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Best Authentic German Cheesecake (Käsekuchen)

This German Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake) is made with Quark cheese (homemade or store bought) and has a hint of lemon. One bite and you’ll swear you’re in Germany!

There are many variations of German cheesecake. This version of traditional German cheesecake is light, fluffy, uses simple ingredients, and has a crust.

If you’re looking for a simple, classic German cheesecake (or a gluten-free option that doesn’t include butter), try my Classic German Cheese with Quark.

If you’re looking for a denser, crustless cheesecake check out my easy Crustless German Cheesecake recipe.

German vs. US American Cheesecake

Ready to make German cheesecake? Great! But don’t get out the cream cheese! This cheesecake is made with Quark.

Huh? What’s Quark?!

Quark is super popular in Germany and other parts of Europe but much less so in the US. It’s starting to catch on here in the US, though, and I’m so excited about that because I LOVE Quark!

I use it all the time in my baking, cooking, for breakfast, healthy snacks, as an easy dessert…so many things.

So what is Quark? It’s is a fresh, soft, un-aged cheese. Quark has a texture similar to a thick Greek yogurt but tastes less tart.

It’s also high in protein and is delicious spread on toast, combined with fresh berries (both make an excellent breakfast) or in lots of German desserts and baked items.

Using Quark in recipes that call for it (rather than using a substitute) will make your recipes more authentic and often healthier!

Where Can I Buy Quark?

It used to be SO hard to buy Quark in the United States even North America. Like, almost impossible. But now there’s Wünder Quark!

They make authentic European-style Quark in both plain (great for baking) and several delicious flavors (perfect for everything else).

I stumbled across Wünder Quark at my local grocery store a few months ago and jumped for joy when I tried their strawberry Quark because it tasted just like what I used to eat in Germany.

When I saw that they also made plain Quark, I reached out to them to see if we could work together. I’m excited to partner with them so I can help you make your recipes more authentic and even more delicious!

You can find Wünder Quark at grocery stores around the US (use their store locator to find one near you) and you can now order it online! It’s super easy to order both plain and flavored Quark and then have it shipped right to your house.

My Quark arrived cold and in perfect condition. It shipped quickly, and love that you can reuse the ice packs and packing material or recycle it. (My husband took the plastic off to recycle the packing material and decided to use some to make his office chair more comfy!)

You can order both large (24oz) and small (5oz) plain Quark or 5oz cups in several flavors. All of the flavors I’ve tried so far have been delicious but my favorite is coffee. OMG, it’s amazing.

Wünder Quark has a shelf-life of 1.5 months in the fridge so you can stock up and have Quark at the ready when you want to do some baking or just enjoy a healthier breakfast, snack or dessert!

Click here to order Wünder Quark!

Can I Make German Quark at Home?

Yes, you can (here are my step-by-step homemade Quark directions)! I’ve my own Quark loads of times. It’s pretty easy but you do need to allow 2-3 days for it to set and drain, and it can be kinda messy.

So you definitely need to plan ahead and make sure you have the tools you need and room in your fridge. What I do now is keep a couple tubs of Wünder in my fridge so I can bake at a moment’s notice!

Are There Any Substitutes for Quark?

I always recommend using Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese. I’ve used both. That said, if you use real Quark you’ll get better results, so I recommend making or buying authentic European Quark cheese if at all possible.

Tell Me About the Crust for This Quark Cheesecake

Put the graham crackes back in the cupboard! Unlike most cheesecakes in the US, most authentic German cheesecake recipes use a short crust instead of graham cracker or cookie crumbs. The crust in this recipe is so tender, lightly sweet, and has a slight lemon flavor due to the lemon zest. It’s delicious!

How Should I Serve this Cheesecake?

I serve it with fresh whipped cream and sometimes also fresh berries on the side. It also tastes great with a dusting of powdered sugar — or just by itself!

For next time I’m thinking about making a berry topping using my Rote Grütze recipe, which is another amazing German dessert.

I’ll have to make a whole new cheesecake to try that, though, because this cheesecake didn’t last but a couple days.

It’s not a German thing to top cheesecake with Rote Grütze but I think it could make a good topping!

If you’re looking for a new cheesecake to try or are just hungry for a taste of Germany, try this authentic German cheesecake!

What You Need for this German Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla sugar (click here to make your own vanilla sugar!)
  • Lemon zest
  • Butter (cold and room temperature)
  • Egg + egg yolks
  • Butter
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Quark (or alternative, such as strained Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese)
  • Corn starch
  • Egg whites (beaten to stiff peaks)

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer)
  • Spatula
  • Scale or measuring cups/spoons
  • Flour sifter
  • Zester/microplane
  • Whisk
  • Springform pan (and parchment paper or cooking spray for sides of the pan)
  • Aluminum foil (to cover the cheesecake if it starts to get too brown while baking)
  • Plastic wrap (to cover the cheesecake before serving)

How to Make German Cheesecake with Quark

This recipe has 5 steps:

  1. Make the crust
  2. Make the filling
  3. Bake the cheesecake
  4. Chill the cheesecake
  5. Eat cheesecake!

To make the crust, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract). Whisk to combine.

Then cut the cold butter into small pieces and add it to the flour. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs.

Add the beaten egg and form into a dough. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour.

After the dough has chilled, form it into a disc, press down on it a few times with your rolling pin to flatten it out, and then gently roll it out on a floured surface. If the dough is very crumbly and hard to work with, form it back into a disk and gently roll it out again. Just don’t overwork the dough.

