The Best German Cheesecake Recipe | Käsekuchen

You will love this authentic German cheesecake. With a light and fresh taste, it is also super easy to make! 

Have you ever had German cheesecake, also called Käsekuchen?

If you like a good American cheesecake, I am sure you will love its German cousin. This recipe is actually an old family recipe that I am so excited to share with you today. Mostly because I know that this is always the first cake to disappear when we have been serving it.

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How is German cheesecake different from American cheesecake?

If you haven’t had German-style cheesecake, I am sure you have been wondering about that.

While American cheesecake is traditionally made with cream cheese, German cheesecake is made with quark. Quark is a fresh, soft cheese, similar to ricotta or cottage cheese.

Quark can be hard to find in this country which is why I make my own. It is very easy to make and I highly recommend you check out my step-by-step recipe!

Other than that the ingredients are very similar to ingredients in American cheesecake.

This authentic German cheesecake recipe makes a crustless cheesecake – the way we have always made it – but you can always add your favorite crust!

slice of German cheesecake on plate with fork

The ingredients:

  • Quark: Quark is the essential ingredient in German cheesecake. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can very easily make your own. Read down below for any substitutions. 
  • Eggs: The recipe calls for 4-6 eggs. I would use 6 if they’re small and 4 if they are really big. But I think you could use 6 big eggs without any problems, especially since we will beat the egg whites stiff.
  • Oil: You will need oil for this recipe. I prefer using avocado oil since it has a very neutral taste and is non-inflammatory. However, you can use any oil you have in your kitchen. I do not recommend strong-tasting oils such as olive oil, though!
  • Sugar: I am using regular organic cane sugar for this recipe. 
  • Lemon: In this recipe, I use both the juice and the lemon peel. I highly recommend using organic lemons – or lemons from your backyard if you happen to grow them.
  • Vanilla sugar: The original recipe calls for vanilla sugar. If you don’t have it, check out my tutorial on how to make your own. Another very easy recipe! You can substitute vanilla extract for vanilla sugar. If you do, use only 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract versus the 3 tsp of vanilla sugar.
  • Corn starch: Corn starch helps the cheesecake stay together. 
  • Baking powder: Very simple and straightforward baking powder to give it an even fluffier texture.
ingredients for German cheesecake: sugar, quark, oil, corn starch, eggs, vanilla sugar, baking powder, lemon

Useful tools and equipment

These tools will help you make this recipe successfully: 

  • Large mixing bowl: Since you will make this whole cheesecake in one bowl, I recommend using the largest mixing bowl you have. 
  • Electric mixer: For best results, I prefer using a handheld mixer for this recipe. However, you could use a large food processor as well.
  • Spring form pan: Using a spring form pan gives this cake its classic shape.
  • Parchment paper: While you can grease the springform pan, using parchment paper makes transferring the cake to a pretty cakestand and clean-up so much easier.
  • Silicone spatula: I love getting every bit of cheesecake batter out of my bowl.
tools for making German cheesecake: mixing bowl, springform pan, electric handmixer, tall bowl, citrus press, parchment paper

Substitutions and variations

This basic Käsekuchen recipe is perfect as is or with different ingredients and additions:

  • Quark: If you cannot find it or make your own quark, you might try thick Greek yogurt. I recommend letting it drain through a cheesecloth overnight to get even closer to the consistency of quark. I have also thought about using cottage cheese. The biggest challenge with that is that most if not all cottage cheeses contain a lot of salt. Some people like to combine 9 parts of ricotta cheese with 1 part of sour cream. If you’re doing that, I still recommend putting the ricotta in your food processor to give it a smooth consistency.
  • Separating the eggs: If you don’t have an electric mixer, you might like to skip beating the egg whites. I have made it both ways and no matter what, the taste is always delicious. 
  • Vanilla pudding powder: This is actually part of the authentic German recipe. You can find vanilla pudding powder online or possibly at a local grocery store with an international section.
  • Sour cherries: Many Germans love adding cherries to their cheesecake. If you can find them, simply place them in the spring form pan before adding the quark mixture. 
  • Mandarin orange slices: Oftentimes you will find Käsekuchen in Germany with mandarin slices in it. You can either use fresh ones (without the skin) or use canned ones. 
  • Crust: If you would like to add a crust you can easily make a shortcrust pastry or use a graham cracker crust. 

How to serve

While you might love to have this German cheesecake still warm, I highly recommend you wait at least one day. Then the flavors will really come together. We simply dust it with some powdered sugar. 

Either way, you can simply serve this German cheesecake as is or add some fresh berries on top. You can enjoy a slice or two of this for breakfast or have it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee – just like Germans do it. It also makes the perfect after-dinner dessert. 

