A German Classic | Russischer Zupfkuchen Recipe

I spent most of my life hating on the combination of cheese and chocolate. But then, a short time after moving to Berlin, I encountered Philadelphia Milka and loved it, so I thought I’d give this cake a chance.

 I checked some recipes and some videos and decided to create something that is more suitable for my palate. The result was pretty epic, but then I didn’t make this cake for more than a year. Last Christmas, I was invited to an expat lady dinner for people who stayed in Berlin and didn’t get back to their families for the holidays. I thought it would be fun to make this cake for dessert. Everyone loved it, asked for the recipe so here I am, three months later, writing it. So anyone can bake it as well.

When scribbling the recipe last year, I think I made a mistake, and forgot to mention the sugar, and mixed the vanilla sugar that was meant for the filling, so the result was not so sweet at all. I was surprised to discover that all of the guests loved the flavors, even though it wasn’t “dessert sweet”. I feel like the lack of sugar in the dough, highlights the cheesiness of the filling and for me, that’s a plus. But I also have a more sugary option for the sweeter tooth among you.

So let’s get to it!

I used two 14 cm pie tins, so this recipe is suitable for it. But double the amounts for a 26 cm pie tin. The baking time would probably increase as well.


Russischer Zupfkuchen – Chocolate Cheesecake (German Classic)

makes 2 14 cm tart tins

Cocoa Pastry Ingredients:
– 100 gr butter
– ½ an egg (the other half is in the filling)
– 160 gr flour
– ¼ tsp salt
– 15 gr cacao powder
– 7 gr baking powder (½ a packet)
– 4 gr vanilla sugar (for the sweeter version – 50 gr sugar)

Cheese Filling Ingredients:
– 250 gr speisequark (white spreadable cheese – not cream cheese!)
– 35 gr soft butter
– 70 gr cream
– 30 gr sour cream
– 70 gr sugar
– ¼ tsp salt
– 1½ eggs
– ½ tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
– 15 gr cornflour

First, make the cocoa pastry cause it needs to cool down. Beat the pastry ingredients in a hand mixer (or a stand mixer, I used the former) until well combined. How to use half an egg: weight the entire egg in a clean small bowl, halve the wight, and in another bowl, weigh the ideal weight (it’s usually around 24-25 grams). Split the dough into two. Roll one part into a 4 mm thick disc. Cover one tin with the disc, press it gently into the tin and cut any excess dough with a knife. Let them set in the freezer till baking.

Heat the oven to 175°C (no convection). While the pastry is cooling down, make the cheese filling. In a large bowl whisk cheese, cream, sour cream, and butter until combined. Add sugar and salt and whisk again. Scrape the edges of the bowl if needed. Add eggs, vanilla, and cornflour. Mix again till all combined.

Transfer the cheese batter into a measuring cup. Take the tins out of the freezer. Pour the batter over the chilled pastry, almost until the rim of the tin, it rises a lot. Take the reserved cocoa dough out of the fridge, and pinch small chunks from it on the cheese batter until all covered. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the middle looks pretty firm. Let cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy!


Don’t forget to tag me on social media so I can see your results!

#ShirEats or my handle on Instagram: @ShirEats

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Shir Ashkenazi

    Thank you, Justin 🙂

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