Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

German Buttercake, Still a Philly Thang?


CoolPapaBell
 Share

Recommended Posts

When I was young, ah which was a long time ago, I remember my grandmother would always bring German buttercake I guess from Fishtown. It seems back in the early 70s and late 60s (told you I was old) it was commonplace in bakeries around the Cradle of Liberty. My parents still live across the river and my mom says she rarely sees it anymore. What happened Katie to this once popular in the Quaker City food item?

Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore. It's always too crowded.

---Yogi Berra

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CoolPapa:

I'm not acquainted with this wondrous and delicious baked good you describe. I moved to Philly in 1979 so maybe I missed it, or wasn't hanging with the right crowd. Sounds good though.

I'll keep my eyes open for another source besides the one that Rich recommended and report back if I find anything. From what the two of you are implying maybe it's a uniquely Fishtown thing?? :hmmm:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll keep my eyes open for another source besides the one that Rich recommended and report back if I find anything.  From what the two of you are implying maybe it's a uniquely Fishtown thing??  :hmmm:

i'm not a big cake purchaser and don't spend much time in bakeries, so my memory may be faulty but this is kind of ringing a bell--wasn't rindelaub's noted for it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie, no, no. It was my grandmom who did love it, but I lived in Camden until 1975 and I know a lot of places there had it. Also we moved to Marlton in said year and we could still get it a lot of places. I was only a little kid then but I kind of associated it as a Philly thang, but I’d say it’s widespread availability decreased in the 70s sometime and seem to really fade out about the same time the Rubix’s Cube ™ did. Though most people older than me are already dead, perhaps a lifelong Debellaware Valley old-timer can verify that it wasn’t just the maternal side of my family that loved it. FWIW, grandmom was not German if that’s germane.

How could you beat a breakfast of scrapple and German buttercake? I swear it USED to be very popular Philly way a few decades ago.

Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore. It's always too crowded.

---Yogi Berra

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it that super sweet stuff that tasted like it was just made with butter and sugar but is oh-so-delicious? If so, I had one a few years ago, given to me by a guy in Philly so they definitely exist. I just couldn't tell you where. But yum!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both my husband and I have fond memories of butter cake. He grew up with German mom and grand parents in N. Jersey.

I grew up in NE philly and remember getting it ALL THE TIME, along with babka, from a German bakery in the NE called Bauers Bakery. It was on Bustleton Ave near Haldeman. Always a line out the door, always the same BIG German women packing cardboard boxes and wrapping them up with string hung from the ceiling.

It burned down several years ago, and now is STILL a hole in the shopping strip, as they just knocked it down and never rebuilt. Hmmm?? and Hmph!!!

I held out hopes that it would rise from the ashes, but alas, no. Now, I get bread and danish etc from Steve Steins in Krewstown, and believe from posts here and on other sites, that Stocks is the go-to place for such caloric and cholesterol filled wonders as babka, pound cake and butter cake.

Edited by monavano (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A bit of Googling has revealed This Recipe for Philadelphia German Butter Cake that says it's the same recipe found in a dozen different places. Must be the real deal.

Hope that helps satisfy the jones for now... :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monavano, that link is to my blog--my husband grew up in south Jersey & adores this stuff so I made it for him, exactly twice since it's so deadly unhealthy (he's got cholesterol issues, so something with "butter" in the name isn't exactly recommended eating). Let me know how it turns out!

Edited by dknywbg (log)

thoughts on food, writing, and everything else: Words to Eat By

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much Katie. From the pics it would appear to be the ooey, gooey pan of love I remember.

Yup, know what I'm gonna make this weekend.

Will post pics (unless it's a disater, wish me luck :huh: )

Definitely want to see the pics! No one mentioned anything about pure butter oozing out of the cake when cut so I wasn't sure I had the right thing when I found that recipe. I guess I did. Damn that looks good! I can hear my arteries snapping shut already... :biggrin:

Good luck baking and we'll look forward to your photos and essay on the finer points of Philadelphia German Butter Cake very soon.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monavano, that link is to my blog--my husband grew up in south Jersey & adores this stuff so I made it for him, exactly twice since it's so deadly unhealthy (he's got cholesterol issues, so something with "butter" in the name isn't exactly recommended eating). Let me know how it turns out!

