Thursday, April 1, 2010

RGB 1 Cube Cake with Hazelnut Marzipan

Original Post 1/23/10

                  Part 1

I have several vintage German cookbooks collected from thrift stores, all of them at least 20 years old. I love looking at the retro pictures and graphics

Some of the pictures are just fabulously kitchy:

Some I find hilarious.  How undignified for these poor fish...

A lot of the graphics manage to be tacky and cute at the same time.  These contain helpful tips...

From what I have gathered by pouring over these books, it seems the trend in cooking In 70's and 80's Germany was "International".  Many include basic recipes with a global (more like) tacky flair.  Some they claim are American I don't  recognize at all. Toast Hawaii is considered exotic.

So far these cookbooks have just mostly taken up space in the kitchen. At the start of this new year I decided to stop making fun of them and actually try out some of the more challenging and interesting baking recipes. Most  recipes I will be making are not all traditional German, they are just pretty much the flavor of what was popular in Germany's culinary world at the time.

When flipping though the pages of this book: Das Grosse Buch vom Baken (The Big Book of Baking), Publisher Stedfeld 1988, this recipe caught my eye:

So Würfelkuchen mit Haselnußmarzipan
In English: Cube Cake with Hazelnut Marzipan became my first GRB (German Retro Baking) post.

First I made the marzipan, which was surprisingly simpler than I thought.  In the back of the book there are two recipes for marzipan, I decided not to make the one in the picture which is the plain version, but went hog wild and make the hazelnut version to go with the hazelnut theme of the cake.

To make the hazelnut version, substitute hazelnuts for almonds in a traditional marzipan recipe.  There are a few other tweaks as well listed below in the recipe.

Then I mixed the batter, separated it and flavored each half, one with vanilla and the other with cocoa and coffee.

After baking and cooling.  I trimmed off the uneven parts,  halved each cake loaf lengthwise and stacked the pieces. The cake is "glued" together with hazelnut cream.  I thought about making my own but I broke down and used Nutella instead.

I rolled out the hazelnut marzipan, dusting the work space with with powdered sugar.

Then it was time to cover the cake.  The marzipan had rolled out nicely but, in order not to break it when folding it,  I used a spatula to  lift the pieces to flap over the cake, leaving the ends uncovered.

I selected a leaf shaped cookie cutter to make cutouts with the left over marzipan to embellish the top of the cake. Of course my cubes did not come out anywhere near as perfect as they are in the cookbook picture. Not exactly at Cake Wrecks candidate but Ok, it's pretty wonky.  I'll have to work on it.

When I make this in the future I will groove it up a bit, dying the cake and marzipan funky or seasonal colors (red and pink for Valentine's Day, black and orange for Halloween) and experiment with the flavors  (Peanut butter and banana with a chocolate marzipan shell anyone? Chocolate and mint for Christmas?).  The possibilities are endless, especially for decorating the marzipan shell.

All Recipes from  Das Grosse Buch vom Baken (The Big Book of Baking), Publisher Stedfeld 1988

Cubecake with Hazelnut Marzipan


  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of Margarine
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanlla
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp Strong coffee (liquid form)
  • 1 Jar of Nutella or Hazelnut Creme
  • 8 ounces of Marzipan


  • Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
  • Grease 2 loaf pans and cover bottom with baking paper
  • Mix together flour and baking powder, set aside
  • Beat together Sugar, margarine and eggs
  • Combine with flour mixture
  • Half the batter.  Add vanilla to one half and the cocoa and coffee to the other.
  • Pour into separate pans and bake 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow cakes to cool completely before removing from pan
  • Trim off  the ends and all uneven pieces from each cake and cut each cake in half lengthwise creating two even pieces, 4 in total.
  • Take one light and one dark piece, slather inside pieces with hazelnut cream and stick together.  Cover both pieces entirely with hazelnut cream.  Stack the two remaining pieces on top and cover the entire structure with hazelnut creme.
  • Roll out the marzipan, place the cake loaf in the center (I used a spatula to help with the transfer from the plate to the marzipan).
  • Trim the Marzipan so each side will fold over the cake lengthwise making a seam down the middle and trim off the excess. Leave the ends open with no marzipan.
  • Use the scraps to roll out the marzipan again and using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and press them into the top or sides of the covered cake.

Hazelnut Marzipan


  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Cups Ground Hazelnuts
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla


  • Mix together the Hazelnuts and the sugar, add the powdered sugar and stir until everything is mixed together evenly.
  • Add wet ingredients and mix together.
  • When rolling, sprinkle surface with powdered sugar instead of flour.

Note:  This recipe made almost double what was needed to cover the cake. I suggest cutting it in half, if you know how to halve an egg :-) Suggestions on what to do with my leftover hazelnut marzipan are most welcome...

Plain Marzipan


  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Cups Ground Almonds
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla


Same as above.

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