American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: Strawberry Rhubarb Kuchen

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

Kuchen is the German word for cake and depending on where you're from and what recipe your grandma handed down, kuchen can take the form of a crumb-topped coffee cake or a custard-filled, pie-like cake with a yeast raised crust. It can be round. It can be square. It can even be rectangular. Whatever form takes, it's darn delicious and as the official state dessert of South Dakota it deserves mention among the American Classics.

Alas, I don't have a German grandmother to share her recipe, but in some sense that offered me the freedom to come up with a recipe that embodied my own ideal kuchen. I'm a crumb-topped coffee cake addict from childhood, so this kuchen combines a rich yeast cake with a spring-inspired fresh strawberry rhubarb puree and yes, plenty of spiced crumbs on top. Pair that with a frosty glass of milk and you have the makings for an ideal breakfast (or midnight snack!).

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Strawberry Rhubarb Kuchen »

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

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