Good Cake Is a Jar of Cherries: Kirschstreuselkuchen (Sour Cherry Streusel Cake)

Even though I was disappointed with the Spiced Chocolate-Cherry Cake from Classic German Baking, I decided to try another recipe from the cookbook that also uses jarred sour cherries: Kirschstreuselkuchen (Sour Cherry Streusel Cake). There's a photo of the cake in the cookbook that makes it look oh-so-tempting. The cake has sweet cake batter and streusel sandwiched around a layer of tart cherries in their thickened juices.

To make the cake batter you cream room temperature high-fat butter (I used Président) with sugar; add eggs and vanilla; mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt); and add milk. I spread the thick batter into a parchment-lined 9-inch by 13-inch pan and topped it with cherry filling; the filling is the drained fruit from a 24-ounce jar of pitted morello cherries added back into the thickened juices (that have been cooked with cornstarch). Finally, I sprinkled on a streusel mixture made from high-fat butter, sugar, flour, salt, and a pinch of cinnamon.
My cake pretty much looked just like the photo in the cookbook (you can see a different photo of this cake on Luisa Weiss's website where she is compiling pictures of the baked goods from Classic German Baking, here). I loved the thick layer of cherry filling in the middle; it was very cherry pie-like, and I think cherry pie is the bomb. The bottom layer of cake was good but nothing exceptional. I found the streusel layer to be disappointing and essentially gratuitous because it was soft and didn't have much flavor. If I had eaten a bite of cake with my eyes closed, I would not have even known there was a streusel topping. I'm not sure if the streusel started out with a more distinct texture and flavor. The recipe says you can store this cake for several days loosely wrapped in plastic and the piece of cake I tried had been stored under a cake dome at room temperature for a day. It's possible my streusel happened to go soggy.

I really enjoyed this cake and I definitely liked it much more than the spiced chocolate-cherry cake from a few days earlier. And the cherry filling mixture would be delicious in all sorts of applications. I think this cake is a wonderful way to use jarred tart cherries.

Recipe: "Kirschstreuselkuchen (Sour Cherry Streusel Cake)," from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.

Previous Post: "Chocolate + Spice = No Dice?: Dunkler Kirschkuchen (Spiced Chocolate-Cherry Cake)," June 30, 2017.