Transfer dough to a prepared 9-inch springform pan. (See photos above for how to fold and transfer the dough to the springform pan.) Use your fingers to press the dough so it evenly covers the bottom and goes half way up the sides of the pa. Store in the fridge while you make the filling.

Make the Filling

First, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla sugar on a medium to high speed until pale. Add softened butter and continue beating until well combined. Add the heavy cream and beat again.

Add the Quark (or alternative) and beat one more time until everything is thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl beat egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg whites and sifted cornstarch into cheesecake batter. Pour cheesecake batter into the springform pan.

Bake in a prereheated oven at 300F/150C for 60-70 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the edges are browned and a toothpick comes out clean. I always check my cheesecake at 50 minutes and continue baking in 5 or 10 minute increments. The center of the cheesecake will be a bit wiggly and it will fall as it cools – that’s normal. 

Remove cake from oven and let cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Carefully run a knife around the edge to prevent the crust from sticking to the springform pan. Let the cheesecake cool on the counter for an hour and then several hours in the fridge. It’s best to make this cheesecake the day before you plan to serve it.

Serve with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit (optional). Enjoy!

👋 New to International Baking & Dessert Making?

Click here to download my FREE 9-Page Starter Kit so you can begin making delicious treats from Europe and beyond with confidence and ease! Or start with my 25 European Favorites cookbook. It’s filled with easy and delicious recipes that are perfect for beginners.

Yield: 10 servings

Authentic German Cheesecake

Authentic German Cheesecake

Looking for a new cheesecake recipe? Hungry for a taste of Germany? Try this authentic German cheesecake!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Bake Time 1 hour 11 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 41 minutes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 Cups [180g] flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup [50g] granulated sugar
  • 6 TBSP [85g] butter
  • 1 egg (beaten)

Filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 Cup [150g] granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp extract)
  • 6 TBSP [85g] butter (room temp)
  • 3/4 cup [170ml] heavy cream
  • 2 Cups [450g] plain Quark (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Crust

  1. Combine sifted flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla sugar or extract. 
  2. Cut in the cold butter. Add the beaten egg and then use your hands to form into a dough. 
  3. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. After the dough has chilled, form it into a disc and then roll it out on a floured surface. Shape dough into a disc again, and roll it out once or twice more. I found the dough very crumbly and hard to work with at first, but after I rolled it out twice, it became much easier to work with. 
  5. Roll dough out once more and then transfer to a prepared 9-inch springform pan. (See photos above for how to fold and transfer the dough to the springform pan.) Use your fingers to press the dough so that it evenly covers the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. 

Filling

  1. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla sugar until pale. Add softened butter and continue beating until well combined. Add the heavy cream and beat again. Add quark (or Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese) and beat one more time until everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Beat egg whites and salt to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Fold egg whites and sifted cornstarch into cheesecake batter. 
  3. Pour cheesecake batter into a 9-inch springform pan and bake on 300F for about 60 minutes. (My cheesecake needed 70 minutes.) The cheesecake is done when the edges are browned and a toothpick comes out clean. The center of the cheesecake will be a bit wiggly and it will fall as it cools - that's normal. 
  4. Let the cheesecake cool on the counter for an hour and then several hours in the fridge. It's best to make this cheesecake the day before you want to serve it. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1 slices

Amount Per Serving Calories 395Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 133mgSodium 234mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 10g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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Liat Malka Baron

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

Hello. The recipe looks wonderful and I am going to try it (my first time making a real cheesecake). I have one question though and forgive me for my health freak question...but do you think if i will replace the granulated sugar with agave it will work jist as good? Many thanks!!

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

I can't say for sure, since I haven't tried myself, but after doing a little research it looks like it could work! You'll want to reduce the amount of agave - what I saw suggested is 2/3 cup of agave for every 1 cup of white sugar. If using Greek yogurt, you might even want to drain off some of the liquid. If the batter becomes too runny after adding the agave, you can try adding a little more flour or corn starch. Let me know how it turns out!

Diane

Sunday 4th of July 2021

I've never had German cheesecake or quark but would love to give making them both a try. In the U.S., cheesecake sometimes has a graham cracker crust, or even an Oreo crust. I can now get gluten-free Oreos--how would an Oreo crust be for this cheesecake? Looking forward to trying this!!

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

Hi Diane! Classic German cheesecake usually has a crust that's more like a pie crust (or no crust at all - here's a good crustless Classic German Cheesecake if you want to try that - https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/classic-german-cheesecake-with-quark/). That said, why not try something different - I'm all for experimenting! Let me know how it goes!

The 16 best German foods you must try - A taste of abroad

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

[…] If you are a cheesecake lover, you should give this one a go: https://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/best-authentic-german-cheesecake-kasekuchen/ […]

Classic German Cheesecake with Quark - International Desserts Blog

Sunday 30th of May 2021

[…] so much easier and it really doesn’t need one! If you want to add a crust, use the one in this recipe. Without a crust this is a great gluten-free cheesecake […]

Anke

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

I'm sure you like to partner with them because the price is insane. You can get the same amount of quark for 1Euro on Germany.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

I love that Quark is ubiquitous and therefore so inexpensive in Germany! It's VERY new in the US and until recently, not at all available. I'm super glad to be able to buy it here now. And at the grocery store it's actually about the same price as Greek yogurt, French yogurt, Icelandic Skyr, etc.

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