Authentic German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

Here’s A Fluffy German Cheesecake Made From Fresh Quark!

Want a cheesecake that is fluffy and creamy with a hint of lemon zest? Our German Cheesecake recipe is for you!

Known as Käsekuchen in German (literally cheese + cake), this German-style cheesecake – made from quark – is the perfect dessert for any occasion.

german cheesecake with slice cut and milk behind
Our German Cheesecake was so delicious!

Now, some of you may be asking: What’s quark? Quark is a dairy product similar to cottage cheese or yogurt… but it’s actually neither of those.

Quark is a staple in German baking and cooking. We have our own quark recipe because it’s almost impossible to get in North America.

Quark is only really found in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. So it’s great that it can be made at home using just two ingredients – buttermilk and normal dairy milk.

In any case, the quark in the German cheesecake makes the final product lighter and fluffier on the inside than you might be used to from an North American cheesecake.

german cheesecake on pan from above with slice cut
German cheesecake – with a slice ready to be eaten!

If you can’t find quark and don’t want to make your own, you could substitute for Greek yogurt. However, a true German-style cheesecake is made with quark!

That said, there are a few different variations of German cheesecake.

While they are all made with quark, you can have a crust-less version (no crust up the sides). This just means you adjust the ingredients for the dough to make less of it.

You could also add some mandarin oranges into the filling which is a popular addition for German cheesecake. However, unlike North American cheesecake German cheesecake is usually not topped with any additional fruit before serving.

All we did was a light dusting of powdered sugar and it was great! This allows you to actually taste the sweetness and the creaminess.

Looking for more German cake recipes? Try our marble cake, apple cake with streusel topping, classic butter cake, or a no-bake chocolate cake!

German Cheesecake vs New York Cheesecake

So, how does a quark cheesecake compare to another style of cheesecake – like a New York style? This is a popular question.

The main differences between German cheesecake and New York Cheesecake are really just the type of crust, the type of cheese/dairy used, and as a result of that, the overall texture.

New York Cheesecake is made with cream cheese which creates a much denser, richer, and smoother filling when baked.

German cheesecake is traditionally made with German quark which (as we have mentioned) is a dairy product like yogurt or soft cheese but not really either one.

Quark cheesecake ends up very light and fluffy in texture but still extremely creamy.

Another difference – depending on which cheesecake recipe you follow – is the crust. For North American cheesecake, people often use a soft graham cracker crumble for the crust.

German cheesecakes are usually a simple crust made with butter and flour. However, sometimes you can also find a buttery crust on the New York-style cheesecake. You can even find a type of sponge crust on some classic cheesecakes in New York.

How to Make German-style Cheesecake – Step-by-Step

If you’re looking to make a classic German-style cheesecake, you can check out the recipe card in the bottom of this post for all the ingredients and instructions.

In case you are more of a visual learner, you can follow along with our cheesecake process photos. This way, you can get a sense of how you’re doing and whether your creation looks like ours!

metallic bowl of white dry ingredients on counter
Start with the dry ingredients.

First, we’ll make the dough. For this, add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder to a medium-sized bowl.

Give everything a stir with a spoon.

butter and eggs in metallic mixing bowl on counter
Add the butter, egg, and vanilla extract.

Cut up the cold butter into small cubes and add them to the bowl. Also, add the egg and the vanilla extract.

ball of cheesecake crust dough in metallic mixing bowl
Mix, mix, mix!

Mix everything with the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your clean hands until the dough is well combined and easily forms a small ball.

Cover the bowl with a lid or cling film and place it in the fridge.

three eggs in metallic mixing bowl with sugar
Time to make the filling.

Next, we’ll make the filling. For that, take a large bowl and add the eggs as well as the granulated sugar.

Use the normal beaters of your electric mixer to mix the eggs and sugar until you have a creamy mixture.

metal mixing bowl of german cheesecake mixture
Keep mixing until it looks like this.

Keep mixing, until the mixture is light in color and looks creamy (and maybe has a few bubbles).

Then add the pudding powder and vanilla extract and mix again. Finally, also add the oil and lemon zest and mix until everything is well combined.

When you are done, set the bowl aside and clean the beaters of your electric mixer.

whipping cream stiff in mixing bowl
Time for whipped cream!

