Sourdough Kuchen Recipe: A German Cake

Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by TheFarmChicken

Prune Kuchen on a plate

On the farm I feel like there are two kinds of foods that I make – the everyday healthy, give you energy, home cookin’ and then the fancy farm foods for special occasions. Kuchen (pronounced “koo-kin”) is one of those foods! Chances are that you haven’t ever had Kuchen and that gives me yet another good reason to share this recipe with you! Kuchen is very good…so good! Probably one of my favorites. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Go ahead, make it, and find out for yourself why it’s so good. Let’s make a sourdough version of kuchen! I haven’t ever seen Kuchen made with a sourdough crust so here is a first as far as I know…Sourdough Kuchen Recipe: A German Cake! I am so excited to share this with you guys! (If you don’t have a starter, you can learn how to make one with Agnes!)

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So where did Kuchen originate and how do I know about it? Kuchen is a German Coffee cake. It has a yeasted crust with custard and fruit in it. Sometimes a streusel on top…in the case of this recipe that would be a “yes” to the streusel. I grew up around Kuchen but mostly remember it from a church friend that would bring it often when she would come and visit our church. So delicious. Fast forward to when I started dating my husband (boyfriend at that point) his family had their very own tradition with Kuchen. Labor Day is a big holiday in his family and one of their aunts brings Kuchen when she comes to visit for Labor Day. Kuchen and summer sausage, its what’s for breakfast on Labor Day weekend. Such a special treat!

A piece of prune kuchen on a plate

Kuchen History

Like I said earlier Kuchen is from Germany. Kuchen, is a German word, in German it translates roughly to cake. Fun Fact: It is South Dakota’s state dessert! It seems like there are a lot of different ideas of how to make Kuchen. I grew up eating it with a thick custard and thinner crust. Before I decided to branch out and make my own recipe, I followed a recipe that seemed to have such a thick crust and thin amount of filling. Though it seems maybe this is more traditional in the way Kuchen is made I feel like it isn’t as good this way. So, when I put together this recipe, I made sure the filling is plenteous and the dough just the right amount to get 5 Kuchen.

Making Kuchen

You can make so many kinds of Sourdough Kuchen too. Peach, apricot, cottage cheese, prune, blueberry, sugar, strawberry rhubarb, etc, etc…

The key is to make Kuchen so the crust is thinner, and the custard is thick! This can be a little harder than it sounds because you are working with a yeasted crust. It wants to grow and be thick. The best way to avoid this that I have found is to roll it with a rolling pin so that you can get it thinner. Fill with fruit and custard, then you top it with a cinnamon sugar streusel, and it is ready for the oven!

The Sourdough Crust – A Yeast Dough

Slightly sweet and tender this yeasted dough crust might not be the “best part” of the Kuchen but it wouldn’t be Kuchen without it. Truly the perfect vehicle for the custard, fruit and streusel. It has been fun creating new Sourdough recipes and this one is no exception. You will love working with this Sourdough Kuchen dough. It is soft and easy to roll out. I used to just press the crust into the pie plate but now I have found that it is much easier and more consistent to roll the crust with a rolling pin. Make sure to add a little flour to prevent sticking. You don’t want a lot of flour though so go easy on it. Using a rolling pin also helps to get the ratio of crust to custard just right too!

What type of flour do I use?

My favorite type of flour to use for bread goods is Dakota Maid bread flour.

The Filling/Fruit

Depending on the fruit or kind of Kuchen you make you will need to prepare the fruit before you lay it inside the crust (before the filling goes in). Here is what I do for different kinds of Kuchen:

Fruit Kuchen:
  • Peach: Drain the peaches and slice them thin. Lay them on a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess moisture. Less moisture is a good thing.
  • Blueberry: I use fresh blueberries for this. Wash the berries and then cut them in half before placing them on the crust.
  • Prune: Dried plums are prunes. I cut them in fourths and lay them in the bottom.
Other Kinds of Kuchen:
  • Sugar: Just the streusel. Nothing else.
  • Cottage Cheese: Usually you can find dry curd cottage cheese at the grocery store in bigger towns. You can always ask at your local grocery store as well.

As I try more kinds of Kuchen I plan to update this as a helpful resource.

