This blueberry kuchen recipe combines the best of German and American baking into one tasty breakfast treat.
A Short History of German Baking in America
During the nineteenth century, German immigrants left for the Americas at an astonishing rate. In the 1880s alone, some 1.5 million Germans emigrated to the United States. In total, some 5 million German immigrants traveled to North America, primarily in the Midwest, in the “German triangle” between Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Today, more Americans consider themselves of German ancestry than any other group. In Germany in the 19th century, rapid population growth led to the population outstripping available land, making traditional agrarian careers impossible. Life in the city also presented limited options.
And so, many young Germans moved to the Americas, seeking better opportunities. Many continued to pursue farming upon their arrival in the Americas. Most brought with them their favorite Kuchen (German coffee cake) recipe. A multitude of variations on the German Kuchen exist. Traditionally they consist in some version of a yeast based dough with a custard, cheese, or fruit topping. Often, a crumb topping (streusel) is added to the top. Kuchen, along with a cup of coffee, were an essential part of building new communities in the Midwest.
…And Here Comes the Blueberry!
This Blueberry Kuchen Recipe is a New World recipe in that blueberries are native to North America and were not widely available in Europe until the 1930s. A variety of wild blueberry plants grew throughout the Americas. Blueberries were an important food source for indigenous populations. They were consumed fresh or dried and stored to supplement winter meals. Wampanoag Indians showed the first Pilgrims how to gather fresh blueberries. The Plimoth Colony Cookbook produced by the Plymoth Antiquarian Society reconstructs several 17th century recipes and includes a very early blueberry cake. Blueberries remained a wild crop until botanists Elizabeth White and Frederick Colville domesticated them for commerical production.
Love blueberries? Here are a few more favorite blueberry recipes:
More German Baking!
Love German cakes and cookies? Check out a few more favorites
Useful Tools For Making This Blueberry Kuchen
German Blueberry Kuchen Recipe
- 8 inch springform pan
- parchment paper
- 11 tbsp butter unsalted at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line an 8 inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, combine sugar and butter. Add the eggs, stirring to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, beating to combine.
- Scrape the batter into the bottom of the pan. Smooth the top of the batter.
- In a small bowl combine the streusel ingredients. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour and sugar until coarse crumbs begin to form.
- Place the blueberries on top of the batter, then top with streusel. Place cake in the oven, on the middle rack.
- Bake 45 minutes until the top is golden brown, the filling bubbles around the edges, and the center of the cake is set.
- This sweet cake is perfect for a weekend brunch. Any leftovers will keep, wrapped tightly or stored in an airtight container for several days, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor on a weekday morning, too.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan, and remove the cake from the pan.
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