In the 1950s, as a child in Germany, I lived in a small village. Having a torte served in the afternoon was a special treat. My godmother was a gifted baker and made the most beautiful rich tortes. They were filled with buttercream, custard and cream, often in the same cake. After the farm work was done, cakes were baked on Saturday for special occasions and served in the afternoon to what we call in Germany Kaffetrinken, similar to teatime in England. There were often 3-4 different cakes and you had to try them all. These days, I feel guilty when I have even one small piece.
This raspberry cake is lighter with lots of raspberries in it. I think my aunt would have liked this cake, but probably would have told me to add some custard or more cream to it. The original recipe comes from Dr. Oetker’s website. I changed it a bit by adding more raspberries and less cream. I decorated one for Valentine’s Day, but any other decoration would be fine. A pastry ring would be helpful when assembling the cake. Another time I used strawberries instead of raspberries but I prefer raspberries for this cake
I am leaving for Europe in a few weeks on an adventurous trip. I am flying to Munich to meet my German girlfriend. From Munich we will take the train to Lake Garda, Italy, where we will spend a week with my niece’s family and her in-laws.
I am so excited because I get to see and play my with my great niece. After the week is over my girlfriend and I will take the train to Innsbruck where we will stay for 3 days. Then we will take a long train ride to my village. I will stay in my nephew’s tiny house Airbnb since my brother gave his upstairs apartment to three Ukrainian women from Kharkiv. They need it more than I do. After 10 days I will go on to Copenhagen where I will meet my cooking group to spend a week in Sweden. All in all I will visit five countries, cross your fingers and hope that all works out. I certainly do.
The cake is thin, but when the filling is added, it turns out fine. Cutting the cake horizontally in half takes a little skill and a large knife. There are tutorials on how to do it with toothpicks and string, but I just did it and it wasn’t difficult. For the cream mixture, I ordered a package of powdered gelatin (with two pouches in it) from Amazon. It is called gelatine fix from Dr. Oetker. I baked the cake a day before I assembled the torte. The torte will last in the fridge for a few days. A cake ring is helpful but not necessary when assembling the torte.
My next door neighbor and German friend Susanne really liked it. She knows about cakes, or tortes, as we call them in Germany.
The cake makes 12 large pieces or more smaller pieces
4.4 ounces ( 125g) soft unsalted butter
4.4 ounces (125g) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
3 eggs at room temperature
6 ounces ( 170g) all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
The cream mixture
1 pint ( 470ml) heavy cream
12 ounces (340g) frozen raspberries
10 -12 ounces fresh raspberries
½ (75g) cup sugar
2 packages gelatine fix from Dr. Oetker
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350˙ degree Fahrenheit
Grease a 10-inch cake pan with a removable bottom, and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Then butter the parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Cream the butter in a mixer. Slowly add the sugar and continue mixing the batter until the batter is creamy. This will take several minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and then each egg separately, mixing it for a minute before adding another egg. You want a creamy mixture that almost doubles in volume.
Gradually add the flour mixture until barely mixed.
Add the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface of the dough. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Run a knife around the inside of the cake pan and carefully loosen the ring around the cake pan and remove it.
Turn the cake onto a rack and remove the parchment paper and flip the cake upside down.
For the raspberry sauce, puree the defrosted raspberries in a mixer with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Chill it in a jar. This can be made a day ahead.
In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream, slowly pouring in the the packages of gelatine fix. When the cream mixture is very thick, mix 1 cup of the raspberry sauce.
Assembling the torte
Cut the cake in half horizontally with a segregated knife
Put the bottom half in the cake ring.
Cover the cake bottom with about ⅓ or more of the cream mixture.
Drizzle with the raspberry sauce.
Put raspberries in a circle on the filling.
Add the top part of the cake.
Cover the top part with the whipped cream mixture.
Take the cake ring off and and put the rest of the whipped cream mixture onto the sides the sides of the cake.
Decorate the top of the cake anyway you like with the fresh raspberries and some of the sauce. Refrigerate three hours before serving . The cake keeps a couple of days in the fridge.
Recipe by Dr.Oetker test kitchen
Adapted and translated by the Sunnycovechef.com
Here are some more of my desserts made with fruit. Click on the photo for the recipe.
