Summery Cherry Sheet Cake with Streusel Topping
I don’t even love cherries, fresh or preserved, yet I loved this cake. It was a treat for the eyes even before I pulled it out of the oven, with its golden Streusel and deep red cherry juice bubbling over. Photographing it proved difficult, because all I wanted to do was eat it.
Blechkuchen, or sheet cakes, are pretty popular here in Germany, and with good reason. They are usually layers of sweetness atop a cake or yeast dough base. This particular sheet cake starts with a cake layer, then is layered with a easy-to-assemble cherry filling, and topped with the most luscious and decadent of toppings (in my humble opinion): the Streusel. I just love all that buttery goodness; I can’t help it. I think I would put Streusel on anything if I thought I could get away with it.
There's more at thesugarhaus!
Cherry Sheet Cake with Streusel (Kirsch Blechkuchen)
For the cake:
1 cup (225g) butter, room temperature
1 cup (175g) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 ½ cups (300g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
50 ounces (1440g) canned or jarred pitted, sweet cherries*, in juice (I probably wouldn’t use maraschino)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet instant vanilla pudding (for 2 cups milk)
For the Streusel:
½ cup (115g) butter
2/3 cup (125g) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 ¼ cups (175g) flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
*If you would prefer to use fresh cherries, that would be delicious too. Simply replace the canned/jarred with 2.2 pounds (1kg) of cherries, and add 2 cups cherry juice.
Line a baking sheet (10.5 x 15 inches or close, minimum 1 inch deep) with baking paper with overhang on all sides.
To prepare the cake batter mix the soft butter, sugar and vanilla sugar on medium until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each, until thoroughly combined. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixing bowl into the wet ingredients, and then mix on low until just combined. Set aside.
For the cherry filling, pour two cups of the juice from the cans/jars of cherries and set aside. Strain the cherries (any remaining juice is not needed for this recipe). In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of the cherry juice and the instant vanilla pudding powder. In a small saucepan combine the remaining cherry juice and sugar, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, pour in the mixed pudding mixture, and whisk, while boiling, for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat, and combine the cherries and cherry pudding mix in a bowl and leave to cool a little.
Preheat oven to 360F (180C), or adjust lower for fan-forced (usually about 20 degrees lower, but check your manufacturer’s instructions). To prepare the Streusel, melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, flour and salt in a mixing bowl and stir well. Pour the melted butter over the flour mix, and using your fingers, combine until you have small and medium, uneven chunks. Don’t over mix, because chunks make better streusel than fine crumb-like ones!
Now to the assembly. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly using a spatula or offset knife (you may find your baking paper wants to slide around, so work patiently!). Spoon the cherry mixture over the top, and use the spoon to spread over evenly. Then, using your fingers again, spread the Streusel topping all over. Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the Streusel is golden, and cherry juice is bubbling. I did have some spillover and oven clean-up, so if you’d like, place a sheet of baking paper or foil along the bottom of the oven about halfway through cooking.