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Streuselkuchen, or crumb cake, is a dessert which consists of a light, moist, yeast cake crowned with a sweet, buttery crumb topping. It is typically associated with German cuisine, although variations of the cake are eaten in many parts of the world. Making streuselkuchen involves preparing the cake batter and the crumb topping separately, and then combining them prior to baking. Some bakers enhance the flavor of this cake through the addition of ingredients like fresh fruit, nuts, or spices. Those concerned about nutrition should note that the butter and sugar contained in streuselkuchen make it fairly high in calories or kilojoules and fat.
While it is believed that streuselkuchen originated in Silesia, a former Prussian province which sat primarily within modern-day Poland, it is most often associated with German cuisine. As of the early 21st century, the cake continues to be enjoyed in Germany as a dessert or an accompaniment to coffee. It is also a familiar treat in other world regions that claim large populations of people of German descent, such as the Midwestern states of the US and parts of South America.
To prepare streuselkuchen, a dough is made by mixing yeast with warm milk and then blending this mixture with dry ingredients, butter and, in some cases, eggs. The dough is kneaded or vigorously stirred and then allowed to rise for 30 minutes to one hour. In the meantime, a crumb topping is prepared by blending butter with sugar and flour. Once the dough has completed its first rise, it is placed in a cake pan or on a baking sheet, topped with the crumb topping, and allowed to rise for another 30 minutes. The cake is then baked until it is golden brown.
Purists hold that true streuselkuchen should be prepared using only traditional ingredients. Some bakers, however, experiment with the cake’s flavor by adding ingredients like nuts, spices, and fresh fruit. For instance, some enhance the taste of the cake by adding ginger to the dough, while others alter the flavor of the topping through the addition of pecans or cinnamon. A cook may also cut the cake in half horizontally, spread the bottom half with a filling like sweet cream or fruit preserves, and then replace the top half.
Those concerned about nutrition should note that streuselkuchen contains fairly large amounts of both sugar and butter. Thus, it tends to be somewhat high in calories and saturated fat. For this reason, streuselkuchen may be better enjoyed as an occasional treat rather than a daily staple.