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Philly style German butter cake?

Hey folks.

I'm conducting some research on Philly style German butter cake for the college food writing course I'm enrolled in. I'm attempting to analyze, from within the context of a narrative, zine-style piece, how--or if--Philly butter cake lives on in the Greater Philadelphia area.

I've already done some on-the-ground reporting, but was wondering if folks would be able to reach out and tell me about their own histories with it: If they know about it, if they like or don't like it, and how it is that they were first introduced to it--as a kid, by a friend, etc.

Thanks in advance everyone.

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    1. German style butter cake most definitely lives on in our area. I was first introduced to it after I was married and when we lived in Warminster. I used to buy it at Hahn's Pastry Shop in the '80's and up until they closed a number of years ago. Most recently, I have purchased it at Distelfink's Bakery in Lansdale and Lisa's Kitchen in Coopersburg. Both places make traditional, gooey and delicious butter cakes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: curly girl

        This is great, thanks for your reply. I've been able to sample the cakes produced in and around northeast Philly at Mayfair Bakery, Heagele's and Holmesburg Bakery. I might pay a visit to the Flying Monkey in order to see if theirs abides by what seems to be a unique and traditional sort of flavor profile

      2. I am not a native but Butter Cake, specifically "Stocks Butter Cake" was one of the first Philly foods I was introduced to on moving here - during a party at a community based organization I worked for and still work with - in my neighborhood - Stocks butter cake is an essential part of the holiday table and the neighborhood's diaspora come in in droves from the burbs to purchase them on the holidays - to the un acclimated they are like much PA German rooted foods very dense and very sweet - but the locals are fiercely loyal and I have been won over - I like to bring them as gifts to NYers just to challenge the idea of just how much fat and sugar you can get into a piece of cake.

        1. Bauer's Bakery in NE Philly had legendary German butter cake.
          That, and their babka- legendary!

          1. Booth's Corner in Bethel sells it too. It's in the Amish bakery section, so I'm sure it's authentic (Pennsylvania Dutch and all) and it's DELICIOUS.

            1. I am 68 years old. I remember living in the Germantown/West Oak Lane section of the city as a child and being sent to the German bakery early every Friday morning to purchase a butter cake. It was always wrapped in white paper, like a package, and tied with twine. On the walk back, I would try to open that package up just enough to pick some of the crispy butter/sugar crust off the top. The closest I have come to that childhood butter cake is the one from Fritz's Bakery. They have two locations: Langhorn & Bensalem. Killer sticky buns, too.

              1. Butter Crumbs in Chalfont also has an excellent butter cake. Just that right ratio of goo to cake

                1. We never had buttercake in my house as a child that I recall - my parents were both health care professionals and we ate on the healthier side (skim milk and salads in the mid-60s). But my first buttercake experience was from a small corner bakery around the corner from our school/church in East Oak Lane/Olney. I was about 11 years old and skipped Mass with a friend, went and got a half buttercake and sat on someone's steps and ate it. Wonderful! But I couldn't tell anyone because I was supposed to be at church!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bigley9

                    Do you remember the name of the church?

                    1. re: PattiCakes

                      St Helena's! 5th and Godfrey. The bakery was on Spencer St I think.

                      1. re: Bigley9

                        We were St. Benedict's. The bakery might have been at E. Chelten and Lambert or Woodstock.

                  2. Thanks so much for the replies--it's incredibly interesting for me to hear these stories and histories.

                    I'm currently grappling with the divide that seems to crop up between the 'authentic' German bakeries on the periphery of the city versus how butter cake is being made, or evolved perhaps, at other locations--Flying Monkey right in Reading Terminal, for instance. It seems like that yeasted cake base is what gets left by the wayside.

                    1. Is there a recipe for this that would be good to try?

                      2 Replies