All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell.


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the warm water and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until bubbles appear. In another bowl combine the remaining scant 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt, and butter. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, scrape out the seeds, discard the vanilla bean, and stir the milk into the butter mixture. Let the mixture stand until it is lukewarm. Stir in the yeast mixture and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, a little at a time. Beat the dough for 5 minutes, or until smooth.
Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30-45 minutes to allow the mixture to rise, almost doubling in size.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F .
Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, and vanilla. Drop teaspoonfuls of the topping onto the dough.
Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
Cut into wedges and serve with butter.

Serves 12

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: Close-up on Cakes
Submitted By: Marlen
German Butter Cake