German Language Blog

Der Weihnachtsstollen – German Christmas cake Posted by on Dec 18, 2011 in Culture, Food, Traditions

This post is part of my Advent calendar on Facebook where I publish a post every day that shows a particular German Christmas candy or decoration. I realized that I have much more to say about the “Stollen” than just a few words, thus, I decided to dedicate myself to this topic.

The “Stollen” is a German Christmas cake. Hence, it is also called “Weihnachtsstollen” (Christmas stolen/cake) or simply “Christstollen”. Some describe the “Stollen” as a kind of sweet German bread. But I don’t agree with this definition because for me a bread is something that I can slice and on which I can spread butter, soft cheese or put a slice of cheese or cold meat on it and the like. I would neither do this with a slice of “Stollen” because it is first of all, a very sweet pastry and secondly it is of a fairly crumbly consistency, hence, it is virtually impossible to spread anything on it. Moreover, I find the definition of ‘sweet German bread’ misleading since you could mistake a “Stollen” for Rosinenbrot (raisin bread), which are indeed two different baked goods.

All “Stollen” are not created equal, that is, there are different sorts of “Stollen”. The one you see in the picture above is a so-called Marzipanstollen (marzipan stollen cake), which means that it additionally contains a marzipan filling. You can see this filling in the two slices. That are the two spots that look so unbaked and/or raw. Germans use the term Marzipanstollen when they would like to make clear that they do not refer to a Christstollen that does not contain this marzipan filling.

Another sort of “Stollen” is the Mohnstollen (poppy seed stollen). In comparison to the pure “Stollen” and the “Marzipanstollen” it does not contain any raisins but only loads of poppy seeds.

Last but not least, I think it is a matter of taste whether you would like “Stollen”. For example, when I was a child I could not understand why all adults around me got so crazy when they were looking forward to have a slice of “Stollen” because I found it rather disgusting, probably primarily because of the raisins. But meanwhile I really like this cake and I already have had some sliced this year.


Have you ever tried “Stollen” and did you like it or would you go for it?

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning German with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. Darlene:

    Love it. I have had some already. I like the marzipanstollen the best.

  2. Tomas:

    I love Stollen! I have it every Christmas. Or should say had it every Christmas. I just found out that I have gluten intolerance in which case I cannot eat Stollen anymore. Each Christmas eve was Stollen, Schnaps, Glüwein and Eiswein. Now I just have to miss the Stollen but make up for it with Schnaps!

  3. Missy:

    I make regular stollen every year from a recipe that has been handed down in the family for at least 120 years, and I don’t know how much longer than that. I discovered marzipanstollen about 10 years ago and order a couple of loaves every year. I love both! My family has always described it as bread, and we all put butter on it with no problem. The pastry chef who passed the recipe down to my great aunt was always insulted when anyone put butter on it. He said it had so much butter in it that it didn’t need any more.

  4. Reiner:

    Where is best place to buy weihnachtsstollen in nh area, or elsewhere ?