Potthucke: A Traditional German Potato Cake

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This is a traditional recipe from a region called Sauerland in Westphalia, a part of Western Germany where I live. In earlier times, this potato dish was actually a meal for the poor because it’s made mostly with potatoes, and they wouldn’t need many additional ingredients.

Potthucke Recipe - A Traditional German Potato Cake | Foodal.com

A typical side dish would have been sugar beet syrup or applesauce and pumpernickel, a regional type of black bread. These sweeter items would balance out the savory taste of the cake.

Today, things have changed. The potthucke has become a popular recipe for local specialty restaurants to serve, offering different variations and presenting it as an almost gourmet food.

A Traditional Potthucke German Potato Cake | Foodal.com

What is there to say about the strange name for this item? In the old days, the potato dough had to cook in the oven for several hours. It was “sitting in a pot” – and this is what the name potthucke is all about.

You won’t need a cooking time as long as the people who were cooking with charcoal did, but a bit of preparation time is necessary (approx. 1 to 1 ½ hours) because you will be working with both raw and cooked potatoes. They will be mixed with some bacon, onion and eggs that hold everything together.

In the end, you will have a savory type of cake/bread that you can cut into slices and may serve with a fresh green salad and sour cream. If you want to make it distinctly German, have a cold beer and cheese pairing with it, too!

After giving this savory cake a try, make sure to explore our equally German baked onion tart recipe as well. You’ll love it!

Recipe for Potthucke - A Traditional German Potato Cake | Foodal.com

I remember when my town held a potthucke festival back in 1997. Everyone was invited to stop by and have a slice of this local specialty. Since then, this traditional delicacy has been underrepresented in my town, but sometimes it still makes an appearance at an annual gourmet festival.

If you ask me, this is far too seldom. Sharing this recipe can help to give it an international comeback. Why not try it out?

The recipe is for a 10-inch loaf pan, and a drier, more mealy variety of potato works best.

The Recipe

Potthucke Recipe - A Traditional German Potato Cake | Foodal.com
Potthucke: A Traditional German Potato Cake
Votes: 39
Rating: 3.64
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Potthucke Recipe - A Traditional German Potato Cake | Foodal.com
Potthucke: A Traditional German Potato Cake
Votes: 39
Rating: 3.64
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 3 1/2 oz smoked bacon diced
  • 9 oz whipping cream
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg
  • pinch ground rosemary or thyme
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Peel 14 oz of the potatoes (about 7/8 cup) and boil them in salted water for approximately 20 minutes or until soft. Grease the loaf baking pan or line with parchment paper, leaving excess paper hanging over the sides for easy removal of the finished cake. Preheat the oven to 200°C (175°C fan oven) or about 390°F.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and dice the onions. In a pan, render down the bacon and lightly braise the onions with it.
  3. Let the cooked potatoes cool down a bit. Pass through a potato ricer to mash them.
  4. Peel, wash and roughly grate the remaining potatoes.
  5. Knead the grated and cooked potatoes together with the onion-bacon mixture, cream, eggs and a few generous pinches of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  6. Add the dough to the prepared baking tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool before removing from the pan, either by turning it over or carefully taking it out with the parchment paper. Then cut into slices.
  7. You can either eat it straight away, or reheat slices by frying them in a pan until brown and crispy on both sides.
Recipe Notes

A Traditional German Potthucke Potato Cake Recipe | Foodal.com

 

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Although the German potthucke started out as a poor person's fare, it has become a popular dish for German restaurants, offering different variations and presenting it as an almost gourmet food. Read about this fine German fare now.

Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

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About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

30 thoughts on “Potthucke: A Traditional German Potato Cake”

  1. As a huge lover of potatoes this is a great idea. It does take some preparation though, but I am sure it is worth it. As a vegetarian I would try some veggie bacon rashers and maybe use some red onions to give it more flavor. It would be a great idea to use slices instead of bread for a veggie burger.

    • Sure, that is a good idea for a vegetarian alternative. And red onions are a great tip – also for the above recipe. And I like your idea to use them as burger buns, I haven’t thought about this, thank for this creative input 🙂

  2. What an amazing recipe! I’ve honestly never seen the like before. I’m from the Caribbean and have had the opportunity of tasting only 2 dishes from one of my German friends. I don’t know the names, but one was German meatballs and the other potato salad, with lots of onions! They were to die for. This one looks simply delicious too! I can’t wait to try this.

    • Thank you, and nice to hear that you liked your friend’s meatballs and potato salad. I hope you like this recipe, too, and – this time – maybe surprise them with this savory cake!

  3. It kinda reminds me of meatloaf, but replacing the meat with potatoes. Since I recently was given a huge amount of potatoes, I can try out this recipe whenever I have the chance. I want to try seeing if I can use fish in this recipe since I’m trying to go on a low sodium diet and bacon is not going to go well with it. Maybe chicken and/or turkey would be a better choice price wise…

    • Actually, that is a good comparion: potato-loaf. And really an excellent way to use up your potatoes. I haven’t tried to replace the bacon with something else, but I’m sure it works out. It would be interesting to hear what you have chosen and how it tasted. I think that smoked salmon could work with it (not sure), but I can definitely imagine that chicken will be a good addition!

  4. Wow, this looks amazing! It really does look tasty and I can imagine eating this as a breakfast dish. I reckon leftover sausage would work just as well but the thing I especially like about cooking with bacon in this manner is that you can get away with using cheaper offcuts as rashers are not really required.

