Bam, so I am turning 40 today, wow. I am old, suddenly all these terms pop up, such as middle-aged, half time, mid-life crisis, not very encouraging, don’t you think? But I can’t change the fact that I am 40 now. So I figured, OK, so be it, I guess I will have to deal. When we were on holiday in Spain end of July, I asked my in-laws if we could pre-celebrate my birthday, they complied. We had paella, which was prepared by my brother-in-law (thank you again!) and since we couldn’t decide for a flavor, we went for paella mixta, so it had it all, rabbit, chicken, and seafood. I was responsible for dessert (of course) and decided to make tarte tatin with apricots. We drank wine, which is a given in the wine region, we had a wonderful scenery with vineyards and a river, it was just so wonderful! Thanks to my in-laws for this wonderful experience: fue un placer, muchísimas gracias!
I am happy to say that on Easter there is reason to celebrate. Even though there is a lot of negativity going on in the world, I will celebrate. Five years ago, I had a horrible bicycle accident that resulted in brain bleeding and a concussion, among other things. One of my front teeth was chipped in half, but I didn’t suffer any permanent damage. I want to celebrate this big time and therefore there are going to be chocolate recipes all week long. Various food bloggers are going to present chocolate recipes, that’s what I wanted. The party for Jenny is on! Be sure to check out the comments below this blog post, bloggers will be linking up their recipes. There will also be another roundup here at the end of the week. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a hopeless chocoholic. That’s why there is a chocolate category on my blog. The pictured chocolate Nutella blueberry cake is of course part of the celebration, be sure to return to my site tomorrow. So to sum up, this is what is going to happen this week:
What and why are we celebrating in which way?
- What are we celebrating? Five years without permanent damage after my bike accident, yes, this is a party for me, Jenny!
- When are we celebrating? The whole week of April 18 – 24, 2022.
- How do we celebrate? With chocolate of course! In the comments the invited guest blogger will link their recipes, a recap can be found on my blog afterwards as well
- Who is celebrating? Lots and lots of lovely fellow bloggers who all came up with fancy chocolate recipes, yay!
- Where can you celebrate? Either check out the comments here to see who all brought something chocolatey for me (I’m so excited to browse all the chocolate recipes), read in detail below my accident story and why I’m so thankful or check back here after April 24 for a recap.
P.S.: You can marvel at this mind-blowingly delicious and blatantly decadent chocolate nutella cake with blueberries as of tomorrow, yes, yes, yes! You can find the recipe here.
In four days on February 15th, this blog will turn five. That’s reason to celebrate! That’s why I am offering this super delicious raspberry chocolate cake. Why I am doing it four days in advance and why this is the second chocolate raspberry cake on the blog, I will let you know below.
I don’t remember distinctly why I hit “publish” on a Thursday, which was February 15th, 2017. I believe I had made this French lemon tart for Valentine’s. My hubby loves anything with citrus fruits. At the beginning of this blog I thought I wouldn’t publish anything other than cookie recipes and recipes my husband requested. It may sound stupid, but it also holds true in baking. Practice makes perfect. I baked, and baked, and baked. I would simply pick recipes I liked on the Internet. If I happened to make the recipe again, I would usually tweak it a bit. At the beginning I followed recipes as much as I could, tried to understand the basics. At some point I would start creating my own recipes. I would probably use a cake based I used in recipe X, but liked the filling of recipe Y better and would happily mix and match. In 2019 a good friend of mine asked me whether I would be willing to bake her wedding cake with 100 guests. I agreed as I believed to have one full year to practice. Due to COVID one year turned into two, so I practiced layer cake after layer cake. There is a reason that I published some many cake recipes in 2020 and 2021. Many of those were trial runs for the wedding cake. Among these was my first chocolate raspberry cake. Very soon I learned that this was super popular. You guys made that recipe your number 2 in 2020 as well as 2021, I just checked. I am so happy every time somebody bakes it again.
Like every year I like to do a review of my blog. The below eight questions are perfect to answer every year anew.
#1 Which one was your most successful blog post in 2021?
The most popular recipe on my blog has been these chocolatey brownie cookies for three years in a row now, especially during the season. However, I would like to highlight this banana chocolate cake, I made for myself, not thinking about my readers or whether it was in any way publishable. Interestingly enough, it has become very popular and is currently third in place. It makes me very happy. I do believe that you sometimes need to simply bake something YOU would enjoy and not care about target groups or any demands or trends. As a chocoholic I am so happy that you have baked this cake countless times.
