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The Great German Bake Off

German club members decide which nation bakes best: Germany, Switzerland, or Austria.

Though Europe’s known for its linguistic diversity, German speakers make up a surprisingly large percentage of the continent’s population. In fact, six of Europe’s 44 countries claim German as one of their national languages. Though these nations share a language, each country holds a unique set of cultures, customs, and food traditions. On April 4, 2024, students in the German Association celebrated this diversity by hosting a bake off between three German-speaking countries: Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

German students and Professors tasting foods from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Photo by Tabea Gursch

As soon as guests entered the event room on the second floor of the Wilkinson Student Center, they were greeted by the aroma of pastries, pies, and tarts from around the world. When the tasting began, students and judges made their way around the room, carefully sampling each dish as they went.

On the German table, the student bakers provided kokosmakronen (coconut macaroons), apfelstrudel (an apple strudel), and baumkuchen (a layered cake baked on a stick)—three desserts common to Germany. Further down, students represented Austria with a range of baked goods, including kaiserschmarrn (a sweetened pancake). Other Austrian desserts incorporated a mix of chocolate, fruits, and pastries, highlighting the variety of flavors found in their cuisine. Switzerland provided an array of pastries that paid homage to the many languages and cultures represented by their country’s flag, including a raspberry galette (a flat, round French pastry filled with raspberries) and, from the German-speaking side of the country, apfeltasche (an apple turnover).

While judges deliberated, students refilled their plates with desserts and practiced their German skills. The judges soon returned, naming a winning dish from each country and one overall winner from the night. The apfelstrudel from Germany, kaiserschmarren from Austria, and apfeltasche from Switzerland received first place for their respective countries. Germany’s baumkuchen took the title of overall winner. As students and teachers ate these homemade desserts, the German club demonstrated culture’s ability to bring individuals together.

Use this link to join the German club and get involved in their upcoming events.