In yet another bowl, whip the cream with the clean beaters of your electric mixer. Then set your mixer aside.

mixing whipping cream into cheesecake batter in bowl with spatula
Add the cream to the egg-mixture.

Then carefully fold the whipped cream into the bowl with egg-sugar-mixture using a spatula.

quark mixing into german cheesecake batter in bowl
Also add the quark.

Also add the quark and keep folding with your spatula until the mixture is well combined. As mentioned above, it is easy to make your own quark at home.

However if you are in a time crunch you could try making the recipe with Greek yoghurt or similar. (We can’t give any guarantees that it will turn out as great though).

german cheese cake filling batter in silver bowl
This is what the filling should look like.

When everything is well mixed it should have an even color and look similar to the photo above. Once you are happy with your filling, set the bowl aside.

round springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom
Prepare your springform pan.

Line the bottom of your 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper can lightly grease the sides.

At this time also preheat your oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.

crust molded into round springform pan for german cheesecake
The crust for the cheesecake ready for baking.

Remove the dough from the fridge and sprinkle some flour onto your countertop. Roll out your dough with a rolling pin until it is a little bit bigger than your springform pan.

Lift the rolled out dough and place it into the pan. Press it into place slightly. You should have a crust of approx. 1 inch going up the sides.

raw german cheesecake filling in crust in round silver pan on counter
The cheesecake is ready for baking.

Now pour the filling onto the dough in the pan and make sure it is evenly distrubuted. You can use a large spoon or spatula to do that.

Bake the cake on the lower third of your oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Once baked, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it fully cool in the pan before removing the ring.

german cheesecake with slice cut in front
Just a little powdered sugar is all this German cheesecake needed!

You can dust your cheesecake with powdered sugar before serving (this is completely optional). We hope you enjoy our Käsekuchen recipe!

German Cheesecake Storage Tips

Store the cooled cheesecake or any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. You should consume it within three to four days.

Alternatively, you can also freeze slices of the cheesecake.

german cheesecake with slice cut in front

German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This German-style Cheesecake - known as Käsekuchen in German - is the perfect dessert. Made with quark and pudding powder, it has a light and fluffy texture. This quark cheesecake surprises with a hint of lemon and a delicious crust!

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold

The Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 2 cups Quark (see notes)
  • 1 package instant pudding powder, vanilla (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream

Instructions

The Dough:

  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl and give everything a stir with a spoon.
  2. Cut up the cold butter into small cubes and add them into the bowl. Also, add the vanilla extract and the egg into the bowl.
  3. Mix everything with the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your clean hands until the dough is well combined and forms a ball. Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge.

The Filling:

  1. In a separate large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar using the normal beaters of your electric mixer until you have a creamy mixture. Add the pudding powder and vanilla extract and mix again until everything is well combined. Then add the oil and the lemon zest and mix again.
  2. In another bowl, whip the cream using clean (!) beaters of your electric mixer.
  3. Fold the whipped cream and quark into the mixture in the large bowl little by little using a spatula or large spoon. Make sure everything is well combined and there are no lumps. Set the mixture aside.

The Assembly:

  1. Line the bottom of your 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Also preheat the oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take out the dough from the fridge and sprinkle your countertop with a little bit of flour. Roll out your dough using a rolling pin until it is just a bit larger than your springform pan. Place the rolled out dough into the pan and press it into place. You should have a crust of approx. 1 inch going up the sides of the pan.
  3. Once your crust is fitted well, pour the filling into the pan and make sure it is evenly distributed using a spatula or spoon.
  4. Bake the cake in the lower third of your oven for 60-70 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool fully before removing the ring of the springform pan. You can dust the cheesecake with powdered sugar before serving (optional).

Notes

  • Traditionally, German cheesecake is made with quark, a dairy product that can often only be found in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to buy it in North America. If you want to make a truly authentic German cheesecake, you can make your own quark (we usually do this) by following our homemade quark recipe. Alternatively - if you are short on time -, you could also try making this recipe with Greek yogurt or similar.
  • Store (the leftovers of) your cooled cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge. Consume it within three to four days. Alternatively, you can also freeze slices of the cheesecake.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 6g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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