French Apple Cake
I know I’m overdue to write a new post for my blog. I have many excuses why it has taken me so long: the California wildfires, an unexpected medical diagnosis, as well as my friends, house, and garden all needing attention. What it really boils down to is major procrastination. It’s not that I haven’t anything to post, as I have cooked many meals in my partially remodeled kitchen. I love my new countertops, my new sink, and my pull-out drawers.
I made some delicious beef short ribs with cauliflower gratin for a friend who just moved back into her house after evacuating from the Bonny Doon wildfire. The fire had burned her fence and woodpile, but left her house intact. She had hitched her horse trailer in the middle of the night to save her horse and donkey. I had several other friends who had to evacuate, but luckily nobody lost their homes.
So, let’s get back to my kitchen and cooking. I made different recipes with zucchinis and yellow squash from my garden. My favorites are zucchini cakes and zucchini carpaccio. The recipe for the cakes are here and the carpaccio is easy to make. Slice a small yellow squash with a mandoline, put them on a plate, sprinkle some raspberry vinegar and good olive oil over the squash. Put it on a bed of lettuce if you like. Season with coarse salt, pepper, and some fresh thyme and you have a great salad. Now you can add whatever you want.
For my book club dinner, I went all out. I served my over-the-top crepes filled with salmon and fennel. It was delicious and everybody enjoyed the alfresco dining on my outdoor deck. It was a gorgeous evening and we didn’t talk a lot about books. We just enjoyed each other’s company, one of those rare treats in these times of COVID. There were only five of us, which made it easier to keep the 6-foot distance.
For dessert, I decided to make a French apple cake by Dorie Greenspan from her book Around My French Table. David Lebovitz adopted and posted the recipe on his blog, which I really enjoy reading. He now lives in Paris but used to be the baker for Chez Panisse in Berkley. It's a delicious and easy-to-make recipe. I have made it several times and everybody sees to enjoy it. Please do not omit the rum in this recipe, as it what really makes the cake. Because I didn’t have any rum, I used some of the liquid from my Rumtopf (fruit preserved in rum). In my humble opinion, this cake needs to be served with some whipped cream.
Click here for the recipe
Of course, there is always my German Apple cake which I have baked for decades.
Click here for the recipe.
You may also like my apple strudel cake, another favorite of mine.
Click here for the recipe.
Do not omit the rum, as it adds richness and flavor to the cake. But if you do not want to bake with alcohol, double the amount of vanilla. Epicurious is posting the same recipe calling it Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake. There are many helpful comments on the post like substituting calvados for rum. I am going to stick with the rum but it would be interesting to find out. This is a beginners cake, so anyone can bake it and it is done in no time—perfect for the home cook. It is important to use a variety of apples for flavor and taste. I like playing with recipes, so I added my own twist. I used the apple peels to make a thick syrup that I added to the cake after it was baked, which is totally optional.
Recipe for French Apple cake
Here we are, Labor Day has passed, summer is almost over. Recent weeks have been devastating for Santa Cruz County and California with huge fires burning and thousands of people evacuated. Many people lost their homes and all their belongings and some lost their lives. My heart goes out to all of them. For a couple of days Santa Cruz had the worst air quality in the world. My husband and I decided to go to our mountain cabin. I packed some personal stuff, just in case. I also took one of my favorite cookbooks called Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters that had not been packed away during my remodel. From this book I would like to share a scrumptious recipe for a blueberry lemon tart. I have made many recipes from this book and have never been disappointed. I make her apricot jam every year and never get tired of it. I like everything about this book, the recipes, the layout, and the illustrations. I also have been fortunate enough to eat at Chez Panisse in Berkley many times. Alice Waters is a great cook and shares her talent with children and young adults, which I think is wonderful. She was a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement.
I baked the lemon tart twice, once in the first week of August and then again last week. Even my husband who usually goes for the sweeter versions when it comes to dessert liked this tart.
The flavors in this tart are phenomenal, with the crispness and rich butter flavor of the páte sucrée, and the sweet tart flavor of the blueberries combined with the zesty lemon curd. It is a perfect combination for your taste buds. If you bake this, I hope you enjoy this tart as much as we have.
If you are interested in some different lemony or blueberry desserts click on the photo for my blogpost and the recipe.
The pâte sucrée is easy to make. I baked mine a day before I added the filling. You might have some leftover dough, which you can be used to a cookie a cookie or two. If you have enough you can make a mini tart. The eggs and butter should be at room temperature. You can use an 11-inch round tart pan with a removable button or 8 individual 4-inch tart pans. I think this tart would also look good in a rectangular tart pan. The dough is easy to work with. I think frozen blueberries would be fine in this recipe.