He's probably on one of the "statins' like my husband. :wink:

I have been trying to improve my baking skills as I'm more inclined to cook. So, with more sweets being produced in my kitchen, my husband's office has probably had to loosen at least one belt notch!

That is to say, we enjoy it for one MAYBE two days, then it's off to the office for devouring.

Share the love, and calories, I say :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A bit of Googling has revealed This Recipe for Philadelphia German Butter Cake that says it's the same recipe found in a dozen different places.  Must be the real deal.

Hope that helps satisfy the jones for now... :smile:

Yep! That picture looks like a hunk of proper, gooey butter cake. And ooooohhhh--- those browned, yummy bits around the edges!

And might I add, for those who are new to butter cake and are checking out bakeries for this delicacy, don't trust any who will sell you HALF a butter cake! Ain't no such thing as far as I'm concerned--- a decent butter cake would be impossible to cut in half without all the goo running out!

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

I had German butter cake for the first time this weekend. Understand, I have absolutely NO sweet tooth - I'd rather have another drumstick than some cake.

This cake was a revelation. I ate two huge pieces, and wanted more. Absolutely delicious. My MIL bought it at the Danish Bakery in Rocklege.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are still in Marlton I would visit Randolphs Bakery at Meetinghouse Square. I forgot the cross street but it is near the Church St & Church Rd. intersection, behind Traino's liquor, diagonally accross from the Commerce bank. They have a Butter cake that has the soft sweet center. I did not like their crust much, so I can not give the product a wholeharted endorsment, but it is definatly worth a try.

Basically I think Randolphs has some of the best cakes & danish anywhere (especially almond and walnut), but I find I do not like things they make where I can taste the shortning they use, such as donuts and pie crusts. (Keep in mind I do not like lard based potato chips either, so I may be considered finicky.)

I also believe I have seen Butter cake at McMillans in collingswood, but never had it there as it is hard to order anything besides donuts (the worlds most expensive at a buck ea.) and strawberry shortcake.

When I was young, ah which was a long time ago, I remember my grandmother would always bring German buttercake I guess from Fishtown.  It seems back in the early 70s and late 60s (told you I was old) it was commonplace in bakeries around the Cradle of Liberty. My parents still live across the river and my mom says she rarely sees it anymore.  What happened Katie to this once popular in the Quaker City food item?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, that looks good. Count me among those who grew up with a Butter cake coming home from the bakery every Sunday morning after Mass. My Mom who is 84 now and has lived in Florida for over 30 years still speaks wistfully of how much she misses German Butter cake.

I found a pretty good version a few years ago at the Swedish Bakery in the shopping center at Route 3 and 352 outside of West Chester.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all, for this interesting thread rescuing this historical dish and the linked recipe! I have never heard of this cake but want to try it now.

After having my interest piqued, I googled around a bit and also found out that a very similar cake was and is also apparently traditional in the St Louis area from the beginning of the century. It's roots there are also attributed to German immigrants and/or German bakeries but there it is call "Gooey Butter Cake". Some articles mention that they think the cake came from Philly, others maintain that it originated in St. Louis. Fascinating history. I think it might be fun to start a thread involving the St. Louis crowd to also see what they come up with in terms of memories.

As far as I can tell, originally the St. Louis cake started out like this recipe--i.e. a yeast cake base and butter-sugar topping. There are some more modern ersatz recipes made 'easier' for the home cook that use a yellow cake mix layer on the bottom and a similar or even pudding like topping...

