I am both bold and proud to say that this is the only Streuselkuchen (crumb cake) recipe you need because it is easy, quick, and delicious.
Whether with a nice cup of coffee or any time, this German crumb cake is always a big hit!
Summer is the perfect time to make fruit cakes. While I sometimes like to make something more elaborate, I just love to have an easy recipe in my back pocket: enter the German streusel cake.
What exactly is a German crumb cake?
You can find this kind of cake that is called Streuselkuchen in German, in pretty much all the bakeries there. You see, “Streusel” is the German word for “crumb”.
Most German crumb cake recipes will be for a yeast dough bottom, a streusel topping, and some fruit in the middle of the cake.
How is this recipe different from most German crumb cake recipes?
As I said above, most recipes will call for a yeast dough. That means you need to make it and let the dough rise in a warm spot.
This recipe on the other hand uses a simple batter for the bottom and the crumb topping. You can even make it all in one large bowl! It couldn’t be simpler than that!
Also, this recipe is that it is very versatile. For this recipe, I am using blueberries but you could make it with almost any fruit. Stone fruit is particularly well-suited for this recipe. Below, I am sharing some simple adaptions to this recipe depending on what kind of fruit you are using.
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Basic ingredients for this German crumb cake:
This Streuselkuchen is made with ingredients that I am sure you already have at home.
- Flour: Regular all purpose flour is great. Read below for some other flours you can use.
- Sugar: Most of the time, I use organic cane sugar. If you don’t mind a darker color of the cake and the crumb topping, you could also use coconut sugar.
- Vanilla: I like to make my own vanilla sugar and vanilla extract. You can use either one in this recipe.
- Salt: Even though this Streuselkuchen recipe isn’t very sweet, salt highlights the sweetness and makes the cake tastes less flat – if you know what I mean.
- Butter: Of course, we’ll need butter. Unfortunately, I don’t often have enough of my own butter so I use store-bought. I always recommend you use the highest quality ingredients you can afford. Therefore, I absolutely love using the Kerry Gold brand. However, any unsalted butter will work, even though I prefer European-style butter. The latter has a higher fat content and lower moisture. But just use what you have! Cold butter is best for this German crumb cake recipe.
- Hazelnuts: These or filberts are the ‘secret’ ingredient in this recipe. Both add a nutty and deeper flavor to this German crumb cake as well as extra crunchiness. If you don’t have a way to grind the hazelnuts or you can’t find them, you can substitute them with almond meal. Or leave them out entirely, if you’re avoiding nuts.
Helpful tools and equipment:
While you don’t even really need any special equipment, I prefer making this recipe in my Kitchen Aid food processor. I use it to grind the nuts first and then add the remaining ingredients. However, you can use another appliance to grind the nuts – or buy hazelnut or almond meal.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor. If you’re using nut meal, you can also use your stand mixer. A pastry cutter or even a fork would work, too!
How to make the German crumb cake:
First, I grind about one cup (about 100g) of hazelnuts in the food processor. I like it when there are still some chunkier nut pieces but you can also grind them into a finer flour. You might have to scrape the sides of the bowl if you want a finer grind.
Next, I add 2 cups (about 300 g) of flour, ½ (about 150g) cup of sugar, 1 good teaspoon of vanilla sugar or extract, and ¼ tsp of salt. I’ll pulse this flour mixture a few times to mix it up.
Then I take the 8 oz (about 230g) of butter out of the refrigerator, cut it into chunks, and add them to the dry ingredients in the food processor. Either pulsing or turning it on continuously, I mix everything up.
At this point, you should have a dough that is not completely uniform. In other words, you should see small pieces. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little bit of very cold water until it just comes together.
Now, line your springform pan with parchment paper. If you’re not using that, grease your dish with some avocado oil or butter.
Transfer about one-half of this dough into your prepared pan and gently press it evenly in. Put about 1 pound of fruit on top. Crumble the remaining crumb mixture on top of the fruit.
Bake for 40-55 minutes at 350˚F (180˚C) or until the crumbs are golden brown.
Substitutions and variations:
There are a lot of ways you can adapt and change this great crumb cake recipe:
- Fruit: you can use a lot of different fruits for this crumb cake. Prunes (the Italian plums), apple slices, raspberries, cherries, or whatever fruit you have.
- Flour: I most often use spelt flour, as is Einkorn. But you can use any flour you have. If you like a deeper, nuttier flavor, you can even use a whole grain flour of wheat, spelt, or Einkorn. Bonus if you mill your own grains.
- Spices: depending on the type of fruit you’re using, you could add cinnamon or lemon zest.
- Sugar: White sugar gives you lighter crumbs but using brown sugar makes them darker. I don’t recommend honey, maple syrup, or agave for this recipe.
- Yeast dough: If you would like to make a classic German plum crumble cake, you can head over to this recipe for the dough and then just cut the crumble dough in half.
How to eat this delicious cake:
Germans love to have their “Kaffee und Kuchen”. This simply means “coffee and cake” in the afternoon.
No matter what time of day, this delicious cake on its own, with a good dollop of whipped cream, or some vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!