Plum Tart or Zwetschgenkuchen
When I see plums I always think of the Italian prune plum tree we had at our farm in Germany where these plums are called Zwetschgen. When the fruit ripened in mid September we would make Zwetschgenmus (plum jam) and everybody baked Zwetschgenkuchen on large trays. They dough was usually a yeast dough with different toppings for the plums. My favorite was a custard topping which is called Schmandkuchen. One day I would like to bake it in my village and get advice from all those old cooks and bakery friends. In the meantime I found this wonderful recipe on YouTube that is easy to make and all my American friends liked it. The shortbread dough is used for the crust and the streusel.
The Zwetsche , a European plum ( Prunus domestica) has many different names, in France it is called quetsche, here in the US they are called Italian Prune Plums and sometime Empress Plums. These plums are small and dense with purple skin, easy to pit (freestone pits) and have yellow flesh. There is something magical that happens to this egg shaped, somewhat bland tasting Italian plum when you bake it, it becomes a sweet gooey delight, in cakes, in jams, and dumplings. As was the case with my cake.
I am writing this while eating small slivers of this tasty treat. My doctor tells me to stay away from sweets and I do most of the time but there are times when these rules don’t apply. This cake brings back memories from my childhood in Germany, where Zwetschgenkuchen was a seasonal treat . My mother liked the simple version, adding plums with a little bit of sugar to a sheet yeast cake. Sometimes she splurged and put a custard on top of the cake. I remember stuffing myself and being told to share. My friend, aunt Frieda, that lived on the next farm made the best sheet cakes ever in a wooden pizza oven where she also baked her bread. I would sit on her wood box watching her cook. Oh, those childhood memories.
Some more of my recipes using plums. The plum jam is tart but full of flavor. It's baked in the oven so you don't have to sweat over a hot stove and there is no stirring. Click on the photos below for the recipe.
Here is the link to the YouTube video where I found this recipe. It's in German but Thomas speaks very slowly and it is fun to watch him make the tart. I think this would be a great project for young cooks.
When buying Italian Prune Plums get the hard ones, some of the soft ones will be rotten inside and always buy more, just in case. These plums don’t have a long shelf life, that’s why a lot of stores don’t carry them.You can use another variety of plums if you are unable to get Italian plums.
Fall has arrived and I have been happily cooking away in my kitchen with my new-found treasure Zwetchgen, a small unassuming purple plum that is called Italian plum in this country. In their natural state these plums have very little flavor and taste bland—but once baked, they transform into a treat , perfumed, tart, and sweet. I made several batches of my plum butter and I am thrilled to have them in my pantry (garage). The flavor is amazing, rich and earthy. But I also made several cakes.
Every September, from 1983-1989 the New York Times printed Marian Burros’ recipe for plum torte. Here is a link to the recipe (and I love reading all the comments). I have made this cake twice now, and have adjusted the recipe to my taste. I also baked a tart with a custard that my Swiss friend made for me in Switzerland. It was delicious and I hope to post it one of these days. My French girlfriend made a tarte aux quetsches, unfortunately I didn't get to taste it. Zwetschgenkuchen in Germany is usually baked with a lot of plums and a yeast-based sheet cake. Marian Burros’ Plum Torte recipe is a no-fuss, easy-to-make dessert. It is similar to other cake recipes with fruit that I have made many times. My tasters approved, but my fussy husband thought it was a little dry.
I also like using plums for my galette. Click for the recipe here.
The original recipe called for a cup of sugar. I only used ½ cup, but to make up for the lack of sweetness, I sprinkled the top with 4 tablespoons of turbinado sugar that gave the cake a crunchy crust. Apparently, this cake freezes well when double-wrapped in foil and placed in a plastic bag. But I have not tried this. If you want to be fancy, you can grind the lemon zest with the sugar in a food processor.
German Cherry or Apple Cake
There is nothing fancy about this peasant version of an apple or cherry cake, but you will enjoy every bite of it and not feel guilty. The apples are not thoroughly baked and the cake tastes like pound cake, although I am trying to make it more moist by playing with the recipe. You can enjoy it for breakfast or any time of the day. It is perfect for beginning bakers. If you don’t want to use apples, use cherries. Pitted Morello cherries in a jar can be substituted for apples. I tried frozen cherries but I didn't like them as much as the Morello cherries from Trader Joe's.
