seitan is my motor

I've Got Wheels of Vegan Cake



December 2013



Mohnstriezel {Poppy Seed Christmas Cake}


If there is one thing in this city that you cannot ignore during Christmas season, it is stollen. Dresden is very famous for its traditional Christstollen, a very heavy sweet Christmas cake that is sold in every bakery and on every Christmas market. It’s shipped all over the country to friends and relatives and I am pretty sure you can order it from abroad, too. In addition to the traditional stollen, which is made with lots of butter, dried fruits and candied peel, there are many other versions. Nuts and marzipan are popular and bakers are trying out new ingredients every year. This season, for example, cranberry stollen are very popular. Because I love poppy seeds, my favourite is still poppy seed stollen which is closely related to similar Czech and Polish (Makowiec) baked goods.

Stollen is usually baked in advance and stored for weeks before it is finally eaten. Therefore it is made from a heavily enriched yeast dough with a very high fat content. The fats of choice are butter and sometimes lard. The fat and the dried fruits help to keep the cake fresh and moist. Poppy seed or marzipan fillings serve the same purpose.

In Dresden stollen is often called striezel but any sweet yeasted bread or cake that is shaped like a log or braided can be called striezel in German. My recipe is more a striezel in that general term than a stollen. It is much lighter and fluffier and can’t be stored that long because it has a lot less fat.  (A couple of days wrapped in aluminium foil are fine, but it won’t keep for weeks like a stollen.)

Mohnstriezel (makes one loaf)
filling adapted from this recipe

400 g (3 1/4 cup) flour
80 g (1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup plus 1 teaspoon) sugar
200 ml (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) soy milk
20 g  fresh yeast (or 1 teaspoon instant yeast)
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla

250 ml (1 cup plus 2 teaspoons) soy milk
180 g (1 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon) poppy seeds, ground
25 g (2 tablespoons) semolina
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice


100 g (1 cup, sifted) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
75 g (2/3 cup) slivered almonds

To make the dough: Combine flour, sugar, soy milk, and crumbled yeast in a bowl. Let sit for ten minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Use a had held or stand mixer to knead the dough until smooth (4-6 minutes). Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. If you haven’t already, grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder. In a small pot bring the milk to a boil. Stir in poppy seeds, semolina, sugar, and vanilla. Remove from heat, cover with lid and let sit until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Stir in rum and lime juice.

Roll the dough into a rectangle. (40 x 30 cm or 15.8  x 11.8 inch) Spread the filling on top, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 inch) margin around the edges. Roll the dough up from both sides:


Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a damp kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the striezel for 25-30 minutes. The top of mine started to brown pretty quickly so make sure to look after it. If it browns too fast, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and sprinkle over the cake. Sprinkle the almonds over the glaze. Let the glaze dry serve. Store at room temperature or in the fridge, wrapped in aluminium.




December 2013



Spekulatius mit Nougat {Spice Cookies with Gianduia}


spekulatius mit nougat

There are two things I am quite obsessed with: Spekulatius (spice cookies similar to speculoos) and nougat. For everyone who reads this blog it must feel like Groundhog Day: Every single year I proclaim that I have just come out with the perfect Spekulatius recipe. But this cookie is very special to me and believe me, it deserves all this attention. Especially since there’s a lot to experiment with: different spices, sugars and even different fats always give this cookie a new dimension and no recipe is the same. While last year it took me some time to figure out how to make Spekulatius cookies with oil instead of margarine, this year’s recipe came together pretty quickly with the help of refined coconut oil.




November 2013



Anise & Vanilla Shortbread Cookies


Yesterday Dresden’s Striezelmarkt opened its doors and that means Christmas markets all over town. It seems that Christmas season already started two months ago and these are the last preparations before you will hear Christmas songs at every corner for a whole month. And while all of this is usually too early and too much for me there is one thing I really look forward to: Baking cookies and other treats. I admit that I started planning recipes and shopping lists two weeks ago. My family and co-workers already had their fair share of Christmas cookies and there are more to come. You can find them (and the ones I have posted over the last couple of years) by clicking on the Christmas bakery badge on the right side of this blog. I’ll try to concentrate on traditional German holiday baked goods but I also have some more non-traditional recipes to share. If there’s something you’d love to see here, please feel free to leave a comment or email me.




November 2013






To many people Sachertorte is as Viennese as the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or the Ferris wheel in the Prater. Most tourists probably clog the famous Kaffeehäuser (coffee shops) only to order a slice of this famous chocolate cake.

I admit that we were guilty of the same thing when we made a trip to Vienna a couple of years ago. Since I had no idea where to find a vegan Sachertorte, I stuck to my regular black espresso while P ordered a piece of this famous chocolate cake. When it arrived it looked very simple and very pretty. It was a plain cake covered with the most perfect chocolate glaze I had ever seen. It was velvety and so even that I couldn’t believe actual people had made this cake. I thought it was too beautiful to eat and maybe we really should have just admired it for its simple beauty.

SachertorteBut then P took a bite and was completely underwhelmed. The cake, he said, was dry and too sweet. And that was it. Because of this experience I never really considered making a vegan Sachertorte. I read on several online forums that many people shared P’s experience and it seems that you either like Sachertorte or you hate it. But during Vegan Mofo so many readers requested a recipe for Sachertorte that I thought I should finally give it a try.




November 2013



Review (German only) Ab Heute Vegan by Patrick Bolk (Ed.)


This review is about a German book, so it’s only available in German. If you want to read it in German, click on the German version in the sidebar. Maybe I can console the rest of you with a picture of this Sachertorte? The recipe will be up later this week!