    • Perfect idea, if you have leftovers or prepare it especially for next day’s breakfast, this is a nice and savory start into the day. Together with some fresh herbs, tomato or a fried egg maybe, delicious!

  5. I am so excited about this recipe! I never met a potato that I didn’t like, whether it be a knish, a French Fry or a potato cake! My attempt at potato cakes has produced an anything but stellar product, but this looks foolproof! I cannot wait to try it!

    • Then, of course, I hope you will enjoy this variety as much as you did other potato recipes. If you like potatoes, this is definitely a thing to try!

  6. I love potatoes! (Of course, next to chocolates!) Like icecat I’m a sucker for potatoes, too! While I love mashed potatoes the most, I think this is a must-try. Primarily because it’s definitely a unique recipe (at least here in the Philippines). We do have baked potatoes, but definitely nothing like this.

  7. A mundane bland vegetable turned into a delectable meal in just an hour has a really Germanic ring to it. How they can be utilitarian and stylish at the same time. That’s why I always like German food.

    Plus, your instructions make it so easy to cook for a novice like me.

    Good article.

    • Thank you!
      I really like the recipe, because it prodives this special twist to common potatoes. It’s like you say 😉 Great that you like the article and the instructions. I hope you have fun in the kitchen and may enjoy a Potthucke some time!

  8. I’ve been looking for another international dish for my family to try and I think this is something everyone will enjoy. Last month I made a Middle Eastern dish called Mujadarrah- it’s a rice and lentil dish that is mixed with yogurt or sour cream and then topped off with fried or grilled onions. The dish was amazing, and three out of my five children were willingly to try it, and loved it. The looks of the dish didn’t really sit to well with my other two children, but I think this dish and recipe might be something everyone might be willing to try.

    • I searched for the Mujadarrah dish you talked about – simply delicious! That one is for sure a thing I have to try! However, three out of five is a majority, after all 🙂 I hope the Potthucke will at least make it four out of five 😉 You’re invited to share how it worked out and how many liked this one!

  9. I love to try out dishes from other countries and I’m particularly intrigued by old popular recipes, especially those that used to be meals for the poor. I think poor people used to make the best of what they had and it’s amazing how they used to turn common and cheap ingredients into delicious meals. This looks so tasty, I can’t wait to try it out, I think I have all the ingredients in my pantry. I was thinking I could replace the bacon with a vegetable (zucchini or onions for example) if I have my vegetarian friends over.

    • That’s right, I think so too. Having only few ingredients made it neccessary to become creative and get the best out of the things you have. And these recipes are still delicoius today! The great advantage is – like you’ve already noticed – that only basic ingredients are used, we often have already at home.
      Adding some zucchini sounds great for a vegetarian alternative, I hope you’ll enjoy this traditional dish.

  10. Now I really have to try this out. It looks and sounds delicious, and since I’m a huge potato fan and it does contain bacon, my husband would probably love it as well. We are both of German descent (as well as others), so this might be fun to try to give us more of an ancestral feeling to our meals. I’m not a big fan of raw potato however, though in a dish such as this, I probably wouldn’t even notice the tart flavor.

    • Happy to hear that you want to give it a try! I’m always surprised to see how many Foodal readers have German ancestors – but it’s nice that you want to take the chance and make some country-inspired dishes like this.
      The flavor of the raw potatoes won’t be too strong in the end, it’s just that the mix of raw/cooked ones will provide a wonderful texture. Enjoy!

  11. I’m not sure about this to be honest. I think I could enjoy it warm, but certainly not cold – the texture of the cold potatoes, eggs and bacon would really put me off.

    • I understand that, I have to admit that I personally like it better while it’s hot, too. I also like to roast some leftovers in a pan, whether the slices are complete or broken. Together with some fried eggs and some fresh tomato aside, it makes a good and easy “leftover-lunch” 😉

  12. I had eaten this dish a while back but could never quite get the right recipe for it. Mainly because the person who treated me potthucke didn’t know the right name of the dish and just called it “salty cake” because it wasn’t a “sweet” cake.
    Anyway, now that I have it I’ll definitely make one myself.

    • That’s interesting to hear! So this distinct recipe must have survived the centuries elsewhere in the world, too. That’s great! Now that you know its roots and name, I wish you fun and success with this special ‘salty cake’ 🙂

  13. It’s interesting getting some new recipes that are traditional, like this one, it came from Sauerland in Westphalia as mentioned, I reckon it’s pretty amazing cooking these in my own home!

  14. My son is doing a United Nations Day and is preparing a German Dish. We made this tonight for his class tomorrow. I am excited to try it out for sure!

  15. I made this dish and LOVED it! I’m considering making it again for a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at our Lutheran Church. I have to make it ahead of time and freeze it. Has anyone tried freezing it? I just wonder if it has the same texture as when served fresh.

  16. Great recipe.
    I made it exactly as per the guide and it turned out fantastic, albeit a bit too moist. Maybe it was the potatoes I used (Australia). Anyway, the next time I made it I squeezed the excess moisture from the raw potatoes and increased the mashed potato ratio to 1.5 cups.
    This did the trick and gave me firmer loaf (which I prefer) that kept well in the fridge for at least 3 days.

  17. It is too bad that the comments are about how good the recipe looks without having actually made it. There was only 2 !!!! that did and 1 made changes to her liking. More likely to make it if more cooks actually had and then commented.

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