Our Readers Asked: What is stollen cake?

When ever I am asked “What is stollen cake” I can’t help but think of my childhood and my mother and grandfather. They were both bakers and stollen was always a holiday tradition at my house. Stollen is a traditional German bread that is usually served around the holidays.  It can be made in advance and is easy to ship so it makes for an amazing homemade gift for the whole family. It’s easy to make and, with a little bit of packing you can ship it around the world! If you would like a more in-depth view of the history of stollen cake, Wikipedia has an excellent article here.

what is stollen cake

What is stollen cake made of?

Stollen cake is made up of a yeasted dough, which is mixed with candied fruits that have been soaked in alcohol. The entire cake is then coated with butter, sugar, and/or icing. Stollen cake is very basic so the majority of the flavor will come from the ingredients you add. You can add as many or as few ingredients as you like to customize the overall taste. It can be varied and interesting.

Some people particularly like to add semi-traditional fruitcake ingredients, such as spices, nuts, and candied citrus peel. This is sure to give the cake a delicious flavor, but you can be more creative too!

On the whole, stolen isn’t very sweet, so a lot of traditional recipes focus on adding more sweetness to the dough. Many people achieve this by adding sugar, but some people prefer to add marzipan or vanilla. This really enhances the overall flavor. Often, the cake is finished with icing sugar to give it an extra hit of sweetness.

It’s traditional to soak the dried fruits in spirits to enhance their flavor before adding them to the final cake. In theory, any spirit could be used – brandy or rum is the traditional option. This adds a powerful richness to the cake, which is often enhanced by coating the cake with butter, and then finishing it with icing sugar. The butter absorbs into the cake, giving the whole dish a much richer flavor.

stollen cakeIs Stollen the same as fruitcake?

While stollen and fruitcake are very similar, they aren’t the same. Soaking the dried fruits in spirits is a must in any traditional fruitcake recipe, but it is only optional for stollen.

Furthermore, stollen is typically denser than a fruitcake, though they are similarly spiced.

How do you eat a stollen cake?

As with any dish, there are a number of popular ways to enjoy stollen. One of the most popular, however, is to eat it in a similar way to British malt loaf.

In this way, people may take slices of the stollen, toast them, and then spread them with butter, jam, or honey. This is a wonderful sweet treat and is typically only enjoyed in the winter months when those spices are a wonderful, warming indulgence.

How large is a stollen cake loaf?

As with any food, the answer to this question depends on the size of the cake. It’s worth bearing in mind that stollen is particularly dense thanks to the dried fruits throughout it. This means that an average stollen cake can weigh between one and two pounds.

what is stollen cake answeredWhat does stollen taste like?

Stollen is a delightfully spiced dish, which is completely unlike a lot of non-European alternatives. The traditionally German cake is spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and that comes through in the final cake. As it’s often finished with warm, salted butter, the final taste is enhanced by a small dash of salt.

The thing that truly separates stollen from the crowd is its distinctive texture. It’s very dense compared to all other cakes, so remember only to cut a thin slice!

How long will your stollen cake last?

Stollen is a very old, traditional recipe. As such, it is built to last outside of the fridge! To store it properly, use an airtight container, and store it in a cool, dark place. Using that method, the stollen will keep well for roughly a month. If you’re planning to keep the cake for longer than that, try freezing individual slices.

I highly recommend that you try your hand at making a stollen cake this year. It’s a taste sensation and a wonderful treat during the holidays!  While you can prepare it yourself, you also have many companies that prepare stollen cake for the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. It’s worth a shot if you want a very healthy cake!

Yener’s Way has a great tutorial on making stollen cake:

Please share your experiences or memories of your stollen traditions with me below!

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