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What Are the Different Types of German Desserts?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 16, 2024
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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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Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Nov 26, 2014

The coolest German dessert has to be spaghetti ice cream. The first time I saw it, I really thought it was spaghetti. But it's just ice cream put through an instrument that makes the ice cream look like spaghetti. And then it's topped with strawberry topping and white chocolate. Kids love it too, it's great for their imagination.

I also like German chocolate desserts. Of all possible dessert ingredients, chocolate or cocoa is probably most commonly used in German cuisine.

By bluedolphin — On Nov 25, 2014

I like German kreppels. They're basically doughnuts but possibly the best I've ever had. In Germany, they make these especially for Mardi Gras and they come with different jam fillings but there are plain ones as well.

I made them for the first time yesterday and they turned out quite good. I think the trick is in the yeast and butter. They are left to rise a little bit before being fried in oil. Then they are filled with jam and coated with sugar.

I just have to keep myself from making these frequently because they are addictive and high in calories. I'll try to make them a few times a year at most. I doubt mine will ever be as good as the ones I've had in Germany. But I'm sure they'll get better and better, practice makes perfect.

Does anyone else here like kreppels?

By fify — On Nov 24, 2014

Marzipan is amazing. I had it recently at a German confectionery. Germans and other Europeans often use marzipan in other desserts. I know it is used in cakes sometimes for example. But I think it's best as is because it's so rich and sweet on its own. It's full of protein. I feel so energized after a piece. And it goes great with a nice cup of coffee after a meal.

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