Russischer Zupfkuchen – Russian Pulling Cheesecake

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This is a rich cheesecake, a very typical German cake actually, don’t ask me why it’s name is Russian Cake. According to Wikipedia there is nothing much Russian about this cake. It’s probably similar to the American “German Chocolate Cake” that has coconut in it and apparently that makes it German…now if you were to put beer in it I’d understand…but coconut….nahhhh. Anyways, let’s cut through the chase and the cake and get right to the recipe.



  • 300g flour
  • 180g sugar
  • 180g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g cocoa powder (the real backing cocoa kind)
  • 2 tsp. backing powder


  • 70g butter
  • 500g Quark (you can use 2 bricks of cream cheese instead)
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


1. With a whisk mix together the dry ingredients for the dough, making sure it’s nice and combined.

2. Add the wet ingredients of the dough and when it’s mixed in as much as possible use your hands and form a coherent dough.

3. Save a quarter of the dough for later (to top the cheese filling) and separate out yet another quarter to form the rim with. Using the half of the dough that is left, press it into a buttered 10 inch spring pan.

4. Snap on the rim of the spring pan and with one of the dough quarters roll a “snake”-like roll and form the rim with it, pressing the roll upward against the pan.

5. Start preheating the oven to 180C/350F.

6. Cream the butter, once nice and creamy add the sugar and eggs, then add the quark and heavy cream. (if you use cream cheese, cream it with the butter) Pour the liquid into the dough pan.

7. Using the last quarter of the dough start pulling little pieces off of it and place them on top of the cheese mixture. That is where the “pulling” part comes from.

8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in the 180C oven. Then remove the foil and bake another 30-40 minutes. To prevent cracking feel free to use your favorite cheese cake tricks like baking in a water bath, letting it cool in the oven ect.

9. Let it cool completely before serving!


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  1. I had no idea, that is so interesting. Now it makes sense…lol. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Okay, that looks fabulous! I’m writing this one down :)
    Thank you for the recipe!

    Oh and German Chocolate Cake was named after Sam German who developed the baking chocolate used for the cake.

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