This apple or cherry cake is not overly sweet with only ½ cup of sugar but is full of fruit and flavor. I have baked this cake many times and have never gotten tired of it. The recipe is from an old Dr. Oetker cookbook that I brought with me when I came to this country in the seventies. The Dr.Oetker brand is a 100-year-old family-owned business where you can find products like vanilla sugar, puddings or baking powder here in the United States.
My very first cookbooks were three Dr. Oetker cookbooks. For my 16th birthday, my girlfriend Gabrielle, my mom and I made a cold buffet from the title picture of one of the books. I had promised my dad some leftovers, but there was nothing left at the end of the party. To this day, I wish I had put some food away for my sweet, hard-working dad, who will always be the love of my life. He was a gentle and loving man who was born into a horrible time in German history. He loved visiting me here in California and would have stayed longer if my mother hadn’t been homesick for her village.
If you want a richer and pie like German apple cake try my Apple Strudel Cake
If you measure the flour with a cup, make sure you add the flour by the spoonful and level it off with a knife. This will give you a more accurate measurement than scooping it out with the measuring cup, which compacts the flour. But you don’t need to do this with sugar.
This is a German strawberry cake that is easy to make and brings out the fruity flavor of strawberries.
On my last trip to Germany I was invited to a birthday celebration of my mother's friend and neighbor, Helga. Our families have been friends as long as I can remember. As a child I used to visit them all the time, sitting in their kitchen and watching the women prepare food. I felt like part of their family. It was a peaceful household where I would go when when I wanted to be somewhere else. Helga was a good friend to my mother and visited her regularly and brought her food. My mom would always tell me on the phone that Helga had brought her some herring salad (one of my mom’s favorites), soup or whatever she’d cooked that day. I am so grateful for the kindness and caring she gave my mother. Helga’s husband, Willie, was my father’s friend and both of them farmed together. My father, a gentle and kind soul, mentored young Willie, who always liked to tease young girls like me. On warm summer nights, with the windows open, he and his friend would lull me to sleep by playing their violins, which made up for the teasing during the day.
Let’s get back to the birthday party and the afternoon coffee and cake. In rural Germany a birthday party usually starts around four in the afternoon with Kaffee and Kuchen (coffee and cake). Later in the evening, a hot meal is served. Sometimes, a savory hot meal is served for lunch and then followed by coffee and cake. For Helga’s birthday, all her friends had baked a fancy cake for her occasion. Of course I had to sample each of them and they were all delicious. I managed to get some of the recipes and hope to post them in the future when I have more time—and strawberries are not in season.
For this post, I chose a common German cake that can be bought in almost any German supermarket, already baked (like a piecrust in this country). I don't care much for the commercial variety, preferring to bake my own. These cakes are called Tortenboden or Obstkuchenboden (try to pronounce that!) which translated means “the bottom for a cake” like you would use for a strawberry shortcake. This cake has fluted edges and the bottom is indented to create an edge. I used a Chef Tell dessert pan by Nordic Ware. I often use it to make flan. Any cake pan will do, and it will taste just as good. Once you bake this shortcake, you can be creative and use any fresh fruit you want. I remember way back when my aunt made it with kiwis and it was delicious. In my recipe I decided to use vanilla pudding for the bottom. Creme anglaise would be fantastic but I wanted to keep it simple and easy to make. Personally, I think it is just as good with a layer of strawberry jam. My husband preferred the one with the custard. In Germany, the cake is covered with a glaze that you can buy. Here in the US, you can buy Dr. Oetker’s glaze for fresh fruit tarts at Cost Plus or Walmart. It comes in small individual packages. I made my own glaze by using some sweetened strawberry/rhubarb juice that I cooked and thickened with pectin. Even though the glaze is traditionally used, I think you can do without it. What makes this cake even tastier is a dollop of Schlag (whipped cream). I sprinkled a handful of slivered almonds over my cake and added some blueberries for color.
My German visitors enjoyed my baked shrimp with quinoa and peas. Its a great dish for warmer days.
Strawberries are in season right now. Here are some recipes from my blog. Click on the photo to see the recipe.
