Now Germany has, rightly so, a really rather good reputation in the cake stakes. Kaffee und Kuchen are practically a national institution - indeed I wouldn't be surprised to find out there was a law which stated that you must have cake at least once a day!
Particular favourites of mine include Streusel cakes - which are a sort of crumble topped cake and fruit affair, all very seasonal of course, so we're in the midst of rhubarb cake at the moment - yummy! Also not to be missed are the classic Apfelkuchen and many of the baked cheesecakes. I did also find a lovely rice-pudding cake which, too, was very moreish!
German cakes are generally big, often creamy and you do need to invest the time to enjoy them properly - none of this eating on the run.... Coffee, cake, copious amounts of whipped cream and there you have classic Kaffee und Kuchen.
|Bavarian Kaffee und Kuchen|
Now, if you've read any of my other postings, you'll be aware that I've begun to bake a bit more here than I perhaps did back in the UK, partly as I enjoy the actual baking and of course the end result - but also due to children's birthday parties and assorted events at Kindergarten, school and other clubs which require cake donations.
The cupcake bandwagon hasn't quite reached my part of Germany yet and so that is what I generally go for when asked to produce something for the cake sale. As I've said before, obtaining baking supplies - both in terms of ingredients and decorating is somewhat awkward here. I'm still experimenting with the best ratios of German baking powder to plain flour for my UK recipes which demand self-raising......with varying results!
Anyway, once said cakes are baked to my satisfaction, then I often tend to get carried away. It seems a run of the mill butter cream icing is fairly unknown here so my creations often feature that with some sort of sweet/chocolate decoration on top. Without fail at Kindergarten every time I've offered up my cupcakes I'm asked if they're 'cream cakes' as they can't seem to get to grips with a fluffy icing instead of a flat glace icing.
Birthday cake design is also that bit more tricky as you can't readily buy ready to roll icing - so I've had to make my own. I found, with the help of several online fora, a recipe for marshmallow fondant - which I will share with you here - it's very easy to make and tastes much nicer than the usual roll out fondant.
4 tbsp Water
1.25kg Icing sugar
Colour of choice.
- Melt the mallows and water in the microwave together for a couple of minutes
- Pop in food processor - add the sugar and blend till smooth and the right consistency - you may need to adjust the sugar amount.
- Turn onto a greased surface and knead till smooth and pliable.
Now, bear in mind that the icing will be VERY VERY sticky. I use solid coconut fat to grease the mixer and my hands /board /rolling pin as without it it will stick to everything. (A pleasant side effect of this is that your hands feel super smooth after working the fondant) The fondant keeps well in an airtight container - for several weeks and can also be frozen.
|Mario mid construction|
It works best with a layer of butter cream underneath to both smooth the cake and stick it down - oh and it tastes fairly decadent with both too....
I'm certainly enjoying sampling as many German cakes as I can (whilst not on my current diet fad...that's a whole other post) and also enjoying sharing my knowledge of English baking with our German friends - and of course cake can NEVER be a bad thing!
|Super Mario Birthday Cake - the finished article.|