There are many traditional types of food you have to try in Munich. Many are well known, just like the Weißwurst (white sausage) or the pretzel. But there are also some things nearly unknown outside of Bavaria. One of them we want to show you…
Nearly everyone loves cakes. Bavaria has also a very strong “Kaffee und Kuchen” (“coffee and cake”) tradtion and therefore plenty of different cakes are usually available in cafés. But one of them is a very traditional cake. The “Prinzregententorte” (Prince Regent’s Cake).
The History of Prinzregententorte
In 1821, prince Luitpold of Bavaria was born as the youngest male child of king Ludwig I of Bavaria and his wife Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (the marriage of these two was the origin of the Munich Oktoberfest). After Ludwig II, (the one who built Neuschwanstein castle) the nephew became king of Bavaria, Luitpold had to take over representative duties, because Ludwig II often was in his castles and therefore absent. In 1886 Ludwig II was declared mentally incompetent and died a few days later under strange circumstances. Luitpold was namend Regent. He was not king, because officially king was Otto of Bavaria, the brother of Ludwig II. But Otto was mentally ill since he was a young man. So Luitpold had to do the state business like the king, but he officially never was.
Luitpold was very decent and affable and therefore very popular with the bavarian citizens. One of his first actions as the “Regent” was to open many parks and palaces to the public. He was a friendly older man with long beard and he often behaved like a normal citizen. Because of this and the very peaceful time 1886-1911 until today people in Bavaria name this period “Prinzregentenzeit” (Prince Regent’s time). Also in 1886 a baker called Heinrich Georg Erbshäuser created a new cake to honour the new bavarian ruler. The cake consisted of 8 layers of sponge cake or biscuit and chocolate buttercream. The cake itself was covered in dark chocolate. The 8 layers represented the different bavarian districts Swabia, Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, Middle Franconia, Lower Franconia, Upper Franconia, Upper Palatinate. But these named districts are only seven?! Thats right. Bavaria consists today of these seven districts, but at that time there was one more, the “Rheinpfalz” (Rhenish Palatinate or sometimes called Rhenish Bavaria) was also part of Bavaria, but outside of the bavarian territory and nowadays belongs to the german state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
It is said, that Erbshäuser asked Luitpold for permission to call the cake “Prince Regent’s cake” and he agreed. From that day on, the cake became more and more popular and is part of the tradition of Munich and Bavaria.
It is not known who was really the first producer of this cake, but it’s generally accepted that Heinrich Erbshäuser was the first who made this cake. Two other traditional bakers (Johann Rottenhöfer and Anton Seidl) are also sometimes named.
The Café Erbshäuser still exists today and sells the original Prince Regent’s cake. So if you want to try the original, go to this coffeehouse. It’ s quite hidden near Odeonsplatz behind the Bavarian Ministry of Finance in Kardinal-Döpfner-Straße and therefore nearly unknown by tourists. Of course this cake is also available in many traditional coffeehouses.
So don’t miss to try this great traditional cake, when in Munich!