Indulge in the divine flavors of Russischer Zupfkuchen, a German Chocolate Cheesecake. This tasty treat features a velvety German-style cheesecake resting on a luscious chocolate crust, complemented by a tempting chocolate streusel topping.
Widely adored in Germany, this cake is savored on various occasions, including birthdays, holidays, and during cozy coffee and cake gatherings. Look no further if you're a devoted chocolate enthusiast, as Russischer Zupfkuchen is the ultimate cheesecake for you!
It is a must-try recipe, as it is entirely dairy-free and vegan, offers an incredible taste, and a cultural experience all in one delightful dessert!
If you love German desserts, make sure to also try our Sweet Pretzel Recipe or this classic German Cherry Streusel Cake. One of our absolute favorites is our vegan Franzbrötchen recipe, imagine cinnamon rolls and croissants had a baby. It is divine!
To make Russischer Zupfkuchen you need the following ingredients:
- Vegan Butter: Provides fat for richness and moisture, and helps bind the crust together. You can find vegan butter in most grocery stores in the dairy-free or vegan section, in health food stores, at specialty grocery stores as well as online.
- Dairy-free Quark: It forms the creamy base of the cheesecake filling. While American cheesecakes typically feature cream cheese, German cheesecakes use quark. It is a thick and soft German yogurt that is almost like cheese. Before attempting this recipe, I suggest checking out my dedicated article on vegan quark. This post will provide you with more information and guidance on making vegan quark at home.
- Aquafaba: This ingredient sounds fancy, but it is just the brine of a can of chickpeas. Aquafaba acts as an egg substitute, providing structure and lightness to the filling.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Are you looking for substitutions or quicker alternatives? We got you!
- Vegan Butter - Replace the vegan butter with an equal amount of coconut oil or margarine.
- Cane Sugar and Brown Sugar - Substitute both sugars with coconut sugar for a better-for-you twist.
- Flax Egg - Instead of the flax egg, you can use chia seeds. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 2 ½ tablespoons of water.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour - You can replace this with whole wheat flour or even a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend to make it gluten-free!
- Vegan Quark - If you can't find a vegan quark, make it out of store-bought dairy-free yogurt with our easy quark recipe. Alternatively, you can also use vegan cream cheese.
- Aquafaba - It can be substituted with a vegan egg replacer according to the package instructions.
- Cornstarch - You can replace cornstarch with arrowroot powder or tapioca starch in the same quantity.
- Orange Juice - You can use lemon juice or any other fruit juice as a substitute for orange juice.
- Melted Vegan Butter - Replace it with melted coconut oil or another vegan margarine.
Remember, substitutions will bring their own unique flavors and textures to the cheesecake! Enjoy exploring different variations and discovering your favorite twist on our vegan Russsischer Zupfkuchen recipe.
There are many delicious flavor variations to explore with this cheesecake recipe! Here are a few ideas to play around with to zing up the flavor of this Russischer Zupfkuchen:
- Raspberry: Instead of topping the cake with plucked crust, swirl in some raspberry sauce or purée into the cheesecake filling before baking to create a beautiful marbled effect and add a burst of fruity flavor.
- Salted Caramel: Drizzle vegan salted caramel sauce over the top of the baked cheesecake and sprinkle some flaky sea salt for a delicious sweet and salty combination.
- Peanut Butter: Add a layer of peanut butter between the chocolate crust and the cheesecake filling. You can also drizzle melted peanut butter over the top for extra peanut butter flavor.
- Coffee Flavor: Add 1-2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder or finely ground coffee to the cheesecake filling for a rich and intense coffee flavor.
Feel free to mix and match these flavor variations and play with the recipe. Experimenting with different ingredients and flavors is part of the fun of baking! If you end up whipping up a fantastic variation of this recipe, don't forget to drop a comment at the bottom of the blog post! I'm all ears and absolutely thrilled to hear about your baking adventures.
For this recipe, you need mixing bowls to combine ingredients and an electric mixer to cream vegan butter and sugars until fluffy. Use a sieve to sift dry ingredients for a smooth dough and filling.
To wrap and refrigerate the dough you need plastic wrap or parchment paper. A rolling pin creates a thin, even crust.
Bake the cheesecake in an 8-inch springform pan (Ø 20cm) and use a butter knife to loosen the cake from the pan when baked.
Accurate measurements are important for baking, so we always recommend using a scale instead of measuring cups. This will help you measure the ingredients precisely. However, the recipe is available in the metric system, as well as in cups.
👩🏽🍳 How To Make Russischer Zupfkuchen
Let's chat about how to make the best vegan Russischer Zupfkuchen! Follow our step-by-step guide. Before you start, prepare your springform pan, and prepare your flax egg by mixing flax meal and water.
Start by preparing the chocolate crust. Cream vegan butter, cane sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the flax egg and plant milk.
In a separate bowl, sift and mix the dry ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter mixture to form a crumbly dough.
Roll the dough into a disk. Then chill the dough. Divide the dough into ⅓ and ⅔. Once it is chilled, roll out the ⅔ even more to line the springform pan. Line the pan with the dough and chill until ready to be filled.
Preheat the oven. Whisk together vegan quark, sugar, aquafaba, orange juice, melted butter, salt, vanilla extract, and cornstarch.
