbooks. (source, Irene Krauss 1999 – Chronik bildschöner Backwerke)

Silesian Legends of the Origin of Streuselkuchen

Let me tell you the charming charming legend on how the German Streusel cake was discovered. In Silesia, there were so-called goblins called “Fenismänner”- who knew the secret to bake delicious cakes.

Once upon a time, there was a poor maid who was in love with a young boy from one of the richest families. During the time of the Twelfth Night (which is around New Year) she met the goblins who invited her to their mountains. There she learned how to make Streuselkuchen. For the next Fasching (carnival) she baked a fabulous cake, so much so that her reputation started to spread around the country. The rich farmer and his wife were more now more than happy to wed their son to the maid. From then on the German streuselkuchen recipe spread across Silesia.

(source, Irene Krauss 1999 – Chronik bildschöner Backwerke)

How to make Streuselkuchen

This is an easy recipe, however, you need to factor in the time it takes for the cake to rise to ensure an extra fluffy cake.

Ingredients:

INSTRUCTIONS

To prepare the yeast dough

two pictures.  1. yeast being activated.  2. yeast dough is rising.
  1. Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature. Stir in the sugar and yeast and leave to rest for 10 minutes. The yeast should activate and you will be able to see bubbles appearing on the surface. If the bubbles do not appear, the milk might have been too hot and damaged the yeast.
  2. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.
  3. In a separate bowl, add together the flour and salt. Pour over the yeast mixture and add the butter and egg. With a hand or stand mixer, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you achieve a smooth, not too sticky dough.
  4. Turn off the oven. Place the dough in a bowl, and cover it with a moist tea towel. Leave to rise for about an hour in the warmed up oven. After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.

To make the streusel

  1. Melt the butter on low heat on the stove. Remove off the heat. Now add in the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar. First stir the mixture with a spatular, until combined. Then you can crumble the mixture with your fingers. Place in the fridge and set aside for later.

Assembling the cake

  1. Remove the dough from the oven and preheat your oven to 180 degrees top to bottom heat.
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll our dough on some baking parchment (this will make it easier to transfer it to the tray later on).
  3. Transfer the dough and baking parchment to the tray (approx 28cm -32 cm / 11″ x 12″)
  4. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the dough. The cake needs to rest for another 30 minutes.
  5. Bake the cake for appoximatley 25 to 30 minutes. The streusel should turn golden in colour.
two pictures.  1. Cream sauce is bing mixed up.  2. Cream sauce is being poured over the cake.
  1. In the meantime place the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Gently warm up the mixture until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat. The mixture should not boil.
  2. Remove the cake from the oven and while the cake is still warm, evenly pour over the cream sauce.
  3. I recommend enjoying this warm cake. You can sprinkle the cake with icing/confectioners sugar before serving.

Recipe Variations

There are many ways to make this cake. The main challenge is for the cake not to end up becoming too dry. This is why there you will find different layers between the base and the streusel. Here are some ideas.

  • make the cake with fruit– see my Apfel Streusel cake recipe as an idea. But you can use other fruit such as plums, pears and cherries instead.
  • Add a layer of German Vanilla Pudding. – this is also a popular variation. Instead of the cream sauce, you place a layer of cooled vanilla pudding between the base and the streusel layer. This will add a delicious jucy layer.
  • Add streusel on top of your cheesecake. Here you German streusel recipe from this cake and add it on top of your German cheesecake for the best of both worlds.
  • Make the streuselkuchen without yeast. Instead you can use a simple sponge base. I used a similar base in may Apfelstreuselkuchen.
  • Vary the streusel flavoring. You could for example also add some cinnamon to your streusel.
German Streuselkuchen on a plate.  In the background a tray with more pieces.

How to serve Streuselkuchen

In Germany, this yeasted coffee cake is served in the afternoon for “Kaffee and Kuchen”. Which is the traditional afternoon tea in Germany. Sprinkle the cake with some icing/ confectioners sugar just before serving. If you want you can also serve it with a dollop of freshly whipped up cream.

Storage Instructions

The German Crump Cake will stay good, stored in an airtight container, for up to three days. The cake tastes best lukewarm. You can warm it up in the microwave or oven.

