Cake or Kuchen – A Recipe Translation
This Poppyseed Marzipan Kuchen is a creation by my daughter Ariel who lives in Berlin. A couple years ago I wrote about the different white and wild asparagus in Germany. Here Ariel shares her intrigue with the unique yogurt flavors available in Germany:
As an amateur epicurean, when I travel I love to roam the aisles of local supermarkets. I delight in discovering new foods and observing the specialties most popular among locals; dining habits can reflect so much about different cultures and lifestyles.
The stereotypes of Germany being the land of beer, sausages and pretzels does indeed ring true. Every sunny day, beer gardens are bustling with Germans soaking in the rays, enjoying a schnitzel and washing it down with a tall stein of regionally brewed beer. Besides traditional savory cuisines, I have enjoyed the amazing array of yogurt flavors in German supermarkets such as stracciatella, kiwi-gooseberry, rosebud, and hazelnut chocolate. In particular, the poppyseed marzipan yogurt tantalized my taste buds and inspired this yogurt-based cake I modeled after Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake from the Smitten Kitchen blog. Now I bake it for Café Valentin in Berlin.
Baking in Germany using foreign ingredients and the metric system has been a challenge. On a recent visit home, reversing the conversion back to American ingredients and measures doubled my challenge. Rather than attempting to pack yogurt in my suitcase, I used whole milk vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe’s, poppyseeds and baking marzipan. I estimated my flour measurement because in Germany I use a 500ml yogurt container to replicate cups. Then I experimented with Calumet baking powder measurements in place of German backpulver. It took a few tries between Mom and me to repeat the cake you see above (lesson learned from Rosie, write everything down!) but we love this not-too-sweet cake dotted with yummy chunks of marzipan. Hope you’ll try baking it or come see me and sample it at Café Valentin in Berlin.
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Poppyseed Marzipan Kuchen
(Mohn Marzipan Kuchen)
You just need a bowl and whisk to stir this cake together in minutes. Odense brand marzipan is available in the baking section of most supermarkets. The cake is not very sweet except for the marzipan bits, so don’t skimp on the glaze.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 40-60 minutes
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake
1 cup / 250 grams whole milk vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup / 60 grams canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup / 115 grams granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs
2 cups / 220 grams all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons poppyseeds
3 1/2 oz. / 100 grams baking marzipan, cut in 1/3-inch cubes (half package Odense brand marzipan)
1/2 cup / 60 grams powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. (150°C gas oven). Lightly butter an 8 or 9-inch springform pan.
Whisk together yogurt, oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl. In a separate bowl stir flour, baking powder and poppyseeds. Stir half the flour into the yogurt mixture stirring just to blend. Mix marzipan with the remaining flour and stir into batter. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes for 9-inch pan, 50-60 for 8-inch pan, until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cover lightly with foil last 10-15 minutes if needed to prevent over-browning. Let cool 10 minutes then remove outer pan ring. Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a medium glaze. Brush on top and sides of cake. Cool completely before slicing.