German Language Blog

The origin of Stollen Posted by on Dec 25, 2018 in Culture, Food, Holidays, Traditions

Stollen is a traditional German Christmas cake that is still very popular to this day. In this post I will explain what exactly it is and how it came about.

The first ever Stollen dates back to 1545. Nowadays, Stollen is made out of flour, butter, yeast, raisins, almonds, marzipan and spices like cinnamon and covered with a dusting of icing sugar. The first Stollen that was made however was not quite the same. In 1545 it was forbidden for the bakers to use butter to bake cakes during the advent season. This meant that the cakes were usually hard and tasteless. A Prince and his brother tried to change this law by writing to the Roman Pope. They were denied the right to use butter four times until the fifth Pope finally agreed. The ban on butter was lifted and the cakes started to taste better!

In 1560 the bakers of Dresden would offer the rulers of Saxony Stollen as a gift. This tradition carried on and there is still a Stollenfest every year in Dresden. There is a parade where the Stollen is driven through Dresden in a carriage and then cut and shared amongst the people there.

Stollen also has a second name being Striezel. In Dresden there is a Striezelmarkt which started back in the 15th century – here they sell the Stollen/Striezel. I couldn’t find an exact reason why it has two names as both names come from Dresden. If anyone knows the reason or has a theory then feel free to comment below!

I’ve never eaten Stollen before as I have a nut allergy and I haven’t found one yet without any nuts. Have you ever tried it?

Frohe Weihnachten!
Merry Christmas!

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About the Author: Larissa

Hello I'm Larissa. I live in Germany and I am half German and half English. I love sharing my passion for Germany with you through my posts! Apart from writing posts I teach fitness classes in Munich.


  1. Allan Mahnke:

    We make Stollen every year, but it is a far cry from the loaf my grandmother made when I was a child. Her Stollen had all of the usual nasty, commercially candied fruit that has no flavor but is very sweet.

    Our Stollen has evolved over the last 40+ years. We fill it with nuts, dried cherries and raisins. And this year for the first time we added orange peel, which we candied. We fill the center of each Stollen with the traditional Marzipan but we add a bit of chocolate ganache, making a terrific combination. We long ago stopped putting powdered sugar on the top because it is just too messy. (My grandmother’s solution to that mess was to make an icing of the powdered sugar by adding a little water, but we don’t think more sweetness is necessary.)

    Frohe Weihnachten!

    • Larissa:

      @Allan Mahnke Thanks Allan for your comment! Topping it with chocolate ganache sounds delicious.

      Happy new year!

  2. Marie:

    Yes, I have had Stollen. I pick it up at ALDI or Josie’s German Deli. I love it with cherries and marzipan. If you tell people it’s like fruit cake, they curl up their nose. Americans don’t seem to like fruit cake *shrugs*.

    • Larissa:

      @Marie Hi Marie,

      Yes that’s always handy if you have an Aldi or a Deli nearby! I hope you had a piece of Stollen this Christmas too.

      Thanks for reading my post!