From her cheerful Berlin kitchen, Luisa Weiss shares more than 100 rigorously researched and tested recipes, gathered from expert bakers, friends, family, and time-honored sources throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
German baking has influenced baking traditions around the world for generations and is a source of great nostalgia for those of German and Central European heritage. Yet the very best recipes for Germany’s cookies, cakes, tortes, and breads, passed down through generations, have never before been collected and perfected for contemporary American home bakers. Enter Luisa Weiss, the Berlin-based creator of the adored
Wednesday Chef blog and self-taught ambassador of the German baking canon.
Whether you’re in the mood for the simple yet emblematic
Streuselkuchen, crisp and flaky
Strudel, or classic breakfast
Brötchen, every recipe you’re looking for is here, along with detailed advice to ensure success plus delightful storytelling about the origins, meaning, and rituals behind the recipes. Paired with more than 100 photographs of Berlin and delectable baked goods, such as
Marmorierter Mohnkuchen, and S
chwarzwälder Kirschtorte, this book will encourage home bakers of all skill levels to delve into the charm of Germany’s rich baking tradition.
Classic German Baking is an authoritative collection of recipes that provides delicious inspiration for any time of day, whether it’s for a special breakfast, a celebration with friends and family, or just a regular afternoon coffee-and-cake break, an important part of everyday German life.
“If you’re fascinated by German baking, by the recipes for kuchen, cakes, tortes, cookies, and yeasted sweets passed down through generations, then you’ll be as joyful as I am that Luisa Weiss has given us this beautifully written and photographed book. Here, at last, is our portal to learning more about the long tradition of German baking, which has influenced bakers around the world, and to recreating such wonders at home.
Classic German Baking is a sweet adventure.”
— Dorie Greenspan, author of Dorie’s Cookies and the New York Times best-selling Baking Chez Moi
“I’ve waited a long time for another book by Luisa Weiss. In demystifying German baking she has done all cooks a great service. An inspiring and delicious labour of love.”
— Diana Henry, The Daily Telegraph
"Even if you don’t have the stamina for homemade apple strudel or Black Forest cake, this Berlin-born food blogger will win you over with her sandy almond sugar cookies."
— The New York Times
“Luisa Weiss takes classic German recipes and transforms them into extraordinarily modern takes. This is a book that even a novice can be inspired by.”
— Mindy Segal, author of Cookie Love
“I value few things more than classic recipes that honor tradition, are presented with heart, and are so well tested that you know you can trust them. This impressive volume by the wonderful Luisa Weiss is filled with these sorts of recipes. I can almost taste the apricot jam and smell the almond paste just by reading
Classic German Baking.”
— Julia Turshen, author of Small Victories
“From stunning layered cakes to fruit-forward tarts and spiced holiday cookies, Luisa Weiss opens up the world of German baking to bakers around the world. My dream is to be in her kitchen, stretching strudel, twisting pretzels and layering chocolate tortes alongside her.
Classic German Baking takes me right there.”
— David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
"This overdue guide is a happy marriage of European craft and American sensibilities."
—Bonnie S. Benwick, The Washington Post
"As an expat American, Weiss has a sense of discovery that permeates her book, giving a sense of wonder and appreciation to the sometimes complicated recipes. It’s just the right sensibility, and it makes for a cookbook that’s not only useful and instructive but charming."
— Amy Scattergood, The Los Angeles Times
"Berlin-born food writer Weiss (
My Berlin Kitchen) collects masterpieces of time-tested recipes to create this traditional classic that, like her lebkuchen (old-fashioned German gingerbread), is bound to stand the test of time and taste. [...] Collected from various places and people—whether it’s a cookbook or from her German assistant—this cookbook presents a beautiful piece of German tradition."
— Publishers Weekly
Classic German Baking, author and former cookbook editor Luisa Weiss surpassed those expectations with an engaging, precise, and pitch-perfect collection of more than 100 recipes that deserve to be better known in the U.S."
— Lisa Rojany, NY Journal of Books
LUISA WEISS is a Berlin-born, American-Italian food writer who grew up eating warm
Streuselschnecken on her way to school and believes dark winter days are best enjoyed whilst sharing
Zimtsterne with family and friends. Luisa is the creator of the blog
The Wednesday Chef and author of the lauded memoir,
My Berlin Kitchen. Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge and National Public Radio and in
Wall Street Journal, the
Boston Globe, and
Harper’s Bazaar Germany, among many others. She lives in Berlin with her husband and son.
Toasted Hazelnut Loaf Cake
MAKES 1 (9 BY 5-INCH/23 BY 12CM) CAKE
In the United States, loaf cakes and quick breads are quite moist and rich affairs. In Germany, they tend to be drier and lighter; in sum, a little more restrained. In this classic
Nusskuchen, hazelnuts are toasted until fragrant, and then pulsed finely before being folded into a simple cake batter plumped up with a bit of milk or brandy. You can take the basic recipe further by folding in chopped chocolate or grated lemon peel. The chocolate gives the cake more heft and makes for a great autumn weekend cake, while the lemon pairs nicely with the roasted hazelnuts for a more delicately flavored cake. Either way, slices of
Nusskuchen are wonderful eaten with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
The cake keeps well for a few days wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. But if it does get stale, you may be interested to know that an acquaintance of my assistant on this book, Maja Welker, once told her that her family used to repurpose stale loaf cakes like this one by placing slices of them on buttered rye bread at snack time. Ever curious, Maja tried this unusual snack and reported back that it is indeed delicious, if a little unorthodox. What we still haven’t figured out is whether this is a regional oddity or simply a familial one. In any case, it speaks to the resourcefulness of most Germans, who are loath to waste any food.
18 tablespoons/250g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 cups/200g whole hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and finely ground
1 cup/200g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2⁄3 cups, scooped and leveled, minus 1 tablespoon/200g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons whole milk or brandy
5 1⁄4 ounces/150g bittersweet chocolate (minimum 50% cacao), chopped (optional)
Grated peel of 1 organic lemon (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar (optional), for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a 9 by 5-inch/23 by 12cm loaf pan. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven and let the nuts cool completely before rubbing them gently with a clean dishcloth (this will remove most of their skins). Place the cooled hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground to a very fine meal. Take care not to overprocess by pulsing after they are finely ground, or you will end up with hazelnut paste.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment and beat until creamy and fluffy; beat in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until each one is incorporated into the batter. Slowly add the ground hazelnuts and beat until combined.
Sift the flour and baking powder together, and then, with the mixer running at medium speed, gradually add the flour to the butter and sugar. Finally, beat in the milk or brandy and fold in the chocolate or grated lemon peel. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Place the pan on a rack to cool for a few minutes before unmolding. Let the cake cool completely. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar before slicing and serving. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, the cake will keep at room temperature for at least 3 days and up to 5.