Baltic Maid

Traditional German Cheesecake – Russischer Zupfkuchen

Posted on | March 5, 2012 | 2 Comments

Russischer Zupfkuchen is a traditional German Cheesecake which combines chocolate cake and cheese cake. It’s a dream and one of my all-time favourite cakes. I have been making this recipe for at least 15 years and despite my tendency to change recipe to make them healthier, this one remains unchanged. It is too perfect to change anything…

 For the cheesecake filling, a German dairy product called “Quark” is used. In Romania where I lived for a few years, Quark is called brânză de vaci. Unfortunately, this is not available in every country or region, including this part of California. Besides bread, cheese, and sausages, Quark is probably one of the most missed products by Germans who live abroad. At least these items are on my list… :-P Anyways, since I cannot buy Quark here I cannot make this cake which makes me very unhappy. However, a little while ago I saw that Jen from Prairiesummers made this cake with Greek Yogurt instead of Quark, and it seemed to work. I had to try it.  My verdict: If you have Quark, then use it but for everyone else Greek Yogurt is definitely worth a try. It was delicious. Thanks for the inspiration, Jen!

Besides Quark, you need a certain type of vanilla pudding powder which is not the typical type used here in the States but with some luck you might find it. (Instant or Cook&Serve pudding powders will not do in this recipe.) This is what the package looks like.


Chocolate Dough

  • 300 g / 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 200 g / 5/6 cup margarine, room temperature
  • 150 g / 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder


  • 250 g margarine or butter, unsalted (1 cup + about 2 tsp), room temperature
  • 250 g / 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 500 g / 17.6 ounces Quark or Greek Yogurt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar or substitute with vanilla extract
  • 1 package vanilla pudding
  • 3 egg white


Grease the sides of a springform (25 cm / 10 inches) and either grease the bottom of the springform or line it with a piece of parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients for the dough and combine them well. Set one third of the dough aside.  This third will be used later. Use the rest of the dough to line the inside of the springform, both the bottom and the sides. The dough on the sides needs to be about 5 cm or 2 inches high.

For the filling, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they become stiff. Set aside. Cream the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer. Add the Quark (or Greek Yogurt), egg yolks, vanilla sugar or extract and the pudding powder. Combine well. Lift the stiff egg whites carefully under the batter.  Pour the filling into the spring form.

Now top the cake with the one third of the chocolate dough. Pull smaller dough pieces off the dough and place them on the filling. This ‘pulling’ (=zupfen) gave the cake its name “Zupfkuchen”.

Bake at 180°C (356°F) for about an hour.

Let the cake cool completely before serving. It tastes even better on the second day so preparing the cake a day in advance is optimal.

Guten Appetit!


Russischer Zupfkuchen



  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) Mehl
  • 200 g (5/6 cup) Margarine, Zimmertemperatur
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) Zucker
  • 1 Ei
  • 4 EL Kakao
  • 2 1/4 TL Backpulver


  • 250 g (2 cups + 2 TL) Margarine oder Butter, ungesalzen, Zimmertemperatur
  • 250 g (1 1/4 cup) Zucker
  • 500 g (17.6 ounces) Quark (ersatzweise Griechischen Joghurt nehmen)
  • 3 Eigelb
  • 1 P Vanillezucker (ersatzweise auch Vanilleextrakt)
  • 1 P Vanillepuddingpulver
  • 3 Eiweiβ


Die Seiten einer Springform (25 cm / 10 inches) einfetten. Den Boden der Springform entweder einfetten oder mit Backpapier auslegen. 

Alle Zutaten für den Teig vermengen und gut verkneten. Ein Drittel des Teiges beiseite stellen. Mit dem Rest des Teiges den Boden und die Seiten (ca. 5 cm / 2”) auskleiden.

Für die Füllung, die drei Eiweiβ steif schlagen und beiseite stellen. Die Butter zusammen mit dem Zucker schaumig schlagen. Den Quark (oder griechischen Joghurt), die Eigelb, den Vanillezucker (oder das Extrakt) und das Puddingpulver zur Butter geben und gut vermengen. Das steifgeschlagene Eiweiβ vorischtig unter den Teig heben. Die Füllung nun in die Springform geben.

Den restlichen Teig auf der Füllung verteilen indem man kleinere Stücke von Teig “zupft” und dann auf die Füllung gibt.

Bei 180°C (356°F) für ca. eine Stunde backen.

Den Kuchen abkühlen lassen bevor man ihn serviert. Er schmeckt am zweiten Tag am besten, also am besten einen Tag im Voraus backen.


2 Responses to “Traditional German Cheesecake – Russischer Zupfkuchen”

  1. Jen
    March 5th, 2012 @ 11:44

    Freut mich, dass es funktioniert hat. Mein Mann bekommt immernoch leuchtende Augen, wenn er Russ. Zupfkuchen hoert.

  2. BalticMaid
    March 7th, 2012 @ 23:14

    :-) the taste of home… :-)

Leave a Reply

1 × = 5

Germany on a plate. The World in a bowl.

Welcome to the Culinary Adventures from around the World by the German Baltic Maid.

Advertise here

Contact balticmaid(at)