You can freeze this cake and keep it in an airtight container for up to three months.

More Cake Recipes:

Recipe

A piece of German streusel cake on a plate.

Moist Streuselkuchen (German Crumb Cake)

Marita

One of the classics of German baking. Streuslkuchen is a lovely coffee cake that is easy to prepare.This cake is especially moist and crumbly due to its creamy sauce.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 50 mins

Resting Time 1 hr

Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine German

Servings 24 pieces

Calories 283 kcal

Ingredients

  • 500 g flour 17.5 oz Germany type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 1 sachet instant yeast 7 g/ 2 teaspoon
  • 200 ml milk 6.7 fl oz
  • 100 g sugar 3.5 oz
  • 80 g butter 2.8 oz, at room temperature
  • 1 egg medium size and at room temperature
  • ½ test salt

For the streusel topping

  • 250 g flour 8.8 oz Germany type 405, UK plain flour, USA pastry flour
  • 150 g butter 5.2 oz, at room temperature
  • 120 g sugar 4.2 oz
  • 2 test vanilla sugar can be substituted with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cream sauce

  • 200 ml whipping cream
  • 75 g butter 2.6 oz at room temperature
  • 2 test vanilla sugar or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Instructions

To prepare the yeast dough

  • Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature. Stir in the sugar and yeast and leave to rest for 10 minutes. The yeast should activate and you will be able to see bubbles appearing on the surface. If the bubbles do not appear, the milk might have been too hot and damaged the yeast.

  • Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.

  • In a separate bowl, add the flour and salt. Pour over the yeast mixture and add the butter and egg. With a hand or stand mixer, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you achieve a smooth, not too sticky dough.

  • Turn off the oven. Place the dough in a bowl, and cover it with a moist tea towel. Leave to rise for about an hour in the warmed-up oven. After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.

To make the streusel

  • Melt the butter on low heat on the stove. Remove off the heat. Now add in the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar. First stir the mixture with a spatular, until combined. Then you can crumble the mixture with your fingers. Place in the fridge and set aside for later.

Assembling the cake

  • Remove the dough from the oven and preheat your dough to 180°C/356°F top to bottom heat.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll our dough on some baking parchment (this will make it easier to transfer it to the tray later on).

  • Transfer the dough and baking parchment to the tray (approx. 28cm -32 cm / 11″ x 12″)

  • Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the dough. The cake needs to rest for another 30 minutes.

  • Bake the cake for appoximately 25 to 30 minutes. The streusel should turn golden in colour.

  • Remove from the oven and while the cake is still warm, evenly pour over the cream sauce.

  • This cake is best enjoyed warm. You can sprinkle the cake with icing/confectioners sugar before serving.

Notes

Storage Instructions

This cake will stay good, stored in an airtight container, for up to three days. The cake tastes best lukewarm. You can warm it up in the microwave or oven.
You can freeze this cake and keep it in an airtight container for up to three months.

Baking with Yeast: Steps for Sucess

Baking with yeast is not rocket science. Here are my best tips to ensure that your yeast dough rises every time.

  • Use lukewarm milk. The microorganism in the yeast will activate through heat and sugar. The ideal temperature of the milk should be around 30-35°C/86-95 °F. If the temperature rises above 45°C/113°F, the cells will die and your dough will not rise.
  • Make sure your yeast is in-date. Using out of date yeast is a common reason for the dough not rising.
  • 35°C/95°F is the perfect temperature for the dough to rise. The temperature should not get hotter than 40 °C. If your kitchen is cooler, then preheat the oven to the lowest setting. Turn the oven off and place the dough in the oven. Cover it with a moist tea towel so it does not dry out. (If your lowest setting is hotter than 40 like mine 50, leave the door open for a couple of minutes before placing the dough in)
  • Knead the dough thoroughly – To ensure that the bread becomes light and fluffy you need to knead it for a long time. A well-kneaded dough hardly sticks. After the dough rises it is important to knead it again, as during the rising process gas bubbles form. This will ensure that your bread bakes evenly.

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonnounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 450IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15thmgIron: 2mg

Keyword German crumb cake, German streusel cake, Streuselkuchen

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