Tuesday, June 11, 2013


  Hier geht's zur deutschen Version  dieses Posts

The first time I heard about a cake called "Eierschecke", when I saw my cousin Uta's post in facebook. "Eier" is the German term for eggs, and "Schnecke" (snail)) is a common name for pinwheel shaped pastry, but I had not the slightest idea what "Schecke" meant, or where it might come from.

I looked it up at Wikipedia, and learned that this specialty from Thuringia and Saxony was named for a three tiered, medieval tunic for men. The cake had, obviously, three layers: crust, quark filling with apples or poppy seed, plus a custard topping.

Medieval schecke - male predecessor of the mini skirt?

I had never visited Dresden before, but in May we went on a trip to Saxony, and there it was:  every bakery offered Schecke, subspecies Dresdner Eierschecke. It came in many variations, yeasted dough or sweet crust, raisin-studded or not, baked as bar or torte.

My husband always gets this devout look in his face when he enters a German bakery. I, of course, view it also as continuing education, and sample solely for scientific purposes. Faithful to the Anderson credo: "Life is Uncertain - Eat the Dessert First!" we conducted a thorough investigation.

Dresdner Eierschecke bars (left of the tortes)

As a result of this extensive field work, I looked for a recipe, soon as we were home. I'm no great friend of raisins, and don't like it too sweet, therefore I wanted my cake to be a bit tart and fruity.

You can get apples, a classic Schecke ingredient, all year long, but now it was rhubarb season, and I had some in my fridge. So I entered "Eierschecke" and "Rhabarber" (rhubarb) in Google's search box, and promptly struck gold.

This recipe, posted by Thomas (Tolotika) in kochbar.de, was the one I liked best. It had a sweet crust, the rhubarb sauce was thickened with vanilla pudding powder, and the custard not only contained eggs, sour cream and pudding, but also quark.

Much as I love quark - it's almost impossible to find in the US, and even if you do, it is outrageously expensive and doesn't taste the same. Therefore I use for my German Cheesecake cream cheese as stand-in. Mixed with lemon juice and whipped egg white, it comes closest to quark in taste and consistency.

I reduced the amount of sugar in the custard by half, but the cake is still sweet enough.

There was another problem to solve. Though Richard and I like to eat cake, it's only the two of us, and I couldn't imagine that the airy egg mixture on top of the fruit layer would last several days without getting soggy.

So, back to asking uncle Google, this time for: "conversion large cakes small cakes". Is there anything at all that you can't find in the w.w.w.? Keikos-cakes.com has a very user friendly pan conversion tool on their website. (And it does rectangular pans, too!)

To convert a recipe for a 10-inch/26-cm diameter torte to a 7-inch/18-cm tortelet, you enter the pan size of the recipe and your desired pan size in Keiko's pan conversion tool and, voilà, there is the factor you need (0.48)! Now grab your calculator and multiply each recipe ingredient with 0.48.  

The result was everything I had looked for! The tangy rhubarb makes a pleasant contrast to the sweet custard, and the whole thing is so airy and fluffy that I'm sure it doesn't have a single calorie!

RHUBARB EIERSCHECKE TORTE (adapted from Tolotika at kochbar.de)
(6 servings for a 7"/18 cm diameter cake pan)

454 g/1 lb rhubarb, cut in 0.5"/1 cm pieces
  75 g/3 oz sugar
  21 g/0.7 oz vanilla pudding powder

120 g/4.2 oz all-purpose flour
  30 g/1 oz sugar
  60 g/2 oz cold butter, cut in pieces
 1/2 egg *)
 1/2 tsp. baking powder
semolina and breadcrumbs (for sprinkling)

*) How to divide an egg into halves? It's easy: on a scale, crack an egg into a cup, stir well, and then take off half with a spoon.

 60 g/2 oz cream cheese
 60 g/2 oz sour cream
 40 g/1.5 oz sugar (original recipe: 84 g/3 oz)
       2 eggs, separated
     1 ½ tsp lemon juice
         1 tsp lemon zest
 10 g/0.35 oz vanilla pudding powder

In a bowl, stir together rhubarb and sugar. Mix well. Cover, and leave overnight at room temperature.

Drain rhubarb in a strainer over a bowl. Reserve 170 ml/5.75 fl oz of the juice (I didn't have quite enough juice, so I substituted with a bit of milk.)

Grease a 7-inch/18-cm diameter springform, and sprinkle with semolina.

Process sweet crust, until no loose flour remains in the bowl

Food Processor: Briefly pulse flour with baking powder and sugar to combine. Add egg and butter pieces. Pulse, until mixture comes together, and no loose flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. Or knead all ingredients by hand, or with a handheld mixer.

Shape dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, transfer to prepared springform pan, and press into bottom, making a small rim around the sides. Refrigerate, until ready to fill.

Sweet crust bottom layer

Preheat oven to 435ºF/225ºC. Place rack on middle rung.

Following instructions on the package, prepare vanilla pudding with pudding powder and reserved rhubarb juice. Add rhubarb, and stir well. Leave mixture to cool a little bit.

Spread vanilla pudding with rhubarb pieces over unbaked crust

Pre-bake cake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 410ºF/210º.

For the custard, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar, until well combined. Add egg yolks, one by one, and mix to incorporate. Mix in lemon juice and zest. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites in egg/cream mixture.

Gently fold stiff egg whites into egg/cream mixture

Pour Eierschecke custard over pre-baked torte and smooth with plastic spatula.

Spread eierschecke custard over pre-baked torte

Bake torte for about 20 minutes, or until set (but elastic to touch.) Leave for at least 15 minutes in switched-off oven with door slightly ajar.

Let Rhubarb-Eierschecke cool on wire rack. (It will sag a little bit.)

Freshly baked, the Eierschecke-Torte looks like cheese cake.

Or, like the greedy Andersons, eat it while it is still warm!!!

Never forget: "Life is Uncertain - Eat the Dessert First..."

Beautiful Dresden is really worth a trip - not just for the famous Eierschecke!


  1. G'day! ABSOLUTELY beautiful, TRUE!
    Your photo makes your Torte so warm and welcoming too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    What's On The List

    1. Thanks, Joanne! I hope you feel invited to try the torte. I assume you have rhubarb in Australia, too?

  2. Thanks for the recipe, Karin. I have some rhubarb in the garden that is ready to be used :)

    1. Do try this out, Hanaâ! If you want to make a larger (10-inch) version, check the original recipe at kochbar.de.

  3. I am so impressed by the philosoply and by the conversion factor and I love rhubarb and this looks superb. What a wonderful and very German looking cake. I told OH what your philosophy was and says it is very similar to his, which is something like 'if there is cake it makes a better lunch than a sandwich'. We don't have 'pudding' in England, I am sure I can get it from an American importer but we do have Birds Custard powder, do you think that would work, presumably it is a thickener of some sort, like cornflour?

  4. Yes, I can agree to that philosophy, too!
    I googled Bird's Custard after reading a post by Dan Lepard in the Guardian, and I'm sure you can use it just the same.
    You don't need much, anyway, and it is just an easier and more flavorful way to thicken the rhubarb juice.
    I used the German Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding powder that I can get here in the supermarket.

  5. What a lovely recipe! Like you I love the layers of history in the food we eat. Great pictures too! They make it really easy to try and replicate the dessert at home. I will try it with rhubarb I have in the freezer left over from last year. Thanks, Karin!

    1. It was fun to write this post. I have some rhubarb (and Italian plums) from last year in my freezer, too. The combination of sweet and tart is always nice.
      Thanks for visiting - I have several of your breads on my to do list (the often baked Barley Bread is one of my favorites.)