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German desserts are widely varied, ranging from baked goods to steamed puddings. Most German desserts can be classified as some kind of cake or cookie, while another handful can be placed in the truffle category. Many of these dishes include almond paste, chocolate, hazelnuts, and candied fruits. Decadent frostings, such as those with a cream cheese or butter base, are also extremely popular. One category of German desserts is actually made almost entirely of alcohol-infused recipes.
The wide range of German cake recipes available could probably fill an entire recipe book all on their own. Some of the most popular cakes include butterkuchen, bienenstitch, and Black Forest cake. Butterkuchen is German for 'butter cake' and typically lives up to the name. The cake batter in this dessert is dense and usually vanilla-flavored. The frosting is usually little more than a thick layer of rich milk butter mixed with chopped almonds and powdered sugar. It is popular at potluck gatherings because it is relatively simple to make.
Bienenstitch means 'bee sting' in German. This name refers to the honey flavors present in the cake batter and glaze. A very sweet cake, it is usually assembled in layers with a very rich vanilla pudding or custard in between. The cake batter usually contains honey, as does the sweet syrup usually drizzled over the top after it has finished baking. It is also sometimes topped with chopped almonds and glazed cherries, as well.
Black Forest cake is one of the most popular and decadent German desserts. The cake itself is chocolate and usually enveloped in vanilla cream and sprinklings of milk or dark chocolate. When cut, it reveals a heady, rich center full of alcohol-soaked cherries. The cherries are usually marinated in schnapps, but some cooks also use cherry brandy or even vodka.
Marzipan is another very popular dessert in Germany. In fact, some confectioners consider it an art form. In this form, the almond paste is shaped into small animals, people, and fruits and then air-brushed with food-safe dyes. Confectioners often sell shapes appropriate to the season, such as rabbits for Easter and pine trees at Christmas.
Pistachio and hazelnut truffles, rum balls, cream puffs, and dense puddings made of grits make up yet another category of German desserts. Truffles may be stuffed with nuts or alcohol-soaked fruit, while rum balls are usually made with chocolate and a hefty dose of dark rum. Grits puddings are usually topped with a fruited glaze. Cooks sometimes add grits to macerated fruit to make a quick and delicious end to a meal.
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