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You Asked For It: Gooey Philadelphia German Butter Cake

I grew up in Philadelphia and have fond memories of Bauer's bakery and their German butter cake. Can anyone share a German butter cake recipe?

Maryann Sieminski, Oldsmar

Cindy Shea of Spring Hill shares a recipe she found at I happen to be very familiar with Philadelphia butter cake because the Holmesburg Bakery in Philadelphia has been in my husband's family for more than 100 years. When I asked his aunt about Bauer's bakery, she said there was a fire there a few years back and they are no longer in business. Hopefully Cindy's version will bring back memories for Maryann. This cake has a deliciously buttery sweetness. I chose to use butter rather than shortening and baked it in a 9 x 13 pan because that's the only way I've ever seen this cake. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, I highly recommend that method to beating by hand. The dough hook makes such a nice smooth dough. It is not sticky at all. I did not add the vanilla in the topping and I'm not sure it really needs it.

Recipe request

Years ago there was a bakery on Main Street in Dunedin, and Carol Pappas of Crystal Beach is looking for a recipe she remembers having there for Nanaimo bars. Although she doesn't remember the name of the bakery she remembers the Nanaimo bars to be rich and chocolaty. Is anyone familiar with Nanaimo bars, which are a Canadian treat, who can share a recipe?

A friendly reminder

First, this column does not work without you, the readers, and I appreciate all the requests and recipes that I receive. Thank you! I want to remind everyone who submits requests and recipes to please remember to not only include your phone number, name and city of residence, but please proofread your recipe before mailing or hitting enter. I am unable to use incomplete recipes, and if I don't have a way to contact you I can't share your submission. Recently I've had folks send recipes that say things like "follow the directions for either the bread or muffins" and then don't include those directions. Frequently, I receive recipes that include an ingredient in the instructions but not in the ingredient list. I can't presume what the amount of, say, brown sugar should be. You work so hard to look up recipes, copy and submit them, please take an extra minute to proofread and add your contact information. Thanks for the extra attention.

Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, P.O. Box 1159, Crystal Beach, FL 34681 or email [email protected] Include your name, city and phone number.


Gooey Philadelphia German Butter Cake

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup butter flavor shortening or ¼ cup butter, room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast

½ cup warm milk (100 to

110 degrees)

2 ¼ cups flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1 cup unsalted butter

cup flour

2 cups superfine sugar

2 extra-large eggs

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract, optional

Cream sugar, butter and salt in a bowl. Add egg and beat together for 1 minute.

Dissolve yeast in warm milk.

To egg/sugar mixture add flour, then yeast mixture and vanilla, beating about 3 minutes, with dough hook or by hand. Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 1 minute. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let stand in a warm place to rise 1 hour or until double.

To make topping, cream butter in a mixer. In a separate bowl, combine flour and sugar and gradually beat into butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Gradually add just enough milk to bring mixture to a spreading consistency, being careful not to make it too runny. Set aside until dough is doubled and ready for use.

When dough is doubled, punch it down and divide in two sections. Roll or pat halves into bottom of two well-greased 8-inch square pans or a 9- by 13-inch pan. Crimp edges halfway up sides to hold topping. Prick dough with a fork to reduce bubbling. Spread topping evenly over dough. Let stand 20 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 30 minutes for 9- by 13-inch or 20 minutes in the smaller pan or until top is just golden and crusty, but still gooey. Do not overbake.

Source: Cindy Shea of Spring Hill


You Asked For It: Gooey Philadelphia German Butter Cake 06/26/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:30am]
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