The tart and the custard can be prepared a day ahead of time. The pan has to be thoroughly buttered and then dusted with flour to prevent the cake from sticking. The eggs and butter need to be at room temperature. The original German recipe called for an 11-inch cake pan, although I used a 9-inch form and had enough dough left to make three little mini-tarts. My strawberries were very large, but smaller ones would be fine too. For the butter, I like to use European-style butter like Kerrygold. For the glaze, I used some sweetened strawberry and rhubarb juice, but you can use cherry juice or any dark fruit juice. There will be some leftover pudding and strawberries, which makes a great snack.
Linzer Torte and Goodbye 2016
With this Linzer torte, I wish you all a happy and peaceful 2017, filled with love, happiness, sweetness and renewed hope. May you all find fulfillment and joy in this crazy world. I am so happy to share some of my life with you through my blog. Thank you all for visiting and encouraging me with your comments and friendship. It is greatly appreciated.
My love to all of you.
It seems that I am crazy about nuts these days. It has become my go-to snack during the day. But most of all, I use them in baking as I often substitute nuts for flour. For weeks, I have been trying different recipes for Linzer torte, a cake that gets its name from the town of Linz in northern Austria. This lattice-topped torte, filled with jam and a crunchy nutty crust, is a delight for the taste buds. It’s a crumbly, nutty affair that can be eaten any time of the day. I finally chose an Austrian version from a baker who inherited the recipe from her mother. I also tried a recipe from a well-known American chef who used roasted almonds and powdered sugar. I am much happier with the recipe I am sharing with you. According to Wikipedia, Linzer torte is said to be the oldest cake in the world (a fact much debated around the dinner table). Although interesting, it is not necessarily a reason to bake it. I was drawn to this cookie-like torte because of its taste and texture. It does improve with age and you can make it three days ahead of time. In my humble opinion, it needs to be served with whipped cream. I made this torte for my girlfriend’s birthday party. I served small pieces with a good amount of whipped cream (someone whipped the cream by hand and it was so good). Every last crumb was eaten, and several people went back for seconds.
The only difficult part is making the lattice crust. I put the strips on (without putting them into a lattice pattern) because my crust was crumbly. Traditionally, this torte is made with red currant marmalade. I used seedless raspberry jam mixed with red currant jam in one of my tortes. In my final version, I used one cup of seedless raspberry fruit spread mixed with ¼ a cup of my strawberry jam to give it some extra flavor. I used Kerrygold butter. You need an 11-inch tart form with removable bottom. This is best served in smaller slices with a big slug of whipped cream. It will serve 12-14 people.
A happy and healthy New Year from Sunny Cove Beach
Almond Pear Tart
Whenever I bake this tart, I pretend I am in Paris. I’m in one of those neighborhood bakeries smelling the scent of sweet pastry and fresh baguettes. I am taking my wrapped tart to one of the benches in the park near Notre Dame and savor every bite while life unfolds in front of me.
But I am not in Paris, I am in Santa Cruz and it is time to share this delicious tart recipe with you. Let’s go back to the IFBC (International Food Blogger’s Conference) in Sacramento that I attended this past summer. While there, my friend Deb (who writes a blog called “East Of Eden”) and I went on an a pre-conference excursion to the California Endive farm and Stillwater Orchards, a pear orchard in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. The delta is a labyrinth of sloughs and an estuary in Northern California. It’s gorgeous country with small rural towns, islands, and tributaries flowing throughout. Most of the land has been claimed by agriculture, pears being one of the fruits grown. There is a Pear Fair in the small town of Locke. Our visit at the end of July was wonderful. The pears were on the trees, ripe and ready to be harvested. After a tour of the orchard, we had a picnic lunch under a giant oak tree. The dessert was a delicious pear crumble.
We all got a bag of pears to take home. I decided to make my pear tart with them. This tart recipe has been a family treasure for many years. Yet I am always in search of the perfect crust. For the blog post, I decided to use a pastry crust known as pâte sucrée, a rich and sweet pastry with a crisp cookie-like texture.
I always buy some extra pears and make sure that they are ripe. I use Bartlett pears that are juicy. I grind the almonds in my Vita Mix , or you can use a food processor
Lemon Pudding Cake
A light and refreshing desert with a pudding like texture and a crunchy crust. This cake is easy to make.
