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I've Got Wheels of Vegan Cake



September 2013



Bobbes {Shortcrust Pastry with Nuts & Raisins}

Classic German Desserts

These little pastries are probably not very famous, even in Germany. I never heard about them before I moved to the small university town Göttingen. At that time I didn’t bake. So I usually went to the local bakeries to get my sweet tooth fixed. And there they were, those small but comparably heavy streusel topped buns. I always thought they were special because they were made from such unusual material. They were as big as a small roll or cinnamon bun, but they were not made from yeast or sponge cake. Instead their main component was shortcrust pastry. Actually they were not a pastry, they were a giant cookie, filled with marzipan and raisins.


Because of their weird appearance and their fascinating texture I had to buy them again and again. And then I left Göttingen and moved to Saxony. And those brilliant little things were never to be seen again. After that I often thought about them and a couple of weeks ago I finally looked up the recipe. They are made with enriched shortcrust pastry. The eggs help to bind the dough and add stability. This is necessary because Bobbes are made like cinnamon buns: the dough is rolled into a log. Shortcrust pastry made without eggs is supposed to be crumbly and has to be treated carefully. The fat that is added to the dough minimises gluted development and that results in a crumbly dough. During baking it also makes the dough spread, something that is desireable in some cookies, but not in a pastry like this. So the protein provided by the eggs holds the dough together, both during shaping and baking. Because of this I decided to use an egg replacer for this recipe. Chickpea flour mixed with water works great for this recipe: It provides the liquid needed to form the dough and the protein to bind it. I decided to make a version with alcohol and used 50 ml Kirschwasser. But that was a bit much, I would recommend to use less, maybe 2 tablespoons. Substitute soy milk for a non-alcoholic version.

Bobbes (makes 10)
adapted from this recipe

For the dough:
190 g flour (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
70 g (1/3 cup) sugar
1 pinch salt
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) chickpea flour, mixed with 6 tablespoons water
110 g (1/2 cup) refined coconut oil, very soft

For the filling:
50 ml (3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) rum or Kirschwasser (or a combination of alcohol and soy milk)
100 g (3.5 oz) marzipan, cubed
25g (2 tablespoons) sugar
100 g (3.5 oz) raisins
50 g (1/2 cup) sliced almonds

For the streusel topping:
40 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon water

To make the dough:
Combine flour, starch, and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and use a hand held mixer to form into a dough. Form a ball, wrap in plastic and transfer to the fridge, cool for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

To make the filling:
Combine Kirschwasser, marzipan and sugar. Mix with a hand held blender or a food processor into a smooth purée.

Carefully roll the dough into a log (35×30 cm or 13.8 x 11.8 inches). This works best if you place it between two layers of plastic wrap. Spread the marzipan mass on top, leaving a little margin on all sides. Sprinkle with raisins and almonds. Now roll the dough into a log very carefully and slowly. Cut into 10 pieces. Place on a baking sheet with  a cut side up.

To make the streusel topping:
Combine all ingredients and form crumbs. Sprinke on top of the bobbes and press them into the dough gently. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool completely before serving. These freeze well! Place them on your toaster to thaw them.



September 2013



Bienenstich Cupcakes {Bee Sting Cupcakes}

Bienenstich Cupcakes

Classic German Desserts

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake) is a yeasted sheetcake with a buttercream (or whipped cream) filling and a caramelized nut topping. It is very popular all over Germany. Traditionally, German buttercream is made with butter, sugar, and eggs. But these days most recipes call for custard powder instead of eggs. (I really had no idea how popular custard is in Germany! I am not the biggest fan – but now that I am doing this theme I realise that so many German dessert recipes call for custard.) In the area where I grew up, Bienenstich was not made with buttercream at all. We used sweetened whipped cream instead.

Bienenstich Cupcakes

Bienenstich is best made for a large crowd, since it’s a sheetcake baked in a deep baking sheet. And you need some time for it, as it is made with yeasted dough. If you don’t have that large crowd or you don’t feel like baking with yeast, try these Bienenstich cupcakes instead. I made them by adapting a recipe for “quick” bienstich, that called for baking powder instead of yeast. (It’s also a recipe that makes a smaller quantity.)

If you look at that recipe you can see that it calls for 4 eggs. Many vegans would tell you to stay away from such a recipe. They doubt you can replace all those eggs and get a result that is similar to the original version. Sometimes that is true. But if you look at that recipe again, you will also see that it calls for 150 g of butter. That butter will add flavour and it will moisten the cake. But it will also destroy its structure as it coats the flour proteins and keeps them from forming gluten. To make the cake lighter and improve the structure, you need more eggs. When I adapted that recipe I simply cut out some of the fat and added some milk to provide the liquid the eggs usually would provide. Problem solved. This method works for most cake recipes that call for a high amount of fat and eggs.

