This recipe for Käsekuchen results in a close to classic German cheesecake which is flavored with vanilla and lemon and just slightly sweet and a bit tangy.
In the last ten years, I moved so many times that I start losing track of my old addresses. In what street was I living in Memphis again? Kansas City? Right before we left Atlanta I ordered dog food and I tipped in my former IL zip code and had to email the company to make sure my poor doggy gets something to eat. I will never get used to moving and it is messing with my roots and sometimes I lose the balance. This is the moment for me to bake a Käsekuchen because just the smell of it makes this new walls feel more like home. And then I get cozy and watch one of my favorite movies and make a big pot of tea and I am a step closer to feel stable again.
Growing up in Germany Käsekuchen was one of my first cakes I ever baked. There are a thousand and then some more recipes for it out there and I tried two-thirds of them. Some are firm, meringue-topped and some are crustless but mine is the best (yes take that from a serious skilled Käsekuchen eater). When I moved to the US I had to overcome an obstacle. American cheesecake is made with cream cheese but Quark is the main ingredient for a traditional German Käsekuchen and really hard to find and then somehow still didn’t taste the same. I thought there is no way around until I found skyr the Icelandic yogurt which is very similar and has just the right consistency. And now we are back in Käsekuchen baking game and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
A German Käsekuchen is less dense and lighter in texture but this recipe leads to a creamy and even softer cheesecake without adding beaten egg whites. This recipe won’t work well with Greek yogurt, I got the best results with skyr the Icelandic yogurt but only a few brands that make Quark work well, both are 0.2% fat.
- for the crust:
- 120 g / ¾ cup fine brown rice flour + a little more for kneading
- 50 g / ½ cup almond flour
- 20 g / 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but without the crust will be crumblier)
- 115 g / ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 1 large egg
- for the filling:
- 500 g / 1 ¾ cups plain Icelandic yogurt (fat-free, not Greek)
- 475 ml / 2 cups milk
- 200 g / 1 cup granulated sugar
- 160 ml / ⅔ cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, grated zest, and juice
- Prepare the crust: place the brown rice flour, almond flour, cornstarch, sugar, and xanthan gum in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 times until the butter is cut into the flours. Add the egg and pulse a couple more times. The dough should just stick together when pressed.
- Turn the dough onto a rice-floured surface and knead a few times until it comes together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and grease your springform pan (24 cm / 9-inch springform pan or similar). Transfer the dough into the springform pan and press onto the bottom and about 2.5 cm / 1 inch up the rim, you can use a rolling pin, your fingers or the bottom of a glass for that. Set aside.
- Add all ingredients for the filling into a large mixing bowl and mix well. The filling will be very liquid. Pour the filling into the springform pan, carefully place the pan on a baking sheet with a rim and bake for 60 minutes.
- Although, the Käsekuchen might be still pale and wobbly turn off the oven and leave your oven door slightly ajar. If necessary stick a wooden spoon in the door to keep it open. The Käsekuchen should cool down very slowly to prevent cracks on the top. It will continue baking and get darker at the edge. Store covered in the refrigerator and it will stay tasty for at least four days.
☛ Looking for more German recipes? Check out German Krautsalat–coleslaw and Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake!