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Vintage Cheese Torte Recipe With Zwieback Crust

My mother was an excellent cook who taught me a great deal as she cooked from scratch. Today, both my hubby and I enjoy cooking.

A slice of my Great-Aunt Lona's cheese torte

A slice of my Great-Aunt Lona's cheese torte

The last time I remember eating this cheese torte recipe (until now) was when I was a young child living in Wisconsin. My Great-Aunt Lona was known for her gardening and her cooking prowess. One dessert that my family particularly enjoyed was her cheese torte recipe with the tasty zwieback crust.

I recently discovered her recipe card amidst other kept recipes and food-related mementos. Some of them probably dated back to her sister (my grandmother) and were then safeguarded by my mother. It has been fun trying out some of these vintage recipes dating that far back in time.

Great-Aunt Lona's recipe card

Great-Aunt Lona's recipe card

What Is Zwieback?

Many people of my age probably munched on the hard rusk-like texture of zwieback when they were first teething. That was a typical use of this product back then.

One of our neighbors with whom I shared some of this cheese torte texted the following: "Thank you for the delicious cheesecake. It was a lovely surprise between appointments. I haven't thought of zwieback toasts since using them for baby teething chews 47 years ago." She would have been referring to using them with her children.

The slightly sweetened loaf of bread is baked, cooled, and dried. It is then sliced and baked again until the slices become hard and toasty. Most people think that it has Germanic origins. Once it is twice-baked and toasted, it can keep well for a long time at room temperature in an airtight container. For those who wish to make homemade zwieback, I've included a video plus a link to a recipe in the sources at the bottom of this page.

Mennonites have been making a softer bun version of zwieback for multiple centuries. A rounded bit of dough tops a slightly larger piece and is baked together in that configuration. Imagine, if you will, the head of a snowman atop the body. Some people separate the two after baking and use jams and jellies to flavor the soft bun.

For this cheese torte recipe, the dried form of zwieback was the called-for ingredient.

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Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour 30 min

1 hour 50 min

12 generous servings


For the crumb crust:

  • 1 (8 or 9 ounce) package zwieback, made into crumbs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 pounds (32 ounces) small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or to taste


  1. Pulverize the zwieback toasts making them into a fine crumb. You can use a rolling pin with the toasts in a sealed bag or zap them up in a blender.
  2. Into a bowl with the zwieback crumbs, add the sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter, blending the mixture well.
  3. Remove 1 cup of the crumb mixture, reserving it for topping the cheese torte. Press the remainder of the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a buttered or sprayed springform pan.
  4. In a separate bowl, blend the eggs with the sugar. Add the cottage cheese, whipping cream, vanilla, and flour. Mix well.
  5. Pour the cheese mixture into the springform pan and place it on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack. When cool enough, chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or better yet, overnight. Unmold, slice, and serve.
Unmolded cheese torte, chilled, and ready to slice and serve

Unmolded cheese torte, chilled, and ready to slice and serve

Notes and Feedback

Our neighbors with whom we shared this baked dessert recipe declared it delicious. One of them had enough pieces to share with a friend who typically does not like cottage cheese, and yet, she ate an entire slice of it and said that she enjoyed it.

To my taste, I would cut back a bit on the sugar and probably use the Cuisinart to make the cottage cheese a smoother consistency or even substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese. At least I now know where to purchase the zwieback!


© 2022 Peggy Woods

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