This is a German cheesecake made with quark, a type of fresh cheese that is common in numerous European countries. It’s lighter than North American cheesecake and has a very different texture; maybe kinda like a cross between a cheesecake and a spongecake. If you’ve never had it before it’s definitely worth trying. We had eaten this type of cake when we were in Germany last year except we had no idea what we were eating at the time. But now we know! This recipe was graciously passed on to me by my German friend here and is an old family recipe of hers.
You can find quark packaged in plastic tubs and it’s available at Save-on-Foods in Regina. The recipe also calls for packaged vanilla sugar, which along with quark, is something I didn’t even know existed. Apparently it’s really popular in Germany and you can find it here too (I think I saw it in Safeway) but I just made some myself since I already had sugar and vanilla beans. I filled a 250 ml mason jar with granulated sugar and scraped the seeds of 2 vanilla beans into the sugar. I rubbed the seeds into the sugar with my fingers and buried the pods in. Then I popped the lid on, gave it a shake and let it sit for a week or so. You can do that or I guess it may be easier to just buy the packaged stuff! OK, onto the actual recipe.
125 g unsalted butter, room temperature / 6 large eggs, yolks separated from the whites / 200 g granulated sugar / 1 pkg or 9 g vanilla sugar / 1 lemon (which I forgot to include in the photo, oops!) / 1 kg quark / 100 g semolina / 14 g baking powder / 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 356F. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter. Next, mix in the sugar until well combined and then mix in the egg y0lks, again until well combined. Then add in the juice and the zest of your lemon. Now mix in the quark, semolina, flour and baking powder until you get a smooth batter.
Next, you have to whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Obviously I wanted to use my stand mixer ‘cus my arms are pretty damn weak so I transferred my batter into another bowl, washed out the mixer bowl and then used that for the egg whites. Switch to a whisk attachment and whisk the whites until you get stiff peaks, being careful not to over-whisk and deflate them. Next, gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the batter until all mixed in.
Gently spread the batter into a well-greased springform cake pan (I think mine is 9 inches) and bake for 1 hour.
After an hour the centre of my cake was still a bit jiggly in the centre so I thought it wasn’t done and popped it back in for a few minutes but it quickly browned up within those few minutes. In hindsight, the centre would’ve kept cooking a bit even after taking out of the oven so don’t be concerned if your centre doesn’t seem fully set yet; it’s still ready. Let it cool in the pan which will take at least a few hours. Don’t be surprised as the centre will deflate as it cools. After it’s cooled, wrap with clingfilm and set in the fridge. Since cheesecakes usually need to be chilled, I left it in the fridge for I think about 5 hours before slicing into it.
I had to give away cake to keep Rock from eating it all and my toddler would not stop stuffing cake into his mouth with his hands. So, success!