German cheesecake with strawberries

Make ahead of time?

After a lot of testing, I think that this cheesecake tastes best the next day. 

You can easily keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend covering it with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. 

If you’d like to keep it for longer, you can also freeze your cheesecake. It is best to cut your cheesecake into individual slices and place them in an airtight container. You can easily keep it in the freezer for 4 months before it starts losing some of its flavor. 

Other recipes you might like

How to make German Quark

Classic German Plum Cake

The Best German Strawberry Cake | Erdbeerkuchen

German Streuselkuchen

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Measuring cups and spoons: https://amzn.to/324K9aD

Handheld mixer: https://amzn.to/3c5J4ET

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German vanilla pudding powder: https://amzn.to/3MBO84q

Common Questions:

I can’t find quark. What else can I use in this recipe?

You can either use small curd cottage cheese (just know that most store brands have a lot of salt in it), mix ricotta with sour cream, or use strained Greek yoghurt.

Do I have to use a springform pan?

Technically you don’t. You can use another baking dish but the first slice might not come out quite as pretty.

How do I prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking?

I personally don’t mind it and it won’t affect the taste. However, often sudden temperature changes can cause cracking. You could turn off the oven when the cheesecake is done and leave it in there to let it cool down more slowly.

How to make German cheesecake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F
  2. Let all the ingredients come to room temperature.
  3. Separate the eggs. Add the egg yolks to your large mixing bowl and the egg white to a smaller bowl.
  4. Using a handheld mixer (or your KitchenAid) beat the egg whites very stiff.
  5. To the large mixing bowl add oil, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, vanilla sugar, corn starch, baking powder, and quark.
  6. Mix the ingredients in the large bowl until well incorporated.
  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the cheesecake batter.
  8. Line a 10″ springform pan with parchment paper. Using a brush, oil the sides of the springform pan.
  9. Pour the entire cheesecake batter into the oiled and lined springform pan. You can shake it gently so it flattens out.
  10. Bake the cheesecake for 90 mins until gold-brown and until an inserted knife comes out clean.
  11. Let cool. While you can enjoy this cheesecake immediately, I highly recommend letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight
bowl with cheesecake batter on whipped egg whites on top

Let me know if you have any questions or comments

slice of German cheesecake on plate with fork
Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

German Cheesecake

This is a classic German cheesecake with a light and fresh taste.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 360kcal

Ingredients

  • 4-6 whole eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 whole lemon (juice and zest) choose organic if you can
  • 3 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups quark

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  • Gather all you ingredients.
  • Separate the eggs, keeping the eggs whites separate and adding the egg yolks to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the oil, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, vanilla sugar, corn starch, baking powder, and quark to the same bowl.
  • Using a handheld mixer (or your KitchenAid) beat the egg whites very stiff.
  • Mix the ingredients in the large bowl until well incorporated.
  • Gently fold the eggs whites into the cheesecake batter.
  • Line a 10" springform pan with parchment paper. Using a brush, oil the sides of the springform pan.
  • Pour the entire cheesecake batter into the oiled and lined springform pan. You can shake it gently so it flattens out.
  • Bake the cheesecake for 90 mins until gold-brown and until an inserted knife comes out clean.
  • Let cool. While you can enjoy this cheesecake immediately, I highly recommend letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight for a better flavor and consistency.

Notes

  • if you can’t find quark you can make your own: https://www.ourgabledhome.com/how-to-make-german-quark/
  • the original German recipe calls for vanilla pudding mix which you can often find online or in the international section at your grocery store (if you use, omit cornstarch)

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @ourgabledhome or tag #ourgabledhome!

Let me know how you like this cheesecake. You can also post all your questions and comments below!

Pin For Later:

How To Make an Authentic German Cheesecake

15 Comments

  1. How different is German vanilla sugar powder from a box of instant or cook type vanilla pudding mix ?

    1. The main difference is that most pre-mixed stuff contains synthetic vanilla aka “Vanillin” ~ Anja

  2. Hmm, I always love German cheesecake. I live near the border with Germany so have had it many times but never made it myself. Thank you for this excellent recipe!

  3. I make homemade buttermilk cheese that calls for gently heating heating the buttermilk on top of the stove until the curd begins to solidify and separate from the whey. Would that cheese be suitable for for using in the cheesecake recipe?
    I also make a type of American Neufchatel, which is just homade buttermilk left at room temperature to fully ripen until it coagulates into a solid mass, and then drained for several hours.
    Would either of those cheeses be suitable for for using in the cheesecake recipe?

  4. Pingback: How to Make German Pretzels - Our Gabled Home
  5. Cheesecake is my favorite too! This recipe looks so fluffy and decadent – it’s making me wish I had some right now! Can’t wait to give this a try.

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