written on 16/07/2020
by Jutta Triebe

"I am a Berliner!" This saying is reason for many Germans of the older generation to reflect and is one of the most important sentences of the post-war and cold war years.

Spoken on June 26th, 1963 by John F. Kennedy in West Berlin, it introduces the most famous anti-communist speech in which Kennedy assured West Germany the full support of the United States of America - and this 22 months after the Berlin Wall was built by the Soviet occupying powers in East Germany to prevent a mass exodus to the West. If you want to learn more about this memorable saying, you can read why this sentence was so important here.

The young generation of today may also smile at this sentence because a "Berliner" is not just a "Berliner". See Tim Jacobis article about it.

Below is a recipe for the sweet version from my mother's recipe book, 'My cookbook' by Elisabeth Schuler, Schuler Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart, published 1960. (Unfortunately my mother lost her fight against leukaemia far too soon and passed four years ago.):

Berliner (Berlin Pancakes or doughnuts) for 4 people


  • 30 g yeast
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • jam
  • Shortening

Prepare a dough from the yeast, milk and some flour:

Pour the flour into the baking bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix the yeast with lukewarm milk and a pinch of sugar and pour into the well.

Mix with a little flour to make a liquid dough, cover and place in a warm place: this dough is called a leaven or yeast batter. It can also be made separately in a small container.

Mix the butter and the egg yolks until they are frothy, mix this together with the flour, and the grated lemon peel with the pre-batter. Beat the dough until it is frothy. Let it rise until it's about twice the size.

Roll the dough until ½ centimetre thick and cut out round shapes (doughnuts) using an upturned glass. Put a teaspoon of jam in the middle of half of them.

Brush the edges with water, place the remaining cakes on top and press on the edges. Let them rise again. (Alternatively, you can fry the round cakes unfilled individually and fill in the jam using a baking syringe afterwards.)

Heat the shortening in a large saucepan, place the risen doughnuts in the fat (top side down), turn and fry until light brown all over. Place on a rack or absorbent paper.

Serve sprinkled with sugar.