Kuchen, the German word for cake, is used in other languages as the name for several different types of sweet desserts, pastries, and gateaux. The term itself may cover as many distinct desserts as its English counterpart "cake."
Kuchen desserts are presumably handed down from people of German heritage and as such are often popular in many areas of German settlement in the United States, particularly North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Kuchen was introduced into the Chilean cuisine when German immigrants settled southern Chile in the 1850s. Kuchens in Chile usually have fruits, such as apples, strawberries or murtas. Nontraditional Chilean kuchen with walnuts are sometimes offered. Now kuchens are found in in many Chilean bakeries and in many of the larger "hipermercados" which is the local name for large supermarkets . In Brazil, it is called "cuca" or less common "cuque" and it is found in areas of German settlement, like Rio Grande do Sul, Parana and Santa Catarina states.
Known forms of Kuchen
A pie-like pastry, with a thick, "cakey" crust and a sweet custard based filling.
A rolled-pastry, with a long spiral of dough filled, rolled, baked and then sliced to serve. (Sometimes known as a nut roll).
A coffee cake-like pastry, with veins and pockets of cinnamon and sugar baked throughout; its primary components are butter and sugar. (Most popular in Southern Indiana.)
A cheese cake-like pastry, specifically called Kasekuchen, with a yeast raised crust, filled with fruit (cherry is most popular) and a creamy custard.
A pie-like pastry, with a thick, "cakey" crust and an apple-pie like filling, often with sweet white icing on the top.
Kuchen in the news
In 2000, a kuchen was designated the state dessert of South Dakota. [*]
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