Last week another baking disaster happened in my kitchen. This time it involved the letter Q. I wanted to make a Quarkkuchen mit Mohn (curd cheese cake with poppy seeds) but it didn’t turn out the way I expected it to turn out. So let’s move on to the letter R. This cake also involves quark and it turned out beautifully. Quark is a fresh curd cheese that is used as a base for German cheesecakes. It is tangier than cream cheese and has a different texture. There isn’t a vegan equivalent for it, so most people use either tofu or soy yoghurt as a base for their cheesecakes. Tofu probably is a better alternative when it comes to texture, but cheesecakes made with soy yoghurt taste better, I think.
The cake pictured here is called Russischer Zupfkuchen (Russian Pull Cake). It is a cheesecake baked in a chocolate shortbread crust and both the vegan and the non-vegan version are very popular. I have no idea why this one is called a Russian cake though. My theory is that the guys at Dr. Oetker invented this as a cake à la mode because they do that from time to time. But I am probably wrong. What I can tell you though is why it is called Zupfkuchen. You pull the pieces of shortbread dough apart and sprinke them on top of the cake. I used a cookie cutter for a prettier cake, but ripping the dough apart to form crumbs would have been more traditional.
I made the filling for this cake from scratch. For the crust I used my field-tested and delicious chocolate shortbread recipe. This crust is really easy to whip up and it tastes amazing. To bring on the food clichés: melt in your mouth chocolate explosion (ouch but truth). I used a very small pan for this cake and had some crust leftovers which I turned into cookies.
Russischer Zupfkuchen (one 15 cm or 6 inch springform pan)
For the crust:
120 g (1/2 cup) coconut oil, softened
60 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
170 g (1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
20 g (3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy milk
50 g (3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) melted, refined coconut oil
300 g (1 1/4 cups) plain soy yoghurt
60 g (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
To make the crust:
Cream together coconut oil, sugar, and starch. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to coconut oil mixture. Beat with a handheld mixer until the mixture turns into crumbs. This should only take one or two minutes. Add the soy milk. Use your hands to form a smooth dough. Press 1/2 -2/3 of the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Roll out remaining dough and cut out cookies with a small cookie cutter.
To make the filling:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Pour into prepared cake pan.
Place some cookies on top of the cake. (If you have leftovers, cover them with plastic and set aside. You can bake these right after your cake is out of the oven: 180°C, 5-7 minutes.)
Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling has set and is golden-yellowish on top. Let cool and remove from pan.
P.S. All my cheesecakes are made without cream cheese. Check the recipe index for more cheesecake recipes.