Zuckerkuchen is one of the simplest traditional German yeast cakes. You're probably already hooked if you've had a German Oma or visited a German bakery. If you don´t know this German yeast cake, picture this: little ponds of creamy butter nestled within fluffy dough, transforming into signature vents once baked. And the best part? A generous coating of sugar covering every inch of the cake. Yum!
The good news is that you don't need to be a seasoned baker to bake this lecker Kuchen. There are no complicated ingredients or preparation methods. A simple cake that does not appear to be much but tastes absolutely delicious.
If you've tried German Zuckerkuchen and loved it, get ready to fall head over heels for even more German cakes! Check out my German cake section, where you find traditional cakes like the rich and decadent Black Forest cake or this buttery and tender Butterkuchen.
Germany is home to an array of mouth-watering desserts that are sure to delight your taste buds. So, what are you waiting for? Explore the sweet side of Germany and discover your new favorite cake!
This German yeast cake is often also called "Butterkuchen" in the north of Germany.
What does Zuckerkuchen mean in English?
The German name for this cake is "Zuckerkuchen". "Zucker" is the German word for sugar and "Kuchen" is the German word for cake.
How to pronounce Zuckerkuchen in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Zuckerkuchen" in German. Der Zuckerkuchen (m/singular) and die Zuckerkuchen (f/plural).
German Yeast Cake Ingredients & Substitutions
This cake can be made with just a few pantry staples. Easy, budget-friendly, and oh-so good!
Flour - I use organic, unbleached all-purpose flour to make this classic cake.
Sugar - in Germany white sugar is used for the cake, but you could substitute part or all sugar for the cake dough and topping with light brown sugar.
Yeast - usually fresh yeast is used by German bakers, but I always use dry yeast as it is convenient.
Butter - this cake tastes best with real butter. Very old recipes call for lard, and some people like to substitute margarine. But I would not recommend this.
Milk - I use whole milk for this recipe, but you can substitute for 2% milk.
Eggs - I use large eggs in the recipe. Substitute 3 small eggs or 2 medium eggs without making any other adjustments.
Cream - the combination of sour cream and heavy whipping cream adds a lovely flavor and moistness to the cake. This topping is optional and can be left out in case you want to save calories.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Zuckerkuchen
You'll be amazed at how fast and simple it is to put this cake together. The active working time is less than 20 minutes, but you will need some patience to wait for the dough to rise.
Step 1: First, grab your stand mixer bowl and pour in the flour. Now, make a little well in the center, where we'll add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
Pour about one-third of the lukewarm milk into the well, and gently mix everything together with a bit of flour from the edges.
Once that's done, cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for about 15 minutes.
Step 2: While that's resting, whisk your eggs in the remaining milk. And then add the soft butter, the rest of the sugar, and a pinch of salt to the bowl.
Now, it's time to give your stand mixer a workout and knead everything for about 10 to 15 minutes. When your dough is soft and smooth, cover the bowl again and let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes.
Step 3: In the meantime, grease and flour your baking pan. Put the dough in the pan and roll it out evenly.
Then, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising, go ahead and cut your cold butter into small pieces. This will be used for our next step.
Step 4: Now, here's the fun part! Use your fingertips or the round handle of a wooden spoon to create little indentations in the dough. This works best if you dip the spoon into the sugar.
Fill each indentation with a small butter cube and sprinkle the sugar evenly all over the cake. Don't forget the edges!
Step 5: Cover the cake one more time and let it rise for another 60–90 minutes. I know it's a bit of waiting, but it'll be worth it, I promise!
When the cake has risen, preheat your oven to 350°F. Pop the cake in the oven on the middle rack and bake it for about 20-22 minutes until it's golden and beautiful.
Step 6: While the cake is baking, let's quickly mix together the heavy whipping cream and sour cream.
Once the cake is baked, take it out of the oven and turn off the oven. Spread that delicious cream mixture over the cake. Now, put the cake back in the turned-off oven for just 5-10 minutes.
And there you have it! A delectable homemade cake that's sure to impress your friends and family. I hope you enjoyed making this German yeast cake with me. Guten Appetit!
You can easily modify this basic recipe with some tasty variations! Try mixing cinnamon with the sugar before sprinkling it over the cake, or scatter some almond slices on top before baking. Either way, you'll get a delightful twist on this classic German recipe.
The best part about making this scrumptious cake is that you only need a handful of kitchen tools to whip it up.
- large mixing bowl or stand mixer with kneading hook
- measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale
- rectangle baking pan 17x13-inch
- small bowl
- cooking spoon
How to Serve
This German yeast cake tastes best when it's lukewarm, right out of the oven. You can also freeze it! Just let it thaw at room temperature, and when you're ready to enjoy it, heat the thawed cake briefly on a toaster or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. You'll be amazed at how it tastes almost like a freshly baked sugar cake!
How to Store
If you've got a cake carrier handy, that's a great way to store the cake. But don't worry if you don't have one – simply place an upside-down bowl over the cake instead. This German yeast cake stays fresh for a few days, but it's so delicious, chances are it won't last that long anyway!
German Yeast Cake - Zuckerkuchen Recipe
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 ½ tsp. dry yeast
- 1 cup milk lukewarm
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 6 ½ tbsp. butter soft
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 10 tbsp. butter cold
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- Place the flour in a large bowl and create a well in the center. Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the well, then pour about ⅓ of the lukewarm milk into the well, and mix the ingredients in the well with a little flour from the edges. Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
- Whisk the eggs in the remaining milk and add the softened butter, remaining sugar, vanilla sugar, and a pinch of salt to the bowl. Knead the mixture into a smooth, soft dough for about 10-15 minutes. Cover and let it rise for 60-90 minutes.
- Grease and flour a baking pan. Place the dough in the pan and roll it out evenly. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut the cold butter into small pieces.
- Using your fingertips or the round handle of a wooden spoon, press indentations into the dough, fill them with small butter cubes, and evenly distribute the sugar over the cake.
- Cover the cake again and let it rise for another 60-90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the cake on the middle rack for about 20-22 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the heavy whipping cream and sour cream together.
- Remove the cake from the oven and turn off the oven. Spread the cream mixture evenly over the cake and place the cake back in the turned-off oven for 5-10 minutes.