Delicious cake in under 40 minutes using 4 ingredients only? Yes, please! This incredibly quick and easy Streuselkuchen is a classic German crumb cake made with cherries, butter, sugar, and flour only. Also known as Kirschstreuselkuchen in German, this yeast-free cake is the perfect choice for a spontaneous afternoon tea or a comforting dessert. No cherries on hand? No problem. This classic German coffee cake works with a wide variety of seasonal fruits, making it a versatile treat all year round.
Streuselkuchen in Germany
Cakes topped with streusel are some of the most popular tea cakes in Germany which is typically enjoyed for afternoon tea (aka Kaffeezeit, “coffee time”) around 4pm. While cherries, plums, apricots, apples, and rhubarb are the go-to fruit flavors, you can find Streuselkuchen in many different variations including berries, stonefruit, and even nuts. Mohnstreuselkuchen which is a rich poppyseed cake topped with streusel is another popular choice.
- Butter – Lightly salted softened butter works best for this recipe but you can also use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt to the dough instead.
- Sugar – Granulated white sugar is needed for this cake as it provides sweetness and a crunchy texture.
- Flour – All-purpose wheat flour or white spelt flour both work well for this recipe.
- Cherries – Fresh, frozen, or jarred pitted sour cherries (aka Morello cherries) in syrup all work well for this German streusel cake. Just make sure you drain any excess juice or syrup thoroughly before adding them to the crumble base.
How to make German crumb cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Combine softened butter, sugar, and flour until they’re just coming together. Don’t overmix the crumbs. The consistency should be crumbly but hold together when squeezed between the fingers.
- Add 1/2 of the crumbs into a greased 8 inch round cake tin in an even layer. Press them down firmly with the palm of your hand.
- Thoroughly drain the sour cherries and add them to the base in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumbs onto the cherries and lightly press them down for them to stick to the base.
- Bake the German tea cake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
- Soften the butter: Soften the butter lightly but don’t melt it. This way the streusel come together easily and hold their shape when baking.
- Adjust if needed: It’s best to measure the ingredients with a scale as the ratio of wet and dry ingredients is crucial to perfect crumbs. Add an extra teaspoon of softened butter to the mix if the crumbs are too dry and don’t hold together at all.
- Make them stick: Generously sprinkle the crumb topping over the cherries. Press it down lightly to ensure it sticks to the cake as it bakes.
Crumble bars: Bake this simple cake in a square tin (8×8 inches) and cut it into bars or squares.
Jam: Add a jam layer underneath the fruit for a more intense fruit flavor and sweeter crumb cake.
Seasonal fruit: Cherries are a classic Streuselkuchen filling in Germany but so are plums and apples. Other popular fruit cake variations are red currents, mandarins, apricots, rhubarb, and peaches.
Flavorings: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or Christmas spice mix to the crumble mix to create a festive version of this popular streusel cake.
Go nuts: Substitute a small portion of the flour with ground almonds or hazelnuts for an even crunchier texture and nutty flavor. You can also substitute some butter with nut butter such as almond butter.
To store German crumb cake, cool it completely, place it in an airtight container, and refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Coffee cake has a thin crumb topping while crumb cake has a thick streusel topping.
Streuselkuchen (German Crumb Cake)
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 24 oz dark Morello cherries in syrup Jar, pitted
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a mixing bowl, combine softened 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups all-purpose flour with a large spoon until they form crumbles. Be careful not to overmix; the texture should be crumbly yet sticking together when pressed between your fingers.1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Take an 8-inch round cake tin, greased, and spread half of the crumb mixture evenly across the bottom. Use the palm of your hand to press the crumbs firmly into a solid base.
- Ensure the pitted 24 oz dark Morello cherries in syrup are well-drained, then arrange them evenly over the crumb base.24 oz dark Morello cherries in syrup
- Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the cherries and gently press it down for them to stick to the cake once baked.
- Bake the Streuselkuchen for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let it cool slightly and serve!