Last Updated:  1 March 2007


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What is a German-Russian coffee-cake (kuchen)?


Judy A. Remmick-Hubert

From what I understand,  my FREY ancestors were bakers in Aidlingen, Wu. [Wuerttenburg, a German state in those times, now, part of Germany] and they made sugar cakes which comprised of  sweet yeast risen bread topped with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled over a mixture of sugar, flour and butter crumbs ("ribbles", "Rivvel"or "krummels" ) which was lightly placed on a custard of  sour cream or heavy cream  and eggs which was pour lon a white rich sweet yeast bread.  From what I understand,  this early "coffee cake", which in German is a kuchen, was served on special occasions.  

See my family history: Christina, nee   Frey, Butz , who was born about about 1716 was the daughter. of Georg Frey, a baker  who was born in the late 1600s in the village of Aidlingen, Wu., Germany..  The widow Christina, nee Frey, Butz remarried in Nagold on the 25th of Jan 1771 to Johannes Schwenk, a baker of Nagold, Wu. [Germany].

My husband Garry  Hubert walking along the main street of Nagold, WU,  Germany in 1991.

Through the years our family and other families have created their own toppings which was layered between the bread and the topping.  My favorite fruit is banana which I've made many many times.  I doubt that bananas were used in Germany or Russia in the "old days" since the fruit was from a far away place and probably considered exotic and not found in some small German village.   Germany did have it's apples and other fruits which were used.

I suspect that the kuchen is a dessert which evolved from ancient honey cakes and  through time changed to a coffee cake (kaffee kuchen).

Why is it called "coffee cake"?  There isn't any coffee in them.   Well, that is almost true.  There are recipes which do have coffee in the them, however, I assume these cakes were often served during coffee breaks in the mid-morning and mid-afernoon work breaks, so,  they picked up the name coffee cakes. Similar to their counterpart "tea cakes" being served during the English work breaks but were more expensive and were sweet frosted tiny tea cakes meant for "fancy" ladies and not common working people.

The following is a link to a story written by my mother Lillian, nee Hein, Remmick who gives the family recipe of  "kuchen" which she has made, her mother has made as have many ancestors before us.

TWTD sym

Those Were The Days by Lillian Hein Remmick: :

Lillian, nee, Hein, Remmick's Recipe for Coffee Cake

History of the Kuchen


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote: >>Kuchen, the German word for "cake," is used as the name for several different types of sweet desserts, pastries, and gateaux. The term itself may cover as many distinct desserts as its English counterpart "cake."

Kuchen desserts are presumably handed down from those of German heritage and as such are often popular in many areas of German settlement in the United States, particularly North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, and Minnesota. In Brazil, it is called "cuca" and it is found in areas of German settlement, like Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states.

Known forms of Kuchen

  1. One kuchen is similar to a pie, with a thicker, cake-like crust and a sweet custard-based filling.
  2. * Some kuchens can also be made by simply baking custard filling.
  3. * Another kuchen is a pastry in which a filling is rolled into a long spiral of dough, baked, and then sliced to serve. It is sometimes referred to as a nut roll.
  4. * The term "kuchen" is used in Southern Indiana to describe a coffee cake with veins and pockets of cinnamon and sugar baked throughout.<<
Different names I've known kuchen to be called:
  • Deutschkuchen (German Coffee Cake)
  • Gastkuchen (see Kratzkuchen)
  • Hochzeit Kuchen (Wedding Coffee Cake)
  • Kasekuchen (Small Curd Cottage Cheese or Cream Cheese Coffee Cake)
  • Kratzkuchen (See "Kuechla")
  • Krummels or Ribbels Kuhen [Coffee Cake with just sugar, butter and flour crumbs for topping)
  • Obstkuchen (Fruit Coffee Cake)
  • Saurrahmkuchen (Sour Cream Coffee Cake)
  • Streuselkuchen (A sour cream or heavy cream topping mixed with sugar on the Coffee Cake)
  • Zwiebelkuchen (Bread with toppings of herbs or vegetables such as chives or onions mixed with sour cream)
  • Zuckerkuchen (Sugar coffee cake)