The topping is usually made in advance, sprinkled on top of the batter and baked with the crust. For my cupcakes I tried to caramelise the nuts and the sugar in a pan and that didn’t go so well. I looked up other Bienenstich cupcake recipes and found a great alternative to my method here and here. I’ll post this method insteead of my original version.

When it comes to the filling I have to admit that I don’t like buttercream. It is too heavy for me. I thought about using vegan whipped cream, but the versions I tried so far often have an artificial taste or they are not widely available. So I simply used my almond cream recipe. Here’s a buttercream recipe, if you want to go for a more traditional Bienenstich filling.

Bienestich Cupcakes (makes 9)

adapted from this recipe

For the cupcakes:
150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
125 g ( 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
160 ml (2/3 cup) soy milk
80 ml (1/3 cup) oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
110 g (3/4 cup) almonds
120 ml (1/2 cup) almond milk, soy milk, or water
seeds from half a vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30 g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar

For the topping:

slightly adapted from this recipe
100 g (1 heaping cup) sliced almonds
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
25 g (2 tablespoons) refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons agave syrup
3 tablespoons almond cream

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line 9 muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Beat everything with a hand held blender. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 20 Minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

To make the filling:
Bring a small pot with water to a boil. Add the almonds and blanch them for 2 minutes. Drain and let cool. Remove the skins. (Even if you have blanched almonds on hand, please don’t skip the cooking step. Just like soaking it makes the almonds soft and easier to blend.)

Combine almonds and remaining ingredients for the cream in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

To make the topping:
Roast the almonds in a pan until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Place the sugar in a small pot and slowly melt it over low or medium-low heat. Add agave and coconut oil and stir, then add the almond cream. Remove from heat, add almonds and stir until covered. Let cool completely before topping the cupcakes. (If you want this to be quick, spread the almonds on a baking sheet. The topping should ahve cooled down after 15 minutes.)

Cut a hole in the middle of each cupcake. Reserve the tops. Fill the cupcakes with almond cream and carefully put the tops back. Use a spoon to distribute the topping on top of the cupcakes. (It will look different from the pictures above since I used my first topping version that didn’t come out so well. You should have some almonds on top with caramelized sugar running down the cupcake.) Serve and Enjoy!



September 2013



Gedeckter Apfelkuchen {Topped Apple Cake}


Classic German DessertsVeganMoFo 2013, it’s on! If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out the VeganMofo site here. You can browse all participating blogs by category and by country. For this years VeganMoFo I decided to blog about German desserts from A to Z. For this purpose there’s a new page on this blog with some advice on (German) baking. And this is my first entry:


Apple cake is probably one of the most popular cakes in Germany. There is not one single traditional apple cake recipe though. Crusts and fillings vary, yeasted apple cakes are popular, but there are lots of recipes calling for batter leavened with baking powder or cakes made with shortbread crusts. A common version available at most bakeries is gedeckter Apfelkuchen, a cake made with a shortbread crust, an apple raisin filling, which covered with a second crust glazed with sugar. It’s not the most beautiful cake on this blog but is very delicious. So delicious that it surprises you. (I totally fucked up that picture! The top crust fell off, the light was terrible, etc. But since it’s VeganMoFo and I can’t spend two hours on taking a picture – why, yes? I do that sometimes – we have to make do with this one.)

The combination of tart apples, lemon juice, mild nuts, and cinnamon is just perfect! I made this in a 18 cm (7 inch) springform pan and the cake can easily be eaten by four hungry people. You can also freeze it. (I recommend to cut it into pieces and freeze the pieces individually.) I chose to add chickpea flour to the shortbread crust because like eggs, it helps binding the crust.

Gedeckter Apfelkuchen
adapted from this recipe

For the dough:
150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
1 pinch salt
25 g (3 tablespoons) ground hazelnuts
55 g (1/4 cup) cold refined coconut oil, chopped into little cubes
3 tablespoons cold soymilk

For the filling:
25 g (1/4 cup) oats
25 g (3 tablespoons) ground hazelnuts
300 g apples (2 medium)
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons raisins
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

75 g (2/3 cup, unsifted) powdered sugar
4-5 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

To make the dough:
Place the flour in a bowl. Add sugar, chickpea flour, salt, and hazelnuts. Mix well. Add the coconut oil cubes and use your hand to mix everything quickly and form crumbs. Make sure to knead in the fat properly. Add the liquid and form into a dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Grease a 18 cm (7 inch) springform pan and sprinkle with flour. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Roll 1/3 of the dough into a disk. Use your springform pan to cut out a circle. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge. Roll out the remaining dough and place in the pan. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides (4 cm or 1.6 inches).

Combine oats and hazelnuts and place on the bottom of the cake.

Cut the apples into small cubes and mix with lemon juice. Add almonds, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well and pour into the cake pan. Remove the remaining dough from the fridge and place on top of the cake. Use your fingers to pinch the edges together. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and use a knife to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove and let cool.

