Rita's Dresdner Stollen Cake 

This Dresdner Stollen is a Christmas cake that come’s from Rita’s grandmother Oma Irmgard in Germany. For Rita, growing up in communist East Germany meant treats were scarce, but a lot of preparation went into making the dense, buttery Christmas cake once a year. This is a scaled down version for just 1 small cake.


This recipe was part of Anchor’s partnership with The AM Show and Newshub where we discovered what gave Kiwis all around New Zealand the feeling of home

180 mins serves 4


1 kg flour 

100 g fresh yeast or 2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 L milk

200g sugar

500g unsalted butter

Zest of 1 Lemon (spray free)

125 ground sweet almonds

If available 50g of ground bitter almonds or bitter almond flavouring

10g of Salt

30g Vanilla Sugar or some Vanilla Essence

375g Raisins (if desired soaked in Rum overnight)

100g Currants

150g chopped candied orange peel (orangeat) and candied lemon peel (zitronat)


For the Dusting of the top after baking:

200g of Unsalted Butter

100-200g of Icing Sugar

(This is a yeast-based cake and thus has more than one step in its preparation.)

Before you start make sure:

  • All ingredients have the same temperature.
  • Salt and fat do not come into direct contact with the yeast.
  • Do not expose the dough to a draft while it is rising.
  • Prepare a preliminary dough to test the yeast.

Please Note: You can make this by hand (the way I learnt) or use a stand mixer with the dough attachment. Also, while regular instant yeast works in this recipe, fresh baker’s yeast that's formulated for high-sugar doughs, makes a huge (and positive) difference both in rising time and the texture of the finished product (I buy mine if I can, from a Mediterranean Food Supply place in the South Island).


If using dry yeast, dissolve it in some of the warm milk with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Allow to rise “proof" in a warm place until bubbly. Otherwise:

  1. Sift the flour into a large (!) mixing bowl; Make a well in the center of the flour. 
  2. Crumble the fresh yeast in a small bowl and mash together with a couple of tablespoons of the sugar until the yeast is liquid. 
  3. Heat the milk until just warm to the touch.
  4. Pour into the well in the flour, along with the yeast/sugar mixture.
  5. Draw in some (but not all) of the flour with a wooden spoon or with your fingers, mixing well, to make a thick batter in the centre of your bowl.
  6. Dust some of the “outside” flour over the top, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and allow this "sponge" to rise in a warm place until bubbling and doubled in bulk -- about 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile melt the butter (do not brown!) and zest your lemon.
  8. When the “sponge” in the middle has risen sufficiently, beat the batter briefly (by hand or with a wooden spoon) to deflate the mixture then add all other ingredients and gently kneed the dough until it comes clean off your hands (or tools) and the side of the bowl (some elbow grease is needed here if you do this by hand). If needed you may add some extra flour to help with this process.
  9. When sufficiently kneaded, place the dough in a well-buttered bowl, lightly buttering the surface of the dough, and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise in a warm/draft-free place until double in bulk -- approximately 1 1/2 hours. 
  10. Punch the dough down with your fist and knead very thorough again by hand on a surface that has been dusted with flour. Shape into an Oval Loaf and slightly cut the top lengthwise (not to deep!). Place on a Flat Oven Tray lined with baking paper or greased with butter.
  11. Preheat your Oven to 175 - 200 °C  
  12. Bake for about 1 hour on the middle rack (fan-forced) or slightly longer if conventional oven is used. Check if your Stollen is done by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean your cake is done – it should look light brown all around.
  13. Let it cool down a little after baking.
  14. Now heat the butter until liquid and brush your stollen (use a pastry brush) all around with it, sift over the icing sugar whilst the butter is still wet and liquid, if desired, repeat this process. 
  15. Your Stollen should rest at least 1 week in a cool, dark place before cutting so the flavours can work their way through the cake.