German Butter Cake

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h 45m
  • Rating ****

Serves 12


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

FOR THE CAKE: In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the warm water, and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until bubbles appear. In another bowl combine the remaining scant 1/2 cup sugar, salt and butter. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, scrape out the seeds, discard the vanilla bean, and stir the milk into the butter mixture. Let the mixture stand until it is lukewarm. Stir in the yeast mixture and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, a little at a time. Beat the dough for 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30-45 minutes to allow the mixture to rise, almost doubling in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

FOR THE TOPPING: Cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla. Drop teaspoonfuls of the topping onto the dough.

Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.

Cut into wedges and serve with butter.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 1096

nutrition information per serving

494 calories; 25g total fat; 106mg cholesterol; 226mg sodium; 61g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 8g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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