Combine powdered sugar and lemon or lime juice and glaze the cake top. Wait until the glaze has dried and serve. Whipped cream goes great with this cake, by the way!

P.S. Check out my recipe index for more German cakes and desserts!



August 2013



Vegan Month of Food 2013 – Dessert Edition!

Classic German Desserts

Classic German Desserts

September starts in less than two weeks! That is exiting because this year September is the Vegan Month of Food. Until last year I took part every single year since 2007. Last year I skipped because honestly, all I could have written about would have been puréed baby food. For this year I am prepared and I hope everyone else is, too: For 30 days of awesome vegan recipes, stories, and contributions from bloggers who live in many parts of the world. On this blog you should also be prepared for a month of sugar and fat overload. Yep, that’s right.

I am still not committed to a super to a super healthy lifestyle and in the name of VeganMoFo and all fellow sugar lovers I want to dedicate this September to Classic German Desserts! I am going to try to veganise (more or less) traditional cake, cookie, and pastry recipes, starting with a as in Apfelkuchen and ending with z as in Zitronenkuchen or Zimtsterne. I already made a list of desserts I want to make. But if you have suggestions for German desserts that you would like to see here during September, please leave a comment!

My list will be very subjective, of course, including some local specialities not everyone might be familiar with. Since this is a very time consuming and elaborate challenge, I decided not to come up with my own recipes for this month. Instead I will be veganising recipes that can be found on websites like Dr. Oetker or Küchengötter. I’ll try to explain substitutes and alternative methods, so that new vegans or those new to baking and vegan baking might find the posts helpful. Since not even I (we) can probably eat that amount of cake, I’ll try to come up with many halved recipes, mini-versions and desserts which freeze easily.

Well, that is what I’ll be doing for veganMoFo.  Are you also participating?



August 2013



Flax-Restaurant and Café v-cake, Dresden

When I went vegan six years ago Dresden had hardly any vegan options. It  is a conservative city and even the liberal neigbourhood we live in was kind of a hopeless place. When we wanted to go out for a decent meal, we had to travel to Leipzig and Berlin. Of course that didn’t happen too often. Over the last couple of years a lot has changed. I don’t want to say we are the vegan food capital of Germany now (that is still Berlin) and we also don’t have places which serve fancy vegan food (like Zest restaurant in Leipzig, for example). But there are a few nice vegan options that I want to introduce to you in a couple of posts. We have two vegan restaurants, called Falscher Hase and Flax . Flax is pretty new and run by Chloé Vincent from New Zealand. Like the other places I am going to present here, it is situated in the Neustadt neighbourhood. (Schönfelder Straße 2).

flax schönfelder straßeThe menu is comparatively small, but they have changing sweet and savoury daily specials. We have been there a couple of times now and really liked everything we had. We’ve even been there for breakfast once, but their opening hours have changed and I am not sure if they still offer this option. Make sure to check out their facebook page (linked above) for opening hours. The prices are great and the service is very nice.

This time we ordered the Flax burger, which was made with a tofu patty, fresh vegetables, homemade mayo, and arugula pesto. It came with oven baked potatoes, more mayo, and a salad on the side. I like this burger very much, especially because I thought that the pesto was a great idea. And the homemade mayo is the best I ever had!

P. chose quinoa sushi and oven baked potatoes with mayo. It all came on the same plate so he got to eat potatoes with chopsticks!

Another great place is the recently opened first vegan café in Dresden, the Café v-cake, located at Rothenburger Straße 14. This place offers a variety of foods, you can get cakes and other desserts, müesli, soft serve, but also savoury stuff for lunch and dinner: soups, salads, sandwiches, and other options. We love that this place is large and has board games and books in a children’s play area. That means we can enjoy our food while our daughter has fun taking apart the board games. This time we had some soft serve ice cream and Maulwurfkuchen (mole cake – a chocolate streusel cake with banana and cream filling).

vcake restaurant dresden

You can usually choose from three cakes, the menu is always different. We have seen cheese cakes, cream cakes and fruit cakes. The sandwiches are great, too and they are made like sandwiches are traditionally made in Germany: whole grain bread, vegan butter, vegan cheese, some herbs. I have to say that I sometimes have really missed this kind of sandwich since going vegan. And since I almost never buy vegan cheese, I am glad they have a decent Butterbrot at v-cake. Of course you can also choose from several cold and warm beverages, too. Last time P. had a matcha latte. Another great thing is that you can decide what kind of non-dairy milk you want. I think they have soy, hazelnut, almond, and probably some more. Check the facebook page for opening hours and a glimpse at the cake options. I am very glad that we now have an 100% vegan café in Dresden-Neustadt! That is really a great gain.

I can recommend both the Flax and the v-cake but there are many more vegan options in Dresden-Neustadt. I’ll write more about them in my next posts.