Right now my lemon trees are full of lemons. I have been picking them as soon as they are ripe and sharing them with friends and neighbors. Actually, my lemon trees are a hedge along the driveway in front of my garage facing a busy street. Often people take some, which I usually don't mind until last year when someone came and picked all my lemons. I was not a happy camper because these lemons are my treasure and I take pride in caring for them. My favorite are the Meyer’s lemons with their thin aromatic peel and fleshy fruit that is sweeter than others. They are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or orange. Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture, brought a plant in 1908 from China.
Wouldn't you know, it was Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley who made it popular in the 1990s.
I have a jar of preserved lemons in my fridge and a bowl of lemons on my kitchen counter. When I run out of my own lemons, I get some from a mature tree in my neighbor, Josephine’s, garden. She graciously shares them with me. The recipe I'm going to share with you comes from Deborah Madison's cookbook The Savory Way. This one, in addition to her Greens cookbook, have recipes from her days as a chef at Greens, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant near the waterfront at Fort Mason in San Francisco. This restaurant was a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement almost 30 years ago. Anyway, I have used these two cookbooks for many years and they have never failed me. I have made this lemon pudding cake many times and always get rave reviews. It is easy to make and has a sweet and lemony flavor. I serve it with some fruit, like raspberries or blueberries, and sometimes with a dollop of whipped cream.
Here are some more desserts using lemons . Click on the photos for the recipe.
I use low-fat milk for this recipe. If you want a richer flavor, use whole milk or half and half. Sprinkling the raw sugar over the cake gives it a delightful crunch.
A German cake that will please your palate
Capitola is about three miles down the road from where I live. It is a cute little seaside village that attracts many visitors from near and far. Each Labor Day there is a Begonia Festival. Local businesses, friends and families decorate floats with begonias and parade them down Soquel Creek under a bridge into a lagoon near the beach. It is a lot of fun and a wonderful Labor Day tradition. The floats are all uniquely beautiful—how can they not be with all those beautiful flowers? This festival has been going on since 1951. Major growers of these tuberous begonias are located in the Santa Cruz area and in late summer they are in spectacular bloom.
Originally, I had planned to post an Italian giant cookie cake. I will do that next. Last Sunday, Ronald, my strawberry farmer, had some beautiful ones and sold me a whole flat: 12 pint baskets of strawberries just picked that morning, sweet and juicy. I had already made strawberry jam from an entire flat the previous week, so I used half of the strawberries to make more jam. We ate quite a few fresh ones and sliced some for my husband’s morning cereal. I had two baskets left. I also had some green rhubarb in my dried out tiny garden. After a quick search on the internet, I found a German recipe I like and this cake was born. It was easy to make and I couldn't stop eating it after it came out of the oven. My husband said it was not his favorite, but he still managed to eat quite a bit. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.
Lemon Almond Cake
Lemon Almond Cake
It will be Easter in a couple of days. To me, Easter is my favorite holiday. It means that spring is just around the corner, as the days get longer with so many signs of new beginnings. And it means that the days of darkness are in the past.
It is also the time when I usually travel to Germany. I always looked forward to seeing my German family and celebrate Easter with them. My little village has traditions that get repeated every year. One of my favorite ones is the bonfire on the night of Easter Sunday. It is an old pagan ritual meant to chase away winter and its evil spirits and welcome spring. Today, it is mainly a social gathering to drink beer and eat sausages and apples. The belief is that the apples ensure good health for the coming year, but what about the sausage and the beer?
There is also a tradition of having a big Easter dinner on Sunday or Monday. Easter lamb, chicken or eggs are typical meals. My family always has a brunch after the kids finished their Easter egg hunt. Many houses and town squares are decorated nicely with bunnies and eggs. This year I’m not going to Germany. I will stay at home here in Santa Cruz and go to an annual Easter party on the mountain with my girlfriend and her family. We will also celebrate an upcoming marriage and a birthday. There will always be new beginnings.
This cake has a distinct lemony taste because whole lemons are being used. The almonds add crunch and one can taste a hint of candied ginger, a delight for the senses.
Years ago, a genius cook made up this recipe using whole lemons and Sunset magazine printed it. It is a nutty, chewy, not-too-sweet cake with the flavor of whole lemons including the rind. If you want sweet lemon bars, you picked the wrong recipe. This cake is not sweet and does not taste like a regular lemon desert. Since this recipe uses the whole lemon, you get a very lemony somewhat bitter flavor. To mellow out the flavor, the lemons are cooked and then used in the recipe. I have made this cake many times and most of my family and friends like it, but not everybody likes the distinct bitter lemon flavor. So you wonder, “Why is she posting it?” The answer is because I love the flavor and texture of this cake, so it has a worthy place in my cooking repertoire.
