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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Butterkuchen (Butter Cake)

Ich koche eine Butterkuchen in meiner Küche.

Yes, that's German. It means: I am cooking a butter cake in my kitchen. A few months ago Michael and I started using a little online app for learning German. That's his heritage (Koch means Cook) and he also loves singing German lieder. So, it was natural for him to learn. I decided to join in so we could share learning the language.

For Christmas I got him Rosetta Stone German and we've been having fun really working our way through. Since we've been doing so much German lately, I figured I would try some German sweets. So far, I've done two. The first is the Butter Cake which is traditionally served with morning coffee or afternoon tea. It's sweet, but not too sweet and uses yeast for its lift. When I do this again, I will probably depart from tradition and utilize a large springform pan to give it something to cling to when rising. The traditional method, given here, uses a simple jelly roll pan which doesn't provide anything for the dough to grab onto when rising.

Regardless, this is a delicious sweet!


  • 4 1/2 cups Unbleached Flour, divided
  • 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, divided and softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. Spray a jelly roll pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, add 7 Tbs. butter and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until combined. Add egg, milk, yeast, salt and 4 cups flour. Switch to dough hook and beat on low speed until dough comes together and forms smooth ball. Add a bit more flour if necessary.
  3. Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes covered, then form into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°.
  5. Lightly flour a board or countertop and roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Transfer to the prepared jelly roll pan. Let dough rest for another 15 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, combine 1/2 cup sugar. When dough has rested, dimple the dough with your hands or back of a wooden spoon. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Cut 9 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and spread across the dough and cinnamon sugar. Place pan in oven and bake for 25 minutes until the topping has caramelized. If necessary turn on the broiler for last 2 minutes and watch closely to caramelize the sugar topping.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut the cake with a pizza cutter or large knife into squares.
Prep time: 75 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 100 minutes
Yield: 20 pieces
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