And here is yet another angle. Apparently Paula Deen has popularized various flavored 'gooey butter cake" like pumpkin or chocolate. I've heard Paula Deen mentioned on eGullet but don't know anything about her. I didn't look at any of those recipes but they are online.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Janet Taylor
      Ever since Todd talked making cupcakes I have been cupcake crazy. Although, I am not a cake maker but more of a pie person.
      My first dessert that I love that I make is my Coconut Cream Pie w/heavy whipped cream. I don't use low fat anything and probably angioplasties is necessary after this baby.
      My second is Peach Cobbler w/rich vanilla ice cream. I never met a cobbler that I didn't like, but peach is my favorite.
      I don't make these often because I wouldn't be able to get through the front door if I did.
      How about yours?
      .....Janet
    • By amyneill
      Hi all!! 
      I work at an amazing little New Zealand Style ice cream shop in the beautiful Denver Colorado. I was hoping to get a little help on the subject of adding fruit into ice cream after extracting it and ensuring that, when the ice cream is frozen, the fruity bits don't turn into rock hard shards. I am planning on doing a cherry chocolate ice cream and I was going to soak some dried cherries that we're no longer using for something else. I was planning on using some brandy and a ton of sugar, but I was really hoping someone had a tried and true method they could send my way so that I KNOW that the fruit will be luscious as it's frozen. If you have a certain sugar ratio. I know there is the brix test, but to be honest it's been many years since pastry school and I am very rusty. Would love to hear from some of my fellow sugar-heads. 
      Thank you!
      Amy
       
    • By MightyD
      cakes, cookies, pies, that makes you smile!!!!
    • By meryll_thirteen
      Hi guys! I got excited to post something as this is my first one.
      So, the top 3 desserts I like to eat when I was still in Philippines were Halu-halo (literally means mix-mix in english), brazo de mercedes and chocolate crinkles.

      1. HALU-HALO is one of the popular food during summer. This is basically:
      shaved ice with evaporated milk,
      sugar,
      and the following:
      - nata de coco (coconut cream based on a google search, these are cube-like jellies),
      - sweetened red beans,
      - sweetened bananas,
      - cooked sago or tapioca,
      - ube or purple yam,
      - leche flan (this is also one of the best desserts to eat),
      - macapuno (made of coconut),
      - sweetend jackfruit,
      - sweetened kamote (this is similar to sweet potato but caramelized),
      - sweetened kaong (sugar palm fruit)
      - and topped with a scoop of ice cream.
      These fruits are usually bought in jars (found mostly in Asian grocery stores). You basically put the fruits at the bottom, add sugar (if you want because almost all the fruits are sweetened so it's already sweet), then you fill the cup/bowl with shaved ice and add milk. And most importantly, mix it well before you eat because you don't want to eat shaved ice with milk only and then eat the really sweet fruits last.

      2. BRAZO DE MERCEDES
      Yah, I think the name is Spanish? I tried making this but I just failed. It's kinda hard to do and takes a lot of patience but it's really worth it. This is my favourite cake! In Philippines, most bakeries sell this but my favourite is from Goldiluck's which is located in shopping malls.
      Brazo de Mercedes recipe

      3. CHOCOLATE CRINKLES
      These are my favourite chocolate cookies! I think this one isn't really from Philippines but they are really popular. I was kinda shocked when I came here in Canada, because they don't sell these cookies in the bakeries I've been to so I tried baking these on my own. Since my post is getting long, I'll put the recipe as a link at the bottom.
      http://sweb2.dmit.na...rinkles-recipe/
      I hope you enjoyed my post! Happy eating and baking everyone!
    • By ChrisZ
      Hoping for some help.  I accidentally melted an old mould that is very important to us and I've had no luck searching around for a replacement.  
      If anyone knows where I could buy one - or even has one to spare they would be willing to sell - please send me a message.
      The mould (label attached below) was originally labelled as "Easy as ABC gelatin mould", although we just call it the alphabet mould.  Yes there are lots of alphabet moulds around, including new silicone ones, but we need the specific designs on this one to replace the one I damaged.  Depending on the cost, I would consider paying for postage internationally (to Australia).
      Thanks in advance!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...