The cake lasts for several days and tastes even better the next day. The almonds add a crunchy, chewy quality to the cake that I love. How will you know if you like it or not? If you like orange or lemon marmalade, you will probably like this desert.
If you want another choice for a lemon dessert, try my lemon bread. It is a more traditional recipe since it uses only the juice of the lemon. I would be very interested what you think about my choices. By the way, my niece, who was visiting me from Germany requested lemon bars, the sweeter the better. I made most of her favorite food while she was here, like butternut squash lasagne with hazelnuts, which I will post soon.
An easy recipe for chocolate lovers with only three tablespoons of sugar added.
We are spending some time at our cabin in the Sierras and my sister-in-law and her family are coming to dinner. My husband is barbecuing his famous rack of lamb. Usually, I make my stuffed tomatoes with them, but as we were driving up the mountain, we bought fresh corn at a food stand. It had just been picked. So the menu changed, and we are now having corn and tiny potatoes with the rack of lamb. Everything is barbecued by the Grillmeister (master of grilling) himself. That leaves me in charge of the salad and dessert. Early this morning, the woodpecker woke me up (he thinks our cabin tastes yummy). This time of the day is the best for getting halfway decent cell phone reception, so I looked for some recipes involving raspberries. I had brought some beautiful organic ones up the mountains and even after an occasional nibble, I had some left. I came upon an old Gourmet magazine that I used as a reference. I did use their tart crust recipe, but thought it could be improved. The ganache was outstanding; I used orange chocolate and my orange marmalade. The original recipe called for Kahlua or coffee-flavored liqueur, but I used creme cassis instead. Everybody loved it and ate a lot. The mountains give you a healthy appetite.
Fast forward and I'm home again. This time, instead of using a 9-inch tart form, I made individual tarts. I also used a different crust recipe. This was simpler and less sugary. I think it complements the chocolate flavor. This is not a sweet dessert. The whole recipe has only two tablespoons of sugar in the crust, as well as the sugar that was added to the chocolate. What it does have is a strong, full chocolate flavor. It is divine! If you are a chocolate lover, this recipe Is for you. It is important that you use very good-quality chocolate. I love to cook with Lindt chocolate and I found an orange dark chocolate called theo at Whole Foods. This chocolate and my orange marmalade add a citrus taste to the chocolate ganache.
Two weeks later, and I'm still not happy with my crust. Everybody liked it, but I'm on the search for the perfect crust. It’s the German in me. The second crust recipe was very easy to make, a little bit more flaky and complemented the strong chocolate flavor. I made the second crust one more time using the food processor and cooling the dough a little more before baking. Voila! I had a winner. I ran out of orange marmalade and used plum jam instead, and for the chocolate I used cherry-flavored chocolate with tiny pieces of almonds in them—very nice with a wonderful flavor and the tart is delicious without the raspberries. I just like to have a little nibble when I have a cup of tea. You will be able to make this tart in no time, yes it is easy to make.
Apple Strudel Cake
Apple strudel cake or Apfelkuchen as we call it in Germany is a delicious mouth-watering treat to celebrate the change of season or any other occasion.
The French have their apple tart, in the United States we have our apple pie, and in Germany there is Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) or Apfelkuchen (apple cake).
I combine the two and make apple strudel cake. This is the closest thing to an apple strudel without a tremendous amount of work, expertise, and the time it takes to make an apple strudel. The filling has cinnamon, apples, almonds, and raisins, just like an apple strudel. The crust is flaky and buttery and complements the filling nicely. This cake is an old friend of mine, as I have baked it for many years. It is a treat that my family and friends always enjoy. My hubby loves eating it with vanilla ice cream. I prefer Schlag (whipped cream). The cake improves with age and is a great party or dinner pleaser.
My friend, Robert, has beautiful apples in his garden that I used for this cake. Any firm, tart, not-too-juicy apple will do. I used Gravensteins.
I enjoy making this cake by hand. It is like playing in the sand box, but if you don't want to get your hands dirty, you can make the dough in a food processor. Just make sure you don't over mix the dough. Mix the dry ingredients first, add the butter and egg, and use the on/off control on the food processor to mix. Flatten the dough by hand into two disks, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.