Pour the filling onto the crust and smooth the top. Crumble reserved ⅓ dough on top of the filling and cake. Then bake the cake for 50-60 minutes at 355°F (180°C).
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, but do not remove the springform ring just yet. Allow the cake to cool and set for at least 3 hours. Then remove the ring, serve and enjoy!
💡 Baking tips
We want you to succeed when making this recipe. Follow our baking tips to get the best results!
- We recommend bringing all ingredients to room temperature before starting the recipe. This allows for better incorporation and smoother textures in the final cake.
- Handle the dough gently when rolling out the crust to avoid toughness. Overworking the dough can result in a tougher crust. Roll it out just enough to fit the pan, and also, when preparing the dough don't mix it for too long. Mix it shortly until just combined to avoid overmixing.
- After the cake is baked, it's crucial to let it cool completely before removing the springform ring or slicing it! This allows the flavors to develop and the filling to set properly.
💭 Recipe FAQ
To those unfamiliar with German, the name of this cake might appear perplexing.
Translated, it means 'Russian pluck cake.'
'Russischer' means Russian. 'Zupf' derives from 'zupfen,' which means to pick or pluck. 'Kuchen' is the German word for cake.
Even though the translation of the name may indicate this cake is from Russia, Russischer Zupfkuchen is not a cake of Russian origin.
No one knows for sure where it came from. It first publicly came up during a recipe competition initiated by the Dr. Oetker in the early 90s. Germans submitted this cake in many variations, and the company saw the opportunity. People really seemed to like this kind of cake, so Dr. Oetker created a box cake and named it 'Russischer Zupfkuchen'. From there, it gained even more popularity. Whether the name was just used as a marketing strategy by Dr. Oetker or if it had a different origin remains unclear.
Many Germans, however, claim that their grandmas have been baking this cake since at least the early 60s. Regardless of where its origins lie or who actually invented the cake, it has grown to be one of Germany’s most beloved cakes!
A significant difference lies in the type of cheese used. While American cheesecakes typically feature cream cheese, German cheesecakes use quark, a thick and soft German yogurt that is almost like cheese. If you're interested in learning more about vegan quark and how to make it at home, I recommend reading my dedicated article before trying this recipe!
🥣 How To Store Russischer Zupfkuchen
To store your Russischer Zupfkuchen, ensure it is completely cooled before proceeding. You have a couple of options:
- Room Temperature: Keep your Russischer Zupfkuchen covered and cozy at room temperature for a day or two.
- Fridge: Store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in your fridge.
Now, let's talk about freezing this delightful creation. How do you freeze Russischer Zupfkuchen?
- Freezer: You can either freeze the uncut cake or cut it into pieces beforehand. To freeze it put it into your freezer for 3 hours, or until hardened. Then wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and make sure to give it a label with the date, so it doesn't get lost in the chilly abyss! When the craving strikes, it's time to bring your cake back to life. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge.
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Vegan Russischer Zupfkuchen
- 200 grams vegan butter at room temperature
- 50 grams cane sugar
- 50 grams brown sugar
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal and 2 ½ tablespoons water mixed)
- 30 mililiters plant milk (such as oat, pea or soy)
- 300 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 500 grams vegan quark (you can make it out of vegan vanilla yogurt)
- 50 grams cane sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 60 mililiters aquafaba (brine of a can of chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 25 grams cornstarch
- 50 mililiters orange juice
- 50 mililiters melted vegan butter
- Prepare springform pan by greasing the inside, line the bottom with parchment paper, and securely attach the sides, ensuring they are locked. This ensures easy removal of the cake after baking.
- Prepare your flax egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of flax meal with 2 ½ tablespoons of water in a small dish. Let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
- In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with a whisk or paddle attachment, cream the vegan butter, cane and brown sugar together until fluffy.
- Then beat in the flax egg, and plant milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed.
- In a separate bowl, using a sieve add the dry ingredients flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine everything with a whisk.
- While the mixer is running, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two parts. The dough will be rather crumbly, but it should be soft and not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Divide the chilled dough into ⅓ and ⅔. Take the bigger dough piece and place it in between two sheets of parchment (or plastic wrap) and roll it out into a circle with your rolling pin. The circle should be around 10 inches in diameter.
- Remove the upper sheet of parchment paper. Gently invert the crust into your springform pan, removing the other piece of parchment as you go. If the crust breaks or rips a little, you can either start over by rolling it out again or simply repair the flaws by gently pinching it back together with your fingers. Trim any excess dough. Refrigerate the lined pan until ready to be filled and baked.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F.
- To make the cheesecake filling, melt the vegan butter and set it aside briefly. Place the vegan quark in a mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar, either by hand or with your electric mixer.
- Beat in the aquafaba, one tablespoon at a time. Then add the orange juice, melted butter, salt, and vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.
- Lastly, sieve in the cornstarch and beat again until well combined.
- Remove the crust from the fridge and pour the prepared filling into it. Smooth the top if necessary.
- Remove the reserved ⅓ of the dough from the fridge. Pluck off pieces of the dough and crumble them evenly over the quark filling. You can use any leftover trimmings too.
- Once ready, place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. The quark filling will be golden brown and puffed up on top. The crust should be dry to the touch but not burned when done.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Let the cake cool and set for at least 3 hours before removing the springform ring entirely.
The provided nutritional information is an estimate. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For food safety see guidelines at USDA.gov.