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10 Must-Try German Desserts & Sweet Treats

Germany is known for it’s many delicious desserts and sweet treats. How are you supposed to choose which ones to try on your trip to Germany? It’s tough because everywhere you turn, there are just so many  options! You could spend you’re entire vacation just eating dessert (which wouldn’t be all bad…).

Fortunately, I got to know a lot of Germany’s awesome desserts during the four years I lived there. Here’s are 10 traditional German desserts I recommend trying on your next trip to Germany!

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I want to try these when I'm in Germany!

1. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

German Bienenstich cake (Bee sting cake)

If you like honey and almonds, you’ll love Bienenstich cake. There are three layers in this cake: first, there’s a layer of sweet yeast dough, then there’s a thick layer of cream, then a layer of crunchy, honey-flavored, caramelized almonds.

When I was studying in Stuttgart I walked past a little corner bakery every day on my way to the uni. More often than not I’d stop and pick up a slice of Bienenstich cake (oh to be 19 again). I still eat it whenever I’m in Germany but I also make it at home! Click here to get step-by-step directions for making Bienenstich cake in your own kitchen.

2. Rote Grütze

German Rote Grütze (Red Berry dessert from northern Germany)

Are you a fan of berries? If so, you’ll love this traditional northern German dessert. It’s basically a thick  soup of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries and red currants, and topped with either fresh cream (my favorite), vanilla sauce or ice cream. I tried Rote Grütze for the first time shortly after I moved to Hamburg for the first time and it’s still one of my all-time favorite desserts.

Rote Grütze is the one dessert I always eat homemade – either when I’m a dinner guest or when I make it for myself (I just made some last night, actually). If you’re visiting northern Germany you may find Rote Grütze on the menu at a restaurant or cafe. But if not, just pick some up at the grocery store, heat it up on the stove or in the microwave, and top with cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream.  It’s the perfect inexpensive AirBnB dessert!

Rote Grütze from a German grocery store

You can also make Rote Grütze from scratch in about 10 minutes using either fresh or frozen berries. Click here to get the step-by-step recipe!

3. Chocolate

Who doesn’t think chocolate when they think of Germany? You could spend your entire vacation in Germany just sampling chocolate! Confession: I spent five weeks in Germany just before getting married and brought an extra bag with me just so I could fill it with Milka to give away to wedding guests. Back then you could’t get Milka in the US!

Milka chocolate from Germany

Two of the most popular brands of chocolate are Milka and Ritter Sport. You may already be familiar with them, as you can find both in the US these days. But Germany offers a far better selection. They even have seasonal flavors! For the best selection, visit a department store (such as Kaufhof, Karstadt or Hertie) or one of the larger grocery stores.

My favorites? For Milka I’d say it’s Sahne Creme, Diam, Joghurt, and Caramel. For Ritter Sport it’s Hazelnut, Espresso, Cocoa Mousse, and Cornflakes.

Ritter Sport chocolate from Germany

The other kind of chocolate I always buy in Germany is called Schoghetten. I like that their chocolate comes in little individual square pieces, so it’s easy to just eat one or two squares at a time. I like the Hazelnut and the Yogurt-Strawberry the best.

Unfortunately, they no longer make my favorite kind, which was a coffee latte flavor. It was SO good. The bottom layer was chocolate, the top layer was a creamy white chocolate with little pieces of actual coffee beans – kinda like this Straciatella but with coffee beans instead of chocolate chips. I was heartbroken when they discontinued this flavor! It looks like this year’s “Taste of the Year” flavor is Roasted Corn…hmmm…does that sound good to you?

Oh, one more chocolate to try is Kinderschokolade! Yep, chocolate for kids. Kinderschokolade always touted their chocolate as having “an extra portion of milk” in the creamy filling. I don’t eat this as often as I used to but I still enjoy a bar once in a while. That creamy milky center…yum.

I’m now thinking I need to do a separate post just on chocolate because I could list at least 10 types of chocolate to try. 😉

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4. Fruit Pastries  

Raspberry pastry from a bakery in Germany

If you’re looking for a quick sweet breakfast or an afternoon snack that you can eat on your way to your next activity, pop into any bakery for a fruit pastry! Raspberry, cherry, peach…they’re all so good. And with bakeries on every corner, it’s super easy to find a pastry to suit your tastes.

5. Schwartzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)

Black forest cake

This is probably the most popular German cake in the US – but I’d give it a try when you’re in Germany, especially if you’re in the Black Forest.

While the main ingredients are the same with both the German and US versions – layers of chocolate cake, cherries, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings – the German version usually has far more Kirsch liqueur in it. Like, a lot more.

I once had a slice of Schwartzwälder Kirschtorte in a little cafe in the Black Forest and, wow, I don’t think I could have eaten two pieces. If you like boozy cakes, definitely give this one a try while in Germany.

6. Käsekuchen (Cheesecake)

German cheesecake

German cheesecake is different from cheesecake in the US. While these days you’ll find cream cheese cheesecake in Germany, traditional German cheesecake is made with quark and is lighter and fluffier. The crust is also different – instead of a cookie or graham cracker crust, which you’ll find in most cheesecakes in the US, German cheesecakes have a sweet short-crust.

While you can find dense little squares of Käsekuchen in bakeries, I prefer to order it in cafes, where you’re more likely to get a taller, fluffier wedge, typically served with a mound of fresh whipped cream (usually on the side of the cheesecake, rather than on top). German cheesecake is often plain but you may find it with cherries or raisins mixed in.

German cheesecake is another great German recipe that you can easily make at home! Here’s a step-by-step recipe.

7. Dampfknödel


Dampfknödel from Bavaria in Germany photo credit

When I was in high school I lived with a German family near Hamburg for a year. Over spring break, my host mom took me to visit relatives in southern Germany, which meant a day trip to Munich. We stopped at the Hofbräuhaus and my host mom ordered Dampfknödel because she said I had to try this traditional Bavarian dessert while in Munich. I advise you to try one, too!

Dampfknödel is a steamed yeast dumpling smothered in vanilla sauce. Whether you eat yours with a beer at the Hofbräuhaus or elsewhere in up to you!

8. Spaghettieis

Spaghettieis from Germany

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Spaghetti ice cream! Can you imagine? Spaghettieis is a must-have in Germany, and something that nearly every ice cream cafe will have on the menu.

The best ones make it fresh just before serving (the lesser ones pull one out of the freezer). It’s basically vanilla ice cream that been worked through a potato ricer so it looks like spaghetti noodles. Strawberry “spaghetti” sauce is poured over the ice cream noodles and topped with flecks of white “parmesan cheese” noodles. Kids love it…and so do adults visiting Germany.

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9. Eiskaffee

Eiskaffee from Germany

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If you’re heading to an ice cream shop but Spaghettieis isn’t your thing, try a refreshing, invigorating Eiskaffee.

Germany’s take on iced coffee is a little more decadent than what you’ll find in the US. It’s a glass of cold coffee (which will be strong and delicious) poured over a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with a thick layer of fresh whipped cream.

I love Eiskaffee and make it at home in the US all the time. You can too! Click here to get my step-by-step recipe.

10. Zwetchenkuchen (Plum cake)

Zwetchenkuchen (Plum cake)

When I think of German cake, I think of Zwetchenkuchen – fresh plum cake! The funny thing is that I don’t like fresh plums at all but I love Zwetchenkuchen, especially with a large dollop of whipped cream and a cup of strong coffee. Perfect for afternoon the traditional German Kaffee und Kuchen! You can usually find Zwetchenkuchen (also called Pflaumenkuchen) in bakeries, especially during plum season.

Is Your Mouth Watering Yet?

Which traditional German dessert do you want to try? If you’ve been to Germany, what was your favorite  dessert or sweet treat?

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Leanna
    September 6, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    My husbands loves anything German and these looks delicious. Saw two posts and pinned them both. I guess that makes me a new fan!!

    • Reply
      Cate
      September 7, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Thanks, Leanna! I’m with your husband on liking anything German…especially German desserts!

  • Reply
    Amy
    September 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Well I didn’t know that I loved German Food, but some of these recipes sound wonderful. I love fruit and berries so both of those recipes look delicious, and of course Black Forrest cake is fabulous. Thank you for sharing these recipes. You left a comment on our Lemon Bars so I just decided to check out your blog. It looks great. I will have to come back and check out some more of your posts.

    • Reply
      Cate
      September 7, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Thanks for visiting, Amy! Your lemon bars looked amazing. 🙂 German desserts are the BEST so defiantly do try some of the recipes here!

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