Monday, November 15, 2010

Philadelphia German Butter Cake

You'd think that since I live in the Philadelphia area I would have been more familiar with this cake, one even named after the nearby city. However, I have to say that I wasn't.
I don't really even remember how I came to notice this cake but once I started reading about it, I was intrigued. So much was written about it, but one thing seems to be certain. It's only found here in the Philadelphia area.
Now there is a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and these two recipes sound very similar. From what I could tell, the St. Louis cake uses light corn syrup and is dusted with confectioners' sugar before serving.
So I set about to make this yesterday, thinking it would be an easy task. Just proof the yeast, mix the ingredients, and let it rise. Right? Well, the first batch of yeast I mixed didn't proof. Then I remembered that I needed to add a teaspoon of sugar to "get things going", so I mixed up second batch to proof and finally it bubbled and looked alive!
Mixing the ingredients was easy but I have to tell you that it took forever for the dough to rise. I'm talking 4 hours forever! Maybe my kitchen was especially cold yesterday? I don't know but by the time it was ready to bake, it was night time, which accounts for the lousy photos..sorry.
Oh and one other thing. I should have baked the cake in a pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Instead I chose a pan with low sides and the filling spilled over, big time, and made a smoky mess in my oven. You see those two places on top of the cake that look lighter in color? That's because I had to scoop out some filling to stop it from continuing to overflow.

But after it finished baking and I let it cool, I have to say, it's an amazing cake! And it was worth all the time it took.
The cake is really more of a breakfast cake. The yeasty base has a taste similar to breakfast danish and the topping has a rich, buttery, pudding like consistency with a creme brulee kind of crackle crust top.

Begin by mixing the sugar with the shortening and salt.
Add the egg and beat one minute.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and a teaspoon of sugar and allow to proof.
Add the flour, then yeast mixture and vanilla to dough batter.
Attach a dough hook to your standing mixer...

And mix for 3 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 1 minute.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel and set in a warm place til doubled in size ( this may take up to 3 hours!).

Finally doubled and ready!

Pat the dough into a 13 by 9 inch buttered pan with sides, at least 2" high. Crimp the edges halfway up the sides.
Prick all over with a fork to prevent bubbling.
Make the filling by first creaming the butter.

Then mix the flour and sugar and gradually add to the butter.
Add the eggs and mix.
Add teaspoons of milk, just enough to bring mixture to consistencyfor easy spreading.

Spread the filling over the dough and let it rest 20 minutes.
Then bake about 30 minutes. Don't overbake. The topping should be crusty but gooey.
Philadelphia German Butter Cake
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 envelope dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups extra fine sugar ( I took mine for a spin in the food processor)
2/3 cup AP flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk with a teaspoon of sugar and let it proof.
2. Mix sugar with shortening and salt in a mixer bowl, til incorporated.
3. Add egg and beat one minute.
4. Add flour, then milk/yeast mixture and vanilla to dough batter.
5. Mix 3 minutes with dough hook.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a minute.
7. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl , cover with a towel and set in a warm place to double in size. (Be patient! It may take a while.)
8. Once dough has doubled, pat into a buttered 13 by 9" pan with at least 2" high sides, crimping edges halfway up sides to hold topping in.
9. Prick dough with a fork all over the bottom to prevent bubbling.
10. Spread topping over the dough and let it stand 20 minutes and preheat oven to 375.
11. Bake cake for 30 minutes, or til topping is crusty and nicely browned. Don't overbake.


1. Cream butter.
2. Mix flour and sugar together and gradually mix into butter.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
4. Add about half the milk slowly and mix. Add more milk, one teaspoonful at a time to bring mixture consistency for easy spreading. ( I used most of the milk). Don't make it too runny.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone is thinking about making the German Butter Cake, the crust for this recipe is not like those from bakeries in NE Phila. that I remember, the topping had the same consistency but was not as sweet. If anyone can come up with the recipe for the crust I'd give it another try. Thanks for the recipe, it was close anyway.



Related Posts with Thumbnails