This German Cherry Coffee Cake recipe is based on the classic German dessert - Kirschstreusel. It is a moist, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake with fresh or frozen cherries.
Imagine the comforting flavors of buttery crumb topping mingling with tart cherries and a tender cake base, all baked to perfection. A simple batter with delicious cherries and an easy crumb topping.
The result is a moist and crumbly dessert that is a treat to feed a crowd. If you like German recipes, you'll want to bookmark this.
Coffee, Cake, and Germany
Germans love 'Coffee and Cake.' It's our version of the English High Tea.
Typically, during the afternoon, many Germans will grab a slice of cake, pie, or pastry and enjoy it with a cup of coffee. We call this tradition "Kaffee und Kuchenzeit," which means time for coffee and cake.
When you visit Germany, you'll find an abundance of local and chain bakeries. It seems there is a bakery on every street corner. Once you enter such a bakery, you'll be greeted by a vast array of loaves of bread, cakes, pies, rolls, and other baked delicacies.
Why We Love This Kirschstreusel Recipe
EASY GERMAN DESSERT - If you've been here, you know that I was born in Germany and love German and American food. Some German recipes can be time-consuming. This one is not!
EASY AND KID FRIENDLY - Making the recipe is child's play. You can even get your kids involved. They can be in charge of dropping the cherries into the batter. Or finish the cake by drizzling the crumb topping over the batter.
FREEZER FRIENDLY - This cake freezes beautifully.
QUICK - Prep takes just about 15 minutes. Unless you are like me and are trying to place the cherries in some form of pattern. 😉 Then, you'll need to add a few extra minutes.
You can find the complete list of ingredients and quantities in the printable recipe card below.
CHERRIES - You can use fresh cherries.
But I usually grab a jar of pitted Morello cherries at Trader Joe's.
2022 Update: Welp. Trader Joe's no longer sells Morello cherries. I loved theirs because they were close to what you would find in Germany. So, nowadays, I recommend using defrosted frozen cherries.
EGGS - Whenever possible, I look for humanely produced, organic eggs.
SUGAR - We'll use granulated sugar for the cake batter and the streusel topping.
FLOUR - All-purpose flour works for this recipe. But you can use self-rising flour for the batter. In that case, omit the baking powder and salt. However, you can't use self-rising flours for the crumb topping.
BAKING POWDER AND SALT - Those are needed because we are using all-purpose flour for the cake batter. You don't need those if you use self-rising flour for the batter.
BUTTER - Use unsalted, room-temperature butter. If the butter is too hard, it will take much longer to make the crumble. And unlike other crumb toppings for this streusel crumb topping, we use softened, not melted butter.
SELF-RISING FLOUR - When I originally posted the recipe, I used self-rising flour for the recipe. The thing is that self-rising flour is not well known in Germany. It's convenient, but I returned to a more traditional version of this recipe.
That said, if you want to use self-rising flour for the batter. As stated before leave out the baking powder and salt.
NUTS - If you like, add a third to half a cup of your favorite nuts and sprinkle them on top of the crumb topping. It would be delicious but not really a traditional German Kirschstreusel.
CINNAMON - This would be a delightful addition to the crumb mixture. Add about a teaspoon spoon and mix it into the crumbs.
There are many other things you might add. I'm sharing a basic version of this recipe, but please go ahead and make it your own. And if you like, please share your ideas and experiences in the comment box below.
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How To Make A Cherry Coffee Cake (German: Kirschstreusel)
This recipe doesn't just taste amazing, but it's also incredibly easy to make.
Making this Cake is as easy as saying 1-2-3.
- BATTER - Beat eggs and sugar until creamy; add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
- CRUMB TOPPING - Combine sugar, softened butter, and flour in a medium bowl and mix until crumbly.
- BAKE - Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Add cherries and crumb topping. Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake until at 350º Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes.
Say it like A German: Kirschstreusel.
Making German Cherry Crumb Cake is easy. But how on earth do you pronounce 'Kirschstreusel'?
Like so many German nouns, "Kirschstreusel" is a combination of two nouns 'Kirsch' (cherry) and 'Streusel' (crumbs).
I'm not a German teacher, but this is how I break it down: 'kersh-stroy-sell'.
Tips and Tricks
SALT - Let's talk about salt for a minute. My grandmother taught me to add a pinch of salt to everything. Although I did not include it in the recipe, I added about a quarter to half a teaspoon of salt to the crumb topping.
Some people must be mindful of salt, so I did not include it in the recipe instructions. As always, a little goes a long way.
BAKING TIMES - I have adjusted the baking time upwards. After getting a new oven, I noticed that it took longer to bake than before, and some helpful readers pointed this out.
I baked 5 batches of this German Cherry Coffee Cake when I updated this recipe. One of the things food bloggers don't always share is how much we experiment when we are creating or updating recipes.
My recommendation is to bake the cake for 30 minutes. Perform the first doneness check. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake.
- If it comes out clean, you know your cake is done.
- If it's still sticky, adjust the baking time in 5-minute increments.
35 minutes has been the sweet spot for my oven. But I know that some readers have increased the time to 40 minutes.
Tools You'll Need
LARGE MIXING BOWL- A mixing bowl with a rubber bottom will prevent slipping. One of the best investments I made before I switched to using a stand mixer for most of my baking.
9x13 CAKE PAN - The cake pan I use is 9x13. You can also use a 10x10 square cake pan and probably (although I have never tried this) a 9x9 square cake pan. The only difference is that the cake might be higher, and you'll have to watch the baking times. And probably add extra time.
PARCHMENT PAPER - Make sure the parchment paper covers the cake pan's bottom and side. An easy tip to keep the parchment paper in place is to give your cake pan a tiny spritz of cooking spray.
HAND MIXER - Use the batter attachment when you make the batter. Use the dough attachment when you for the crumb topping.
-> TIP: I typically make the streusel topping using my hands. 😉
You can enjoy the Cherry Crumb Cake by itself or with a blob of (homemade) whipped cream. If you want to take it further, serve it with vanilla ice cream. DELISH!
STORE - Place the leftover pieces into an airtight container. The cake will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
FREEZE - Cut the cake into 12-16 slices, depending on how you cut the cake. Cover the slices in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped slices into an airtight freezer-friendly container or a freezer-safe bag.
REHEAT - The best way to defrost the cherry coffee cake is to remove it from the freezer about 3-4 hours before you plan to eat. This will allow the cake to defrost gently.
BONUS TIP - Select your range's warming function before serving the cake or set the temperature to 200º Fahrenheit.
Warm the cake slices on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nothing beats a slice of warm streusel cake. Okay, some things do, but not many. 😉
More German Dessert Recipes
GERMAN BUTTERKUCHEN - A rich and moist classic German yeast cake.
MULLED WINE CAKE - Glühweinkuchen is a German dessert that combines chocolate and mulled wine into a decadent dessert.
EASY BEE STING CAKE - If you're looking for a really easy version of a German Bee Sting Cake, this recipe is a must-try.
CINNAMON TWISTS - An easy recipe based on German Zimtstangen.
Cherry Coffee Cake ~ German Kirschstreusel
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Cover 9x13 cake sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
- Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer until well combined. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Continue to beat until the batter is smooth.
- Transfer the batter onto the baking sheet and drop the cherries into the batter. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl and combine sugar, butter, and flour. Use a mixer and/or your hands to mix the ingredients until the dough is crumbly. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter.
- Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.