German Butter Cake Recipe

This Butter Cake recipe ("Butterkuchen"), also called Sugar Cake ("Zuckerkuchen"), is a traditional German cake served for afternoon coffee. 

German Cake: Butter Cake Recipe

The yeast dough makes it economical yet absolutely delicious!

It's among the best quick and easy cake recipes for that reason.

Here, this butter cake is topped with butter, almonds, and sugar.

You can also include cinnamon, and/or sour cream in the topping giving a completely different cake.

The yeast dough is a basic cake yeast dough that can be used in many different recipes.

Haven't used yeast before and are hesitant to make this butter cake recipe?

It's not that hard.

Follow the pointers below the recipe and you may just find yourself making cakes using yeast quite often.

This is a recipe you'll get your hands into ... it's fun to knead!

However, at the bottom, you'll find a recipe for a butter cake that uses a bread machine. Faster. Easier. Just as delicious!

German Butter Cake Recipe


    Yeast Dough
  • 1 package (1 tbsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk (lukewarm)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • about 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup cold butter


  • In a large bowl, mix yeast, water, and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand for about 5 - 10 minutes. This should be foamy. (It will be if the yeast is not old.)
  • Mix in 1 cup milk, oil, egg, and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat in 2 cups flour and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Add more flour until a soft dough results.
  • Remove from bowl and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour ONLY if necessary if it is too sticky.
  • Put dough into a greased bowl. Cover and put in a draft-free warm place for about 30 - 60 minutes.
  • Grease a 15" x 10" jelly-roll pan. Roll out dough to fit pan and place in pan.
  • Make small hollows in the surface of the dough with your fingers.
  • Brush dough with 1/2 cup milk or cream.
  • Cut butter into small pieces and place in hollows.
  • Sprinkle 2/3 cup sugar and nuts over dough.
  • Cover and let stand in a warm draft-free place for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly and cut into 20 pieces.


  • Change this basic Butter Cake recipe by adding 1 tsp cinnamon to the 2/3 cup sugar before sprinkling on top of dough.
  • Omit nuts if desired or use hazelnuts instead of the almonds.
  • Add little dollops of sour cream over top, using about 1/2 cup, before baking.

Baking with Yeast Tips

  1. Don't use ingredients that are hot or cold. Ideally, everything should be at room temperature. The heat can kill the yeast and the cold can hinder the growth of the yeast cells. 
  2. Check expiry date on yeast package. Do NOT use old yeast. It will not rise!
  3. You need to count in time for the yeast dough to rise when calculating how long from starting the cake to serving time. It's a quick cake to make, just takes time to rise.
  4. When letting the dough or cake rise (often both need to rise - just check your recipe), do so in a warm, draft-free area. A great place can be your oven. Often I'll briefly turn it on and then off - just enough to take the chill out (you should be able to easily touch the inside). Then put covered dough/cake in and close the door. Warm and draft-free. Remember to take it out before turning the oven on to bake it!

As with anything made with yeast, this tastes best served the same day it is made. Served still slightly warm from the oven with a bit of whipped cream, it is absolutely YUMMY!

Have a Bread Machine?

If you're looking for a really, really easy version of this cake, one that uses a bread machine to make the dough, then check out this German Butter Cake.

Want nutritional information for a recipe? Copy and paste the ingredient list and the number of servings into Calorie Count. It will give you an approximate calculation.

*  *  *  *  *

Looking for that special German ingredient or convenience food?

You can order them online!



Download FREE "Herbs & Spices in the German Kitchen" NOW

by Subscribing to my FREE monthly Newsletter

Quick Fix Recipes - Just like Oma's

Experience Germany: food, people, country, & RECIPES!


Have your say! Leave a comment in the box below. Need a quick answer? Then go to Quick German Recipes Facebook where there are over 30,000 German Foodie Fans who can help!

Remember to BOOKMARK this page, so you can find your way back!

Top of Butter Cake Recipe

› Butter Cake


Words to the Wise

"Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."

Proverbs 11:24-25 (NLT)



"Just like Oma's"

with ...

quick fix soups

Recommended by Chef Glenn

"Sehr Gut, Gerhild!

Your Quick Fix Soups e-book is wonderful. My Swiss wife is going to love the soups that I make for her with your recipes. She already loves my soups, but your e-book will greatly expand the variety

Thank you for making the recipes easy to follow and see with the beautiful photos. The extra tips and options that you give after each recipe are very helpful. Thanks for the printable recipe cards, too!"

Need Help?

Quick answers to your questions?

Go to my

Facebook page 

You'll find lots of German foodies ready to help!

Share your recipes and photos, too!

Here's what some of my fans say:

Joy B: Our family always used white vinegar instead of lemon juice, and added paprika ... but I think I'd like this version better!   


Alice D: Every time I make these I always have to make 3 times as much! Our friends always want some so it never goes to waste.


Lori S: This is the best split pea soup I ever made! It disappeared faster than any other soup I have made. It is so easy to prepare the night before an throw together before I leave for work, I will definitely use it often!


Sunetra CDas sieht aber lecker aus.


GloriaJean S: For all you "foodies" out there go to this site and sign up for their newsletter.

submit your recipe