Käsekuchen – the German cheesecake: light, creamy and topped with pearled meringue.
I think I might have mentioned it before but, anyway, I will say it again. I think Germany makes not only the best bread there is on this planet, but also, when it comes to cake baking, the German bakers are just hard to top. Who hasn’t heard of the famous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Gateau) the Zwetschgenkuchen (Plum Cake), Streuselkuchen (Streusel Cake), the Marmorkuchen (Marble Cake) and so on.
The German cheesecake makes it also to the top of the list, everybody in Germany loves it, everybody knows it, everybody makes it (or buys it). You can have it in any bakery or café, it comes with different types of toppings from plain to fruit or, in this case, with a meringue topping, which gives this cake the name of Tränchenkuchen (Tears cake). I usually make the cheesecake with canned mandarins on top, that’s the way my son likes it best, but after seeing this version once, I knew I had to make it myself, it just looks so pretty with those sugar tears on top… 🙂 And Bruno loved it anyway, even without the mandarins.
I find it difficult to decide which kind of cheesecake I like best, the German or the American kind. They are quite different in taste and texture, but both are absolutely delicious. The main difference between them would be the use of quark for the German one in comparison to the American cream cheese version. Also, typically, the German cheesecake has a short pastry case, while the American base is normally made with cookie crumbs. I enjoy the short pastry taste better, but I love the convenience of the cookie base and I like the fact that quark has less fat than cream cheese, but absolutely love the creaminess of a cream cheese cheesecake. So…. you can see, it is a tough decision… one that I cannot make.
That is why I keep making both kind of cheesecakes, depending on the occasion and on the people who are supposed to eat the cake. 🙂 My son usually wants his mandarin German version, my husband prefers a plain German one as well, most of my friends prefer a fruit topped cream cheese one. The conclusion is that I make lots of cheesecakes, German, American, Romanian or a mixture of them all. So stay tuned, there are several delicious ones still coming during the next two weeks.
I always use the metric system for weighing the ingredients: it is precise, clean and quick, buying a scale is really worth it!!! Mine cost less than 10 Euro and I have it for at least 8 years. I also listed the cup measurements because I know that many people only use that, however I cannot guarantee the best results if you insist on measuring in cups… I know from experience that a cup of flour is not always a cup of flour, if you know what I mean. And measuring butter in a cup is close to madness. Not to mention the mess caused by cup measuring… 🙁
- For the short pastry:
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ½ cup granulated sugar
- 70 g/ 2.5 oz/ ¼ cup butter
- 1 egg (medium Germany, large US)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- For the cheesecake:
- 500 g/ 17.6 oz/ 2 ½ cups low-fat quark
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- 1 packet Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding powder (see note)
- 1 egg (medium Germany, large US)
- 2 egg yolks – keep the egg whites for the meringue (medium Germany, large US)
- 250 ml/ 8.45 fl.oz/ 1 cup heavy cream
- 250 ml/ 8.45 fl.oz/ 1 cup milk
- 150 ml/ 5 fl.oz/ scant ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- For the meringue:
- 2 egg whites
- 6 tablespoons icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a springform (26 cm/ 10 inch diameter) with baking paper and butter the ring.
- Place all the pastry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you obtain crumbs. Turn the crumbs on the working surface and knead very quickly to form a ball of dough. Roll the pastry on the lightly floured surface and place it in the prepared springform taking care to cover the margins of the form as well.
- Place the quark in a large bowl and whisk it shortly until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and pour the mixture into the pastry-lined springform. The mixture is pretty liquid, don't worry about it.
- Bake the cake for about 70 minutes. After about 60 minutes start preparing the meringue.
- Place the egg whites and the icing sugar in a very clean bowl and start beating them using very clean whisks. After the 70 minutes are up, take the cake out of the oven and top it with the meringue. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes (only 10 minutes or you will not have the tears anymore).
- Let the cake cool down a little bit, then go around the edges with a knife to release the cake from the ring. Leave to cool completely on the bottom of the springform. The tears will form while the cake is cooling down.
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