The Southern dessert canon is loaded with sweet treats that represent cultural influences that have swept through our region, specifically in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. As a result, we’ve been spoiled by a number of treats including kuchen, a German word meaning “cake.” In her book, Cake: A Slice of History, food historian Alysa Levene explains that German immigrants were fond of social occasions that called for coffee and cake. “The German style of kaffe und kuchen was part of Irma Rombauer’s family heritage and explains the heavy presence of German cakes in The Joy of Cooking,” she writes. While some types of kuchen are more bread-like and made with a yeasted dough, our version has a tender, fluffy crumb and a dimpled top covered with strawberries and almonds.
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add yolks and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture in 5 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition. Transfer batter to a greased (with butter) and floured 9-inch round cake pan.
Arrange sliced strawberries in an even layer over top of batter, and sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds. Sprinkle ground cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar evenly over strawberries.
Bake in preheated oven until browned and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack until room temperature, about 20 minutes, or serve warm.