Red currant cake loaded with fresh red currants and topped with coconut streusel, a typical German coffee cake.
Red currant cakes or any red currant recipe are always a delight, I just love their tartness. Not to mention that anything containing them looks pretty, they are like shiny, perfect jewels.
And I do love German baking. The Germans are world champions when it comes to baking bread and they have, at least for me, the best cakes you could possibly imagine. And so many cakes! Cream cakes, fruit cakes, berry cakes, cheesecakes, pies, and so on.
And some of the most popular cakes, especially in summer or autumn, when fruit and berries are plentiful, are the streusel cakes. I have made so many different streusel cakes over the years, I cannot even remember them all, but what I do know is that each one of them was delicious.
Streusel cakes are the kind of cakes you tend to bring to a potluck in summer. They contain no whipped cream or other milk products that can spoil in the heat, they are super easy and quick to make (even when made with yeast dough) and most of the times they are baked on a large baking tray meaning that you can make a rather large cake to serve many people.
Table of contents
What to do with red currants?
I ask myself at least every second summer. When it comes to berries, you either get too many one summer or not enough the following year.
And when you get the currants or any other berries, you can make jams and jellies, you can preserve them, you can make sauces or you can freeze them.
How to make red currant cake?
- They need some time to release some of their juices.
- Before you start with the pastry, place them in a bowl, sprinkle with a little sugar and let stand until ready to use.
- Drain the berries but keep their juices. You will need it when making the berry topping for the streusel cake.
- When the berries have released their juices and the cake is half-baked, make the topping.
- You will need a total amount of 160 ml/ 5.4 fl.oz/ ⅔ cup liquid, which comes together when you mix the released berry juice with some cassis (optional) or only water.
- The liquid has to be thickened on the stove with corn starch before you add the berries.
- Pour this mixture onto the baked pastry.
- Place all the required ingredients into the food processor and pulse shortly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Turn the mixture onto the working surface and knead very shortly to get a smooth ball of dough.
- Wrap this ball in cling film/plastic foil and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Getting the dough onto the baking sheet couldn't be easier. Place some lumps of pastry on the working surface and roll them roughly in batches.
- Place them in the tray and press them together with your fingers in an even layer to cover the tray. Lightly flour your fingers, if necessary.
- Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
- The coconut streusel is what makes this red currant recipe special. I have made lots of streusel cakes over the years, but I don't remember ever using coconut. And it works so well, absolutely delicious, you should definitely give it a try.
- To make the streusel, place all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse shortly until the streusel form.
- Top the red currant cake with the streusel and bake.
How to serve and store?
- Leave the cake cool on the baking tray, cut it into squares, and enjoy it as it is or with some whipped cream on top.
- It keeps well for several days when packed in an airtight container.
- You can also freeze the slices. Place them in airtight containers with sheets of parchment paper in between to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- When you want to defrost the slices, place them in a single layer on a plate or cutting board and defrost at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will not take long.
More berry cakes
Red Currant Cake – German Recipe
- Red currants:
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs red currants
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 60 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup cassis optional (See note)
- released juices and water to have 160 ml/ 5.4 fl.oz/ ⅔ cup liquid
- 40 g/ 1.4 oz/ ⅓ cup corn starch
- Shortcrust pastry:
- 375 g/ 13.2 oz/ 3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter very cold
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs to sprinkle on the baking tray
- 80 g/ 2.8 oz/ 1 cup dessicated coconut unsweetened
- 180 g/ 6.3 oz/ 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 130 g/ 4.6 oz/ ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter very cold
- Place the red currants into a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, mix carefully and let stand until ready to use. They will release some juices during this time.
- Place the flour and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add them to the food processor together with the egg. Process shortly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Turn the dough onto the working surface and knead very briefly to form a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large baking tray of about 30x40 cm/ 12x15 inches. Sprinkle it evenly with the dried breadcrumbs. Place some lumps of pastry on the working surface and roll them roughly in batches. Place them in the tray and press them together with your fingers in an even layer to cover the tray. Lightly flour your fingers, if necessary.
- Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Bake the pastry for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Place the desiccated coconut, flour, and sugar in the food processor. Pulse shortly to combine. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add to the food processor. Process to obtain streusel.
Red currants again:
- Drain the currants well and catch their released juices. Pour the juice into a measuring jug. Add the cassis (if using) and water to have a total amount of 160 ml/ 5.4 fl.oz/ ⅔ cup liquid in the measuring jug.
- Pour the liquid into a saucepan, reserving about 4 tablespoons of it to mix with the corn starch. Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil.
- In the meantime, place the corn starch in a small bowl and add the reserved 4 tablespoons liquid. Whisk well to obtain a smooth and pourable paste. When the liquid comes to a boil, slowly add the corn starch mixture while whisking continuously. Add the red currants and stir carefully. Let it bubble once or twice and remove from the heat.
Assemble the cake:
- When the shortcrust pastry is golden, take it out of the oven and spread the red currant mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel and continue baking at the same temperature for about 30 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and the red currant mixture underneath is bubbling.
- Let the cake cool on the tray, cut into squares and serve. You can serve the cake as it is or with a dollop of whipped cream on top.