The Streusel

Close up of Kuchen Streusel

It took a couple times to get the streusel just right. I think the key is a good flour to butter ratio. You want it to hold its shape when baked and not become a “puddle” on top of your Kuchen. This streusel is easy to make and adds just the right finishing touch to your Kuchen. Don’t rush the combining of the butter with the flour mixture. You don’t want big clumps of butter! I mention it in the recipe too but make sure to be generous with the streusel on your Kuchen. There is plenty for all 5 Kuchen!

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Pin for pinterest with plates of kuchen

Sourdough Kuchen

A fancy farm food, kuchen is a delicious dessert or breakfast item. Perfect for serving to company or holidays!
Print Recipe
3 Pieces of Sourdough Kuchen on plates

Ingredients

The Sourdough Kuchen Crust

  • 250 g active sourdough starter
  • ½ cup distilled water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 687 g bread flour
  • 50 g canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 g kosher salt

Kuchen Filling

  • 6 cup cream
  • 9 eggs beaten
  • cups sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • fruit or flavor of choice, canned peach, dried prune, fresh blueberries

Struesel

  • ½ cup cold butter (one stick)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

For the Crust

  • In a large bowl of an electric mixer, with the dough hook, add the water, sourdough starter, milk, sugar, oil, and bread flour. Mix for 1 minute on low speed until just coming together and shaggy. Let stand covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes. (Autolyse)
  • After the 30 minutes, add the salt and eggs and knead on lowest setting on the stand mixer for 10 minutes, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Or once the eggs and salt are incorporated transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Turn to coat both sides. Rest covered with a tea towel on the counter for 1 hour.
  • After the hour cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
    Kuchen Dough in bowl

The Filling (Custard and Fruit)

  • The next day, in a large saucepan combine well, the cream, beaten eggs, sugar and salt.
    Kuchen filling in pan
  • Over low to medium heat stir constantly until mixture begin to thicken. You will be able to tell as the mixture warms up that it will thicken. Once it has starting thickening stir for 2 minutes then remove from the heat. Set aside.
    Thickened Kuchen Filling
  • At this point you should prepare your fruit for layering in the bottom of the kuchen crust. *See notes*

Streusel

  • Add all ingredients into a medium bowl and cut in the butter until it resembles soft coarse crumbs. Set aside.
    Kuchen Streusel before it is baked

Assembling the Kuchen

  • Now it's time to put everything together! First, preheat your oven to 350℉.
  • Take the dough and divide it into 5 even balls. Take one ball, place it on a lightly floured surface and flatten slightly with your hand. Then take a rolling pin and roll till it is the size of a 9 in pie plate. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking but try not to use a lot.
  • Next, transfer the dough to the pie plate and press in to where it just comes up the sides of the plate. Add in your fruit/ingredient of choice and pour the custard over the top.
  • Generously (emphasis on the generously) sprinkle with streusel and repeat until you have made all 5 kuchen.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown.
  • Cool on the counter than store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

Preparing the kind/fruit:
  • Peach: Drain the peaches and slice them thin. Lay them on a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess moisture. Less moisture is a good things.
  • Blueberry: I use fresh blueberries for this. Wash the berries and then cut them in half before placing them on the crust.
  • Prune: Dried plums are prunes. I cut them in fourths and lay them in the bottom.
  • Sugar: Just the streusel and custard. Nothing else.
Freeze: Kuchen freezes great. Usually I will put it on a plate, and put it in a zip top bag. Thaw in fridge overnight before serving.
Servings: 5 Kuchen

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Let me know below how you liked this Sourdough Kuchen Recipe: A German Cake and ask any questions you might have! Thank you!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
Northern Lights
We got to see the best northern lights this past week that I have ever seen. Northern lights are a little tricky to photograph so this is the best I got. Something to work on but isn’t God’s creation awesome! My husband and I went out after putting the kids down to sleep. A farm date night. haha

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6 Comments

    1. It’s such a treat. I hadn’t tried it with sourdough either but now it’s my favorite way. Yes! Let me know how you liked it.

    1. Thank you! That’s fun. I feel like it is something that some people don’t even know about! It is really so good.

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