Eierschecke is a confectionery speciality from Saxony and Thuringia. It is a layer cake with a base layer of cake, a middle layer of quark cheesecake and a top layer of vanilla custard. Parts of it are covered with a glaze made of cream, whole egg, sugar and flour for thickening. The term originates from a piece of men's clothing in the 14th century which was called Schecke and was made up of a medium-length tunic with a very tight waistline and was worn with a Dusing, a hip belt. The cake was named after this "tripartite garment" (upper part, belt, lower part).
As the name is derived from a tripartite piece of clothing, Eierschecke consists of three parts or layers: the upper layer is made of creamy stirred egg yolk with butter, sugar, vanilla pudding and, lastly, beaten egg whites, which are folded into the batter. The middle layer (the "belt") consists of a kind of custard which, in addition to butter, egg, sugar and milk, also contains quark and vanilla flavouring. The cake base is either a yeast dough or a sponge cake. After these three layers are assembled, the cake is baked, then cut into rectangular pieces and served with coffee. While the recipe above is for the traditional Eierschecke from Dresden, there are also some variations and refinements of this recipe, e.g. the addition of raisins, almonds or Streusel, or even the coating of the whole cake with chocolate.
Dresdner Eierschecke with raisins
Dresdner Eierschecke with chocolate covering
Dresdner Eierschecke with Streusel
Another variation is the Freiberger Eierschecke, which is much flatter than the Dresdner Eierschecke and contains neither quark nor raisins. Its legend states that the quark (a type of soft cheese originally meant for baking) had been used to build the city wall of Freiberg in the 13th century. To compensate for the alleged loss of flavour, more egg, sugar and even raisins were used. The legend is deliberately nonsensical: dairy products like quark have no history of being used in mortar (unlike sticky rice mortar).
The German author Erich Kästner once said: "Die Eierschecke ist eine Kuchensorte, die zum Schaden der Menschheit auf dem Rest des Globus unbekannt geblieben ist." (The Eierschecke is a type of cake which, to the detriment of humanity, has remained unknown to the rest of the world), and Martin Walser says in his book Die Verteidigung der Kindheit (The defence of childhood): "Eierschecke gibt es außerhalb Sachsens nur ersatzweise und innerhalb Sachsens nirgends so gut wie im Toscana." (There are only substitutes of Eierschecke outside of Saxony; within Saxony, there is no better Eierschecke than at the Toscana (referring to the Café Toscana in Dresden))
- IREKS-Arkady-Institut für Bäckereiwissenschaft (Hrsg.): IREKS-ABC der Bäckerei. 4. Auflage. Institut für Bäckereiwissenschaft, Kulmbach 1985
- Dresdner Eierschecke. In: Gudrun Ruschitzka, Sächsisch kochen. 1. Aufl. München 1995, ISBN 978-3774-21941-0.
- Dresdner Eierschecke. In: Reinhard Lämmel, Original Sächsisch - The Best of Saxon Food. Weil der Stadt 2007, ISBN 978-3-7750-0494-7.
- Dresdner Eierschecke. Landesinnungsverband Saxonia des Bäckerhandwerks Sachsen.
- Markenverband Freiberger Eierschecke