Julie Rothman / The Baltimore Sun

Betty Bensel from Columbia, Md., was looking for a recipe for a butter kuchen like the one made by the Heitzman Bakery in Louisville, Ky.

She said this was a favorite of hers but that she had had no luck getting the bakery to share the recipe. She has experimented with recipes she has found online but they are not anywhere near as good as the one baked at Heitzman’s.

Dorothy Schneiter of Hurricane, W.Va. said that the Heitzman Bakery was a favorite of her husband’s family and they too were particularly fond of the bakery’s version of the butter kuchen. Her sister-in-law sent her a recipe that was printed in The Louisville Courier-Journal some years ago for a traditional German-style butter kuchen that she thinks comes pretty close to the Heitzman Bakery specialty, although perhaps not quite as runny as the bakery version.

For a runnier kuchen, Schneiter recommends using only one egg, instead of three, and adding three tablespoons of water to the topping mixture. She also said that she likes the topping so much that she makes an extra one-third of the original topping amount.

With a visit to the Heitzman Bakery website, I uncovered the history of the bakery’s most popular dessert: “In Louisville, around 1890-1910 what we now know of as ‘Butter Kuchen’ was formulated in various master-bake shops. In our lineage, Jacob Heitzman passed his formulation down to his sons, Joe and Charles. Over the ensuing decades, the dough was softened and the filling evolved into a runny or gooey delight. Today, we in Louisville, enjoy the end product of hundreds of years of baking evolution — The Butter Kuchen!”

Unfortunately for Bensel, the Heitzman recipe will remain a family secret.


Kathy Stumer of Tuscarora, Pa., is looking for a recipe for something that her husband’s grandmother used to make some 60 years ago. She called it “cheese dough” and it was made with cottage cheese and eggs that were somehow shaped into pillow-like squares and topped with bread cubes and sour cream.