German Lemon Cake (Zitronenkuchen)

Sundays are a time for cake in Germany. Many Germans enjoy cake with their afternoon coffee on this day. Although Germans drink coffee during the work week, typically in the late afternoon, Sundays are different. Sundays are a day of rest and even mowing your lawn is forbidden on this day. According to Ladenöffnungszeitengesetz (the German laws governing the hours of trading), even most retail stores must remain closed. So with time on one hand, cakes often get baked on Sundays.

German lemon cake

German lemon cake (Zitronenkuchen), is a staple in German bakeries throughout the country. And if you ask anyone who’s German, they will likely tell you their Oma (grandmother) had a special recipe they grew up eating.  This classic German lemon sheet cake is moist and airy, topped with a thin irresistible lemon glaze. And perhaps the best part is it comes together effortlessly in less than one hour. This cake is similar in taste to another popular German favorite called a Bee Sting Cake, minus the rich cream filling and almond topping.

German lemon cake

The Secret Ingredient

The unexpected ingredient in this fluffy cake is seltzer water. The tiny bubbles that make seltzer such a fantastic beverage, are what makes it a great ingredient in both cooking and baking. Bubbles can do amazing things. Seltzer bubbles create pockets of air which expand when heated, resulting in lighter, fluffier, and airier foods. In the baking world, that translates to a more delicate crumb that is memorable.

German lemon cake

Summer is a natural time to begin baking, cooking and even bartending with more citrus. Lemon desserts, of all kinds, with their sweet yet tart notes, are a bright, refreshing way to welcome warmer sunny days ahead, Sundays or otherwise.

German lemon cake

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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