Oma's Butterkuchen / Zuckerkuchen - Butter Cake Recipe

➤ by Gerhild Fulson

This Butter Cake recipe, aka Butterkuchen or Zuckerkuchen, is a traditional German cake often served for afternoon coffee. In the photo below, this butter cake is simply topped with almonds and sugar.

Want something faster? I've included a link at the bottom for a butter cake recipe that uses a bread machine. Faster. Easier. Just as delicious!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know right below.

I love it when one can make a German recipe easier, because there's nothing quite like enjoying German cakes, especially at coffee time. That coffee time, Kaffeeklatsch, happens every day at our house at 3 pm.

If you drop by then, you may just find this Butterkuchen on the table, served with my Mutti's Sammeltassen (collectable cups) that she lovingly brought back from Germany.

Butterkuchen, German Butter Cake. A sweet treat for when company comes over!

Once the dough is ready, I'll sometimes divide the dough into two springform pans. That's what I did for the photo above. That way, I could make one cake with butter, sugar and almond slices.

The other cake had butter, sugar and cinnamon. YUM.

Of course, you can always cover the top with streusel, leaving that butter and sugar with nuts layer off. Delicious as well. 

Make the same cake with streusel topping instead.

Yes, this is can be made with a streusel topping, but the very simple almond, butter and sugar is one is very popular.  You can also include cinnamon, and/or sour cream in the topping giving a completely different cake.

Butterkuchen, German Butter Cake. A sweet treat for when company comes over! This one is covered in streusel. Fun to make, and yummy to eat! Give Oma's butter cake a try!

How to make crumb topping (streusel)

Streusel is so easy to make when you keep the following ratios in mind.

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part cold butter
  • 2 parts flour

I usually make this using 1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter, and 2 cups flour. However, if you're wanting more or less, just adjust accordingly.

Mix together quickly (I often use a pastry cutter) until you have a crumbly mixture. Crumble it on top of your unbaked cake. You may need to add a few minutes extra to the baking time.

Baking with Yeast Tips

Haven't used yeast before and are hesitant to make this butter cake recipe? It's not that hard. Follow these tips 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!

  • 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. 
  • Check expiry date on yeast package. Do NOT use old yeast. It will not rise!
  • 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.
  • 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!

This yeast dough is a basic cake yeast dough that can be used in many different recipes economically yet absolutely delicious! It's among the best quick and easy cake recipes for that reason.

Grab your copy of Oma's favorites in her Special Occasion German Cakes & Tortes e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Special Occasion Cakes & Tortes eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

Faster still?

Do you have a bread machine? You do? Then, you can make this quick cake ever quicker. 

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.

Lydia Remembers...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma, and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like this butter cake! 

I've enjoyed this recipe multiple times in Oma's kitchen and it's become one of my favorites by far! Served with her homemade mouth-watering whipped cream, now that's a good dessert! My favorite part of this recipe is taking a great big spoonful of whipped cream and plopping it over the top. 

This is such a great recipe to serve when having company over, I know it sure did impress me when I first had it at Oma's! It seems like such a simple dessert and it is! Simple, but the potential and yumminess with each bite is absolutely wunderbar. 

Oma has made this recipe so easy to make and with little hints and tricks to help you along the way of your kitchen journey!

This recipe goes so well with a hot cup of peppermint tea or coffee. Just sit back, relax, and take in all those delicious German flavors! Take my word for it, when Oma makes it, it is ALWAYS delicious. 

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!

Oma Says:

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!

Ready to make this Butterkuchen?

Oma's Butterkuchen / Zuckerkuchen - Butter Cake Recipe

This Butter Cake recipe, aka Butterkuchen or Zuckerkuchen, is a traditional German cake often served for afternoon coffee. 

Yes, this is can be made with a streusel topping, but the very simple almond, butter, and sugar is one is very popular. If you have a bread machine, you can make this butter cake instead.

Prep Time

90 minutes

Cook Time

25 minutes

Total Time

115 minutes


Makes 20 pieces


Yeast Dough
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 milliliter) lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) lukewarm milk
  • ½ cup (120 milliliters) neutral oil
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • about 4 - 4½ cups (520 - 585 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (120 milliliters) milk or cream

Simple Topping

  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (75 grams) sliced almonds
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) cold butter


  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand for about 5 - 10 minutes. This should be foamy. (It will be if the yeast is not old.)
  2. Mix in 1 cup milk, oil, egg, and ½ cup sugar. Beat in 2 cups flour and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Add more flour until a soft dough results.
  4. Remove from bowl and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour ONLY if necessary if it is too sticky.
  5. Put dough into a greased bowl. Cover and put in a draft-free warm place for about 30 - 60 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
  6. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan. Roll out dough to fit pan and place in pan.
  7. Make small hollows in the surface of the dough with your fingers.
  8. Brush dough with ½ cup milk or cream.
  9. Cut butter into small pieces and place in hollows.
  10. Sprinkle ⅔ cup sugar and nuts over dough.
  11. Cover and let stand in a warm draft-free place for about 30 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Let cool slightly and cut into 20 pieces.


  • Ideally, everything should be at room temperature. The heat can kill the yeast and the cold can hinder the growth of the yeast cells. 
  • Check expiry date on yeast package. Do NOT use old yeast. It will not rise.
  • When letting the dough rise, do so in a warm, draft-free area.
  • If you have a bread machine, you can make quick work of making the dough. Take a look at this butter cake recipe.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma |

03.03.2021 revision update

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Make Oma's Butter Cake recipe when you're wanting some traditional German baking.

Oma's Butterkuchen / Zuckerkuchen - Butter Cake Recipe

Oma's Butterkuchen / Zuckerkuchen - Butter Cake Recipe
Oma's Butterkuchen, aka Zuckerkuchen, is a traditional German Butter Cake (Sugar Cake) that's often served for afternoon coffee. Loved by all, easy to make and so delicious to eat!

Ingredients: yeast, sugar, milk, oil, egg, flour, almonds, butter,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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)