Guys, we have a new family member! Her name is Hazel! It is an Australian shepherd, she is about 9 weeks old. Obviously I had to bake something for her as well, I mean, isn’t she a cutie pie? Since she loves peanut butter (I have so far only met one dog in my entire life who didn’t like peanut butter), I decided to make her some peanut butter cookies.
The crazy year 2020 is almost over and I think it is about time to review it. With this blog post I am taking part in the “food blog review 2020” (in German) from the blog Feed me up before you go-go and below I am going to answer the eight questions for my blog.
#1 What was your most popular recipe in 2020?
The most popular recipe was definitely these brownie cookies. It has been the most clicked, most rated (more than 300 reviews!), and most baked recipe of my blog. I do understand why my readers love it so much, I love it, too. As a chocoholic, 2020 required more chocolate than ever. If you can get chocolate in cookie form, what is not there to like? I have also made a version with sourdough in case you started your sourdough in 2020 and don’t know what to do with the discards. Brownie cookies with sourdough are a wonderful variation, or you can try these vegan brownies with sourdough.
I have also made a video of these brownie cookies:
#2 Which three blog posts did you personally find most important?
Number 1 is definitely the blog post about my favorite café in Munich called “Wir machen Cupcakes”. The first lockdown in spring was already hard on it, now I just hope it will survive the second lockdown. If you wonder whether your café will make it or not, contact the owner and ask how you can support. Many offer vouchers, delivery, anything to keep them going. You will be surprised to see how grateful owners are if you just show your concern and offer some help.
Number 2 is this recipe for German spice cookies or Pfeffernüsse, which was passed down from my grandma. She was an amazing baker. She never seemed to measure anything, everything was by touch and feel, yet everything always tasted amazing. Unfortunately, she passed away recently, but I had the honor of receiving a handwritten recipe booklet from her. I hold it very dear. Obviously the recipes are rather brief, many times you will not find any measurements or oven temperatures. I have gotten used to that. Regardless, I have managed to make her apple strudel, gingerbread for the Christmas tree, and said Pfeffernüsse from this precious recipe book.
Number 3 is this blog post about how to ship a cookie box successfully, which contains lots of tips and tricks and tons of cookie recipes. I have been shipping cookie boxes for many years already, I have even shipped fancy cakes such as Sachertorte and also shipped internationally. I don’t think I have ever had as much traffic people googling for tips and tricks. But I cannot blame you, during these weird times we do need to remind our loved ones that we are thinking about them even if we cannot see them. And mind you, cookies can be sent all year round, you don’t need to do it only during the season. Nothing is more exciting than a cookie box full of homemade cookies during a time when you least expect it.
#3 Which three blogs inspired you the most?
Volker from volkermampft (in German) invented a wonderful blogging event, in which you get to choose a recipe from another food blogger. It is so much fun looking at other blogs and deciding for a recipe. I often have a hard time since there are so many wonderful recipes out there. I started with the classic red riding hood cake from Brot und Rosen, followed by plum dumplings with semolina from Esskalation, after that quince paste from Blog Corum and most recently parfait with cranberry sauce from Barbaras Spielwiese. I hope that Volker keeps organizing these events for a long time, I am looking forward to getting to know further wonderful blogs.
Then I need to mention Zorra from the blog Kochtopf (in German), she has been organizing blog events of various kinds for many years. I have done a few and have to say, wow, she is my personal hero for doing this all the time. I especially like the baking together she organizes every month. We all bake the same recipe on the same day and share our results later on. If I took part in it, you will find a lot of the posts in my breakfast and bread category.
And lastly, I need to mention one inspiring article, which is from Mara about getting ready for her wedding (in German) Mara’s blog Life is full of goodies (in German) is amazing. That particular article is long, but it is funny and I was truly impressed by the amount of time and effort she put into her wedding cake, all of the decorations, and the entire set-up. Seriously, I have no idea how she did it. Maybe I was so touched by it because I hope to bake two wedding cakes in 2021. My own wedding took place more than ten years ago and if I had only made half of what she did, I would have probably died of stress. I really don’t know how she did it. If you don’t speak German, just check out the photos. Everything, the wedding cake, the centerpieces, everything was made by her. It is incredible.
#4 Which recipe you published in 2020 you have made yourself most often and why?
This is the runner-up, it is my beloved chocolate raspberry cake. As written before, I needed a lot of chocolate in 2020. I personally love the combination of raspberries with chocolate, so I decided to invent a recipe with precisely this combination. Apparently you love it, too. At least I got a huge crowd baking this cake, so many readers clicked on the recipe and have left reviews and comments, it is wonderful. As soon as I became aware that this was such a beloved recipe, I had to make sure I got it all right and had to bake it several times. I also decided to make a video and was requested to make this flavor combination for a cake I sold.
#5 Which cooking or blogging problem did you encounter in 2020 and how did you tackle it?
If you are running a blog, believe me, there are many problems, many challenges, so many things to learn and to tackle. I personally find it very hard to narrow it down to only one. One of the things I have been dreaming of doing is offering baking classes. First our move from the north of Germany to the south got in the way and then the Corona virus hit us. For that reason I didn’t tackle it for a long time. At least I managed to offer one virtual baking class in December 2020 with about 14 participants, some of them even including their children. We made Christmas cookies and it was so much fun. I am a teacher at heart and I do enjoy teaching. I also realized that I have been baking for so long, I forgot the feeling of being a beginner. It was so cool to see what people were struggling with and helping them with tips and tricks of the trade. I hope I can tackle this even more in 2021.
#6 What was your biggest discovery this year, which recipe, technique, food stuff, flavor, etc. opened a completely new world to you?
I don’t think that you always discover new worlds, especially not in 2020 where most of us stayed at home most of the time. I also didn’t follow the Dalgona coffee fad or the banana bread fad. I did try them, but somehow got tired rather quickly and decided not to publish any recipe as I was not fully happy. But despite the fact that we all stayed at home and didn’t have as much exposure to new stuff, I did get into something very new. I started shooting recipe videos. For that reason I established a new category with all recipe videos on my blog. For sure this category is going to grow over time. Making a video is a super exciting yet also tiring process. I have to admit, when I filmed above chocolate raspberry cake, it took an entire day with many breaks in between. It is amazing how much time goes into filming and also the editting later on.
#7 What was the best or funniest search term that somebody used to find your blog?
This is a very recent one from December and said “Christmas cookies for women”. This got me thinking how Christmas cookies for women differ from Christmas cookies for guys. If you are looking for anything that may solve problems of women, I would definitely mention these brownie cookies, chocolate is perfect for PMSing or other gloomy happenings. This is coming from a chocoholic.
#8 What do you wish for your blog in 2021?
I do feel that fewer people comment on my blog than before. Somehow people do not mind leaving comments on Pinterest or Instagram, but I don’t know why they have such a hard time commenting on blogs. I can only encourage you to do so, many other readers will benefit from it, problems you may encounter, may be more common than you think or maybe you will help to improve the recipe. Only if you are willing to share how it went, there is the chance to improve and learn.
Does your heart break into pieces every time you stroll through your city and you see yet again another “We are closing” sign? Especially if it is a café or bar? At least I am heart-broken to see how many have been affected by the crisis here in Munich. It is a relief for me that my favorite cafe “Wir machen Cupcakes” (which translates to we are making cupcakes) is still running and open. I do desperately hope that this cafe will make it through the crisis in one piece.
Yes, you will find tons of cupcakes in this cafe, obviously. However, you will also find macarons, cakepops, cronuts, and super beautiful cakes made from scratch. My favorite among the cupakes is the one called “Chocolate Decadence” for EUR 3.50 each. As a chocoholic this doesn’t come as a surprise. The owner Maria writes on her homepage that it’s the cafe’s intention is to make you feel at home and to introduce a sparkle of joy in your everyday life. I couldn’t have said it any better, regardless of whether I wanted to celebrate my bachelorette’s party here or whether I wanted to unwind with a little treat after work.
Today is the last day of 2019. Seriously? When did this actually happen? I really feel like time flies, and somehow this year extra fast. One reason most definitely is the fact that we moved from the north of Germany from Hamburg to the south to Munich. But regardless, it feels like yesterday when I was cleaning the apartment in Hamburg for handover. For that reason I wanted to participate in the blog summary event of Feