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Lemon Buttermilk Torte – German Recipe

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Lemon Buttermilk Torte – German Recipe

This lemon buttermilk torte is one of the most refreshing, best-tasting cakes you can imagine. No kidding!

Amazing lemon buttermilk torte, a typical German torte recipe. You can make it with lemons or limes and you will love it either way.

Lemon Buttermilk Torte

I think you might have noticed that I love to bake. All kinds of stuff, from bread and muffins to festive cakes or fondant decorated cakes.

I might go so far as to say that I like baking even more than I like eating baked goods, which I do like, don’t get me wrong, but the actual process of baking gives me even more pleasure than eating the results in the end.

Baking has something almost therapeutic for me, the only requirement I have is to be left alone and do it undisturbed and in silence (or with the radio on, depending on the mood).

I love placing all the ingredients neatly on the working surface, weighing them from the beginning and placing them in separate little bowls, stirring the batter or kneading the dough, forming the cakes if necessary, I love the smell that fills the house and most of all I like the decorating part.

And when it comes to eating what I bake, this kind of cake might be my favorite. Definitely not very figure friendly (although you can cut quite decisively on calories by using low-fat milk products and less whipping cream) but so yummy, really fresh tasting and light, with more filling than batter, definitely my kind of cake.

Lemon Buttermilk Torte

Lemon Buttermilk Torte

Lemon Buttermilk Torte

Yield: 14
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 4 eggs (medium Germany, large US)
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 130 g/ 2/3 cup/ 4.6 oz sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 75 g/ scant 2/3 cup/ 2.6 oz all-purpose flour
  • 50 g/ 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon/ 1.7 oz corn starch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons German baking powder (Dr Oetker) OR 1 ½ teaspoons of the cream of tartar-baking soda mixture
  • 8 leaves gelatine
  • 300 ml/ 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 150 g/ ¾ cup/ 5.3 oz sugar
  • 120 ml/ ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons, depending on size)
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 600 ml/ 2 ½ cups whipping cream (30 % fat), unsweetened
  • 200 ml/ 3/4 cup whipping cream to decorate
  • 4 teaspoons whipping cream stabilizer, optional
  • chopped pistachios to decorate, optional
  • 1 organic lemon to decorate, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line only the bottom of a springform (about 26 cm/ 10.2 inch diameter) with baking paper.
  2. Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add half of the sugar and the vanilla sugar and whisk again until stiff and glossy.
  3. In another bowl beat the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until pale and creamy. Carefully incorporate the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Mix together the flour, starch and baking powder and sift over the egg mixture. Fold in carefully.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared form and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, let stand for about 5 minutes, remove from the baking form and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. To make the filling soak the gelatine leaves for about 10 minutes (or according to the packet's instructions) in cold water.
  6. In the meantime stir together the buttermilk, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  7. Dissolve the gelatine according to the packet's instructions. I squeeze it very gently and place it into a pan large enough to hold the buttermilk mixture as well. I heat the gelatine on the lowest heat while stirring all the time with a spoon. It will only take about 20-30 seconds for the gelatine to dissolve, do not let it boil. Immediately start giving the buttermilk mixture to the gelatine, one spoonful after another, mixing continuously and only giving the next spoon to the mixture when the previous has been completely incorporated. Work quickly and after incorporating about half of the mixture you can start adding a bit more than one spoonful at the time to the mixture. Place this in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes or until it starts to set.
  8. Beat the first 2 ½ cups whipping cream until stiff and carefully fold into the buttermilk mixture.
  9. Cut the base of the cake into two slices. Place one slice on a cake platter and place the clean ring of the springform (or a special ring for this kind of purpose) around the cake slice. Pour ½ of the buttermilk-whipping cream mixture on top, level with a spoon and cover with the second cake slice. Pour the rest of the buttermilk mixture on top, level nicely and place the cake in the fridge until set, ideally overnight.
  10. When the cake is set, carefully go around between the cake and the ring of the springform with a knife. Remove the ring carefully.
  11. Whisk the rest of the whipping cream slowly adding the stabilizer, if using any. Place a few tablespoons of the cream into a piping bag with a nice nozzle of choice. Spread the rest of the whipping cream on top and around the edge of the cake. Decorate the cake with the whipping cream from the piping bag, pistachios and lemon slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lemon Buttermilk Torte
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Cakes to Mumbai

Wednesday 17th of August 2016

This cake is really a work of art. So beautiful! I love the whipping cream


Thursday 11th of February 2016

This cake is absolutely beautiful!! Lemon flavored cakes are hands down my favorite. I will have to give this one a try!

Chris Scheuer

Friday 29th of January 2016

This is beautiful and sounds amazing. Lemon always seems to be a hit and when you combine it with buttermilk it's a double winner!

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop

Wednesday 27th of January 2016

I think we have the same baking spirit! I love baking much as you describe! I never knew there were different kinds of baking powder! It so great to learn new things. This cake looks lovely! Happy baking!!!


Wednesday 27th of January 2016

The baking powder issue was new for me as well. I am glad I found out, I had some fails when baking American recipes and never knew why. Now I know. :)

Lisa | Chocolate Meets Strawberry

Tuesday 26th of January 2016

I'm exactly the same, Adina - I find baking so therapeutic and definitely enjoy the process as much as the products that result! This cake is so beautifully decorated, and it sounds delicious! :D


Wednesday 27th of January 2016

Thanks, Lisa. :)