What IS that stuff?? German Cake & Gelatin?

I’ve seen some people inquire as to what the gelatin mixture is that is placed over fruit on German tortes.  It really isn’t that mysterious, and there are two ways you can achieve this at home.

Your first option is to make it from scratch.  The most difficult part is to continually mix and not overheat the mixture.  Here is the recipe.

Fruit Torte Jelly/Gelatin


  • 1/2 tsp. gelatin (plain, unflavored gelatin – can be found in the baking aisle of any grocer)
  • 1 cup water OR apple juice (be aware this will add some extra flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Optional: 1 tsp. red food coloring


  1. Soak gelatin in 2 tbsp. cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat over low heat until it becomes liquid.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. sugar and the remainder of water and heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and cool until it is just pourable (20 – 30 minutes).
  5. Spoon over finished cake shell with fruit already arranged over the top.
  6. Allow whole cake to set for at least one hour before serving.  For extended life, refrigerate to prevent fruit from molding.

Okay, so you say this sounds too tedious, and you want a quick and dirty solution? Try Tortenguss.  You can purchase a dry mix, which still needs to be heated, but is a little less finicky. My personal favorite can be bought from German Deli: Dr. Oetker Tortenguss Klar (Clear Cake Glaze). It is sold in a 3-pack, and I will stock up on a few at a time.

See? Isn’t it great when one of life’s little mysteries can be solved so simply? 🙂

Substitutions for Common Ingredients



allspice 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon plus 1/8 ground cloves
baking powder 1 tsp. 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar
bread crumbs, dry 1/4 cup 1 slice bread
bread crumbs, soft 1/2 cup 1 slice bread
buttermilk 1 cup 1 cup plain yogurt
chocolate, unsweetened 1 ounce 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tbs. butter or fat
cream, heavy 1 cup 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter (this will not whip)
cream, light 1 cup 7/8 cup milk plus 3 tbs. melted butter
cream, sour 1 cup 7/8 cup buttermilk or
plain yogurt plus 3 tbs. melted butter
cream, whipping 1 cup 2/3 cup well-chilled evaporated milk, whipped or
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder whipped with 1 cup of water
flour, self-rising 1 cup 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
honey 1 cup 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup liquid
lemon juice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp vinegar
milk, skim 1 cup 1/3 cup instant monfat dry milk plus about 3/4 cup water
milk, whole 1 cup 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water or
1 cup skim milk plus 2 tsp melted butter
milk, to sour 1 cup add 1 tbsp vinegar ot lemon juice to 1 cup milk minus 1 tbsp.
Stir and let stand 5 minutes.
sugar, granulated 1 cup 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar or
1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (do not substitude in baking) or
2 cups corn syrup or
1 cup superfine sugar
tomatoes, canned 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce polus 1/2 cup water or
1 1/3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered
tomato juice 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water plus dash each salt and sugar or
1/4 cup tomato paste plus 3/4 cup water plus salt and sugar
tomato ketchup 1/2 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 2 tbsp sugar ,
1 tbs vinegar, and 1/8 tsp ground cloves
tomato puree 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato paste plus 1/2 cup water
yogurt, plain 1 cup 1 cup buttermilk