Recipe: Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake)

Updated 13 June 2019

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This Käsekuchen is one of F’s specialties and favorites. It’s a baked, German-style cheesecake that he introduced me to some years ago. When we first made it together back in 2013, we splurged on a food scale and a springform cake pan in order to make it, because the recipe F used has grams rather than cups.

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This is no American-style cheesecake. The only cheese in this Käsekuchen is quark, a tangy, very low-fat fresh cheese common in Germany. It tastes a bit like yogurt, but has a thicker, spreadable consistency and is technically cheese. Instant pudding — use custard if you’re in the UK — acts as a thickening agent for the filling. The combination of quark and pudding lends a pleasant tang to the final product, and it’s not too sweet.

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Another difference between Käsekuchen and American-style cheesecake is the crust: in the States, cheesecake crust is usually some kind of crushed graham cracker or cookie deal; Käsekuchen requires a proper dough that smells and tastes almost like a sugar cookie. Delicious.

have some

Nutritionally, you could do much worse than Käsekuchen. Yes, there’s sugar and butter and cream, but the quark is virtually fat-free and you can use mostly semi-skimmed milk to keep things leaner. It makes a great breakfast or afternoon snack with a cup of Kaffee!

Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake) (adapted/translated from this recipe)

Ingredients

  • Crust:
    • 330g white flour
    • 130g granulated sugar
    • 130g unsalted butter, slightly softened at room temperature
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Filling:
    • 1kg quark (if in Germany use, Magerquark, the very low fat version)
    • 300g granulated sugar
    • 2 packages instant vanilla pudding (use instant custard if you’re in the UK – I can’t tell you exactly how much because we ballparked it)
    • 100mL sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
    • 150mL single cream
    • 350mL semi-skimmed milk (use any combination of milk products adding up to 500-600mL)
    • 4 large eggs
    • Optional: zest of 1 lemon

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
  • Make the crust: Flour a flat surface. Put all the crust ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an electric hand or stand mixer until the butter forms small balls. Use your hands to finish forming the mixture into dough. Roll the dough out on a floured surface, then press it into the bottom and sides of a springform cake pan.
  • Make the filling: Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the cake pan with the crust.
  • Carefully slide the cake into the oven and bake for 75-90 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and the middle is mostly set — you may have to cover it with foil about halfway through so the top doesn’t get too dark.
  • Let cool for at least two hours and preferably in the fridge overnight. You can speed up cooling in the freezer if you can’t wait to try a piece.

Enjoy!

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