Monday, June 18, 2018

When Pie and Cake Meet

We keep buying cherries to make the most of their short season. I was determined to bake a Cherry Kuchen (cake) from a German recipe. One like my mom used to bake. I couldn't find the right thing, but this Cherry Kuchen kept popping up all over. And let's face it—it's pretty. So I gave it a shot.

I swapped grams for cups, always a bit of a guessing game. Seriously, 1.9 cups? And instead of making the dough by hand or with a mixer, I used my food processor which makes it all go just a little bit quicker. Plus, once the bottom was done, I could use the same food processing bowl and blade for the streusel without washing anything. Very convenient.

There are three steps. The dough for the bottom and sides, the streusel for the top, and the cherries for the middle. I will say that while it's not difficult, this probably isn't the best cake for beginner bakers. Even with the food processor speeding it up considerably, it's a bit of work.

I used fresh cherries. However, you can bake this cake with canned cherries in liquid. You have to add 2 cups of fluid to the cherries in the form of cherry juice or water. I didn't have cherry juice so I used water, but I can well imagine that cherry juice would give it even more flavor and a brighter color. If you use canned cherries, the water from the can/jar is fine. Just add enough water to make 2 cups.

Why is this where pie and cake meet? Because it's sort of like a pie and sort of like a cake!

Cherry Kuchen

Dough for the Bottom and Sides

2 cups flour less 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 egg white (reserve yolk for streusel)
1/3 cup very cold butter cut into small cubes


1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups water or cherry juice (cold or room temperature)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 1/3 cups pitted cherries

In the bowl of your food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the egg and the egg white and pulse 2-3 times. Add the butter and pulse until the dough begins to clump together in small pea size. (Do NOT pulse until it's one clump of dough.) Remove from food processor and scoop out. Knead with the heels of your hands to combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

In the same food processing bowl, combine all the ingredients and pulse about 10-12 times until streusel texture. Set aside.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a heavy bottomed pot. Whisk in the water or cherry juice. When combined, bring to a boil while stirring and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat down, continue stirring while it cooks for one minute. Add the cherries, bring to a boil again, and cook for one minute. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. If you don't have 375, then use 350 but it may have to bake longer.

Grease a springform pan with butter. Roll out the dough slightly larger than the bottom and lay it in the pan. Divide the remaining dough into 4 parts. Roll them into thin strips and stand them up around the inside of the pan as the outer wall of the cake. Trim the tops (you'll note that I didn't!). Place the springform pan on a baking sheet.

Pour the hot cherry mixture into the pan.

Sprinkle the streusel over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the streusel is golden.

When cool, refrigerate to set. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Use very cold butter cut into little cubes.

Don't over-process the dough!
Pour the hot cherries into the pan.

Top with streusel.

Bake until golden.

Don't forget to trim the sides!

It cuts quite well.


  1. That looks lovely. And using the food processor would make things a lot simpler. Think it would work with other fruits?

    1. I don't know why it wouldn't work with other fruits. That sounds like a great idea!

  2. This Cherry Kuchen looks so delicious and so perfect for summer! I have the same question as Sheila - do you think it would work with other fruits?

    1. Celia, I think it should work with other fruits. I don't know why it wouldn't!

  3. Hi, I know this cake with a yeast dough and and the streusel without egg yolk.
    And of course you can use other fruits. I love this cake with apples or with apricots or with plums or with rhubarb. Blueberries should work, too. Or you can make a pudding cream instead of fruit or even without a filling only the streusel on the dough. And you can bake it even as a traybake.
    By the way: In the region in Germany where I'm from, they serve it at the reception after a funeral.

    1. Which section of Germany is that? I had no idea. I've had something similar with yeast dough, too. I love it, but it's more work!

  4. Cherry pie is my absolute favorite, and I love streusel (who doesn't?). This looks so lovely and tasty! Thanks for sharing, Krista!

    1. Mine, too, Amanda! I hope we'll find enough cherries for one more recipe!

  5. The layers and color are quite impressive looking.
    Nice work.

  6. Pie & cake combined? Yes, please.