Igelkuchen: German Hedgehog Cake
If you're got a weakness for cute, forest creatures like I do, then you'll love this adorable Igelkuchen or Hedgehog Cake. My Oma Sieghilde used to make this cake, which is often made for kids birthday parties despite the coffee that's added to the German pudding-based buttercream.
Coffee & Cake
About this Recipe
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Two Europe trips in these last two months and now it's almost Fall, my not so little baby turned one this past Sunday... WHERE IS TIME GOING? Anyways, I wanted to make sure I get a few recipes out to you guys who have been so patiently waiting.
First up is this Igelkuchen, which always made me so happy as a child. I just have a total thing for forest creatures, and this cake brings back sentimental memories since my Oma Sieghilde would sometimes make it for special events like kids birthdays and such. Her and my Opa actually lived backed up to a forest, and I remember hedgehogs sometimes sleeping under her outdoor table bench.. so cute!
Anyways, back to the cake! I got this recipe from my aunt Heidrun. This Igelkuchen consists of a spongecake base with a pudding-based buttercream that has some espresso in it. Pudding-based buttercream is common in Germany to use and is not nearly as sweet as the American buttercream. I made my pudding from scratch because it's really so simple, and this way you don't get all the crappy additives that some ready-to-use pudding mixes have in them. After shaping and assembling the cake in a soup or pasta bowl, it's then garnished with caramelized almond slivers and some chocolate covered espresso beans. YUM!
I served this cake at Zoë's first birthday party last weekend and everybody loved it! I hope you will enjoy it, too. Please scroll down for the recipe.
Ingredients For Frikadellen
- 5 eggs (separate the whites from the yolks)
- 5 tablespoon water
- 1 c (200 g) sugar
- 2 c + 1 tablespoon (250 g) flour
- 6 Tablespoons (50 g) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon (8 g) baking powder
- 1 quart/liter milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ c (65 g) cornstarch
- ⅓ + 2 tablespoon (90 g) sugar
- 1 c + 1 tablespoon (250 g) butter at room temperature
- 3 tablespoon freshly made espresso (or instant coffee powder)
- Work In Strips: My aunt recommended this method to me. By cutting the sponge cake into strips, you're able to piece your hedgehog together more easily. Make sure you build it in a larger soup or pasta bowl for the ideal shape. If you use a bigger form, it may not have the right shape.
- Moisten Your Sponge: If you would like, you can brush some coffee or Kirschwasser like this one by Schladerer onto the sponge (assuming kids won't be eating the cake), but that's totally optional. The cake will have great flavor either way.
German Cakes for Birthday Parties
Igelkuchen Step By Step Instructions
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Combine sugar and egg yolks and beat until creamy. Fold in the sifted flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Spread onto a baking sheet prepped with parchment paper, and bake for about 25 minutes at 390 F/200 C.
For the pudding, bring the milk, vanilla bean and scraped out seeds to a boil, reserving some of the milk to whisk together with the sugar and cornstarch. Once boiling, remove from heat, whisk in the cornstarch mixture, return to the burner and bring to a boil again, allowing the pudding to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap immediately and allow to cool down to room temperature. Do not put in the fridge to cool, or it won't mix well with the butter later on.
Beat the room temperature butter until creamy, then tablespoon by tablespoon add in the room temperature pudding until combined.
Cut the cooled down sponge into finger-thick strips and lay the strips next to each other in the bottom of the bowl, spread on a half inch layer of buttercream, then repeat a layer of sponge and buttercream until the top is flat. If desired, brush on some clear fruit brandy such as Kirschwasser onto each sponge layer (only if no kids will be eating from it).
Turn over the hedgehog onto a cake platter, spread on some buttercream using an angled spatula on the outside. Using leftover sponge, form the head and spread on buttercream. Toast the slivered almonds in a pan with some butter, and add in some sugar, allowing it to caramelize. Transfer to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spread out, so the slivers won't stick together. Allow to cool completely, then use the slivers to add the spikes of your hedgehog. Create eyes and a nose using chocolate-covered espresso beans.
There are so many ways to enjoy a delicious Schnitzel! Next I will post the recipe for a really great version: the Zigeunerschnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel. Make sure to subscribe to my blog now, so you're not missing out when this new recipe post goes live!
I received compensation from Niche Import Co. in exchange for writing this post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may be compensated if you click certain links.