Classic German Butterkuchen topped with brandy soaked pears and sliced almonds – almond pear butterkuchen (butter cake) is the perfect addition to a boozy weekend brunch!
One of the easiest sweet, yeasted, breads topped with jarred pears and slivered almonds!
Butterkuchen is a classic German bake. It is usually very plain and gets its name of butter cake because small cubes of butter are pressed into the dough before baking! The only problem is sometimes it has a tendency to dry out or get stale quickly. However, with the addition of jarred pears (or my favorite – pears soaked in Brandy), this cake will stay moist for up to a week!
My fondest memory of butterkuchen is actually pretty recent. I was visiting my Oma a few years ago and she often has a hard time sleeping, so when my mom and I woke up around 6 am and went into the kitchen she had just baked an entire butterkuchen and it was so warm and delicious! We were still supposed to go to breakfast but we were barely hungry anymore because we ate so much of it!
Tips for making Almond Butterkuchen
- Whenever you are making a yeasted dough make sure to knead it for a while, the dough should become one clean ball with smooth sides. Keep kneading for a couple minutes after it comes together.
- When spreading the dough out into the brownie pan, try to gently press it towards all of the edges without tearing it.
- If the dough keeps shrinking back when stretching it out, let it sit and rest for five minutes, then continue to stretch it. Let it rest to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
- Don’t worry too much about laying the pears out perfectly, you’re just going for relatively even coverage.
What is Classic German Butterkuchen?
Butterkuchen is different from an American gooey butter cake. This cake has more of a soft bread base which is then baked with blocks of butter on top that melt into to dough – creating a very moist cake. Many also call this a Zuckerkuchen because of the thick layer of sugar on top that creates a delicious crunchy crust. This version is a bit thicker than the traditional but it works well with the soaked pears!
What if I don’t want to use pears?
Even if you don’t like pears, I recommend trying this! They add such a wonderful moisture and sweetness to the cake; but, if you really don’t want to use them here are some alternatives:
Ingredients for Almond Pear Butterkuchen
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for this butterkcuhen! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough as well as a generous amount sprinkled on top to create a delicious sugar crust.
- Milk: The cake uses milk as the liquid in the dough; however, it will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: This dough is different from most in that there is no oil or butter in the actual dough. Rather the dough is dimpled with cold cubes of butter before baking.
- Yeast: In this recipe, instant yeast is used. However, if you are using active dry, simply bloom the yeast in the milk alone first and then proceed with the recipe.
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store.
- Almond & Vanilla Extract: Both of these extracts add extra flavor to the dough.
- Salt: Salt is added to balance out the sweetness of the recipe.
- Soaked Pears: For this recipe you will soaked pears. They can either be soaked in a simple syrup, or for something a little more fun, try brandy soaked pears!
- Sliced Almonds: Rather than slivered almonds which are like little spikes or sticks, sliced almonds are little wafer thin shavings of almond that add a little bit of texture and flavor to this butterkuchen.
More of a chocolate cake person? Try these!
How to make Almond Butterkuchen
Make the Yeasted Dough
- Start by adding the flour, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add in the lukewarm milk, egg, extracts, and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 10-15 minutes. The dough should be smooth and the sides of the bowl, clean.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl that is at least twice the size. Cover the bowl with plastic, a proofing bag, or a towel, and set somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour.
- While the dough is resting, cut the cold butter into 1/4″ cubes, slice (if they are thick) and drain the pears, and measure out the extra sugar and sliced almonds.
Assembling the Butterkuchen
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (350 F if convection).
- After an hour has passed, and the dough has doubled in size, gently roll it out to rectangle that is slightly smaller than a 9×13 pan. Grease the 9×13 pan and then place the dough into the center. Working gently, press the dough from the center out to the edges and corners of the pan. If the dough continues to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes before continuing.
- Once the dough has been fully stretched, place it somewhere warm to rest for ten minutes. Now, dimple the dough about 3/4″ apart with the back end of a wooden spoon.
- Press the cold cubed butter into the dimples. Then, top with the sliced pears. They should cover the whole surface but they don’t need to be perfectly arranged.
- Then, layer the sugar and the sliced almonds over the pears. Place the pan somewhere warm to rest for another 10 minutes.
- Bake the butterkuchen on the middle rack for 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Almond Pear Butterkuchen
- Stand Mixer
- 500 grams ap flour
- 10 grams instant yeast
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- 250 ml milk lukewarm
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 grams butter cold and cubed
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 125 grams sliced almonds
- 1.5 16 oz jars of soaked/preserved pears drained
Making the Dough
- In a large stand mixing bowl, add flour, sugar and yeast, and whisk together.
- Add lukewarm milk, egg, salt and extracts and knead together with the dough hook on low speed for 15 min or until the dough is a smooth cohesive ball of dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place, smooth side up, in a greased bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or proofing bag and set it somewhere warm to rest for 1 hour.
Shaping & Baking the Butterkuchen
- While the dough is resting, grease a 9" x 13" brownie pan.
- Drain and slice the pears, cube the butter into 1/4" cubes (but leave in the fridge), and measure out the almonds and sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F or 350 F convection.
- After 1 hour has passed, the dough should have doubled in size and be very soft and puffy.
- Gently roll out the dough to just slightly smaller than the brownie pan, lift the dough into the pan and gently press out from the center until the dough reaches the edges of the pan.
- Cover the pan and let the dough rest somewhere warm for 10 more minutes.
- After 10 minutes, dimple the dough about every 3/4" with the handle of a wooden spoon. Then place the cubes of butter into the dimples (feel free to press them in a little if they are sitting on top). If you don't have enough dimples for the butter, just add more!
- Then lay out the drained pears on top of the dough and butter. This does not need to be perfect just evenly distributed.
- Let the assembled dough rest for 10 more minutes. Then bake for 30 – 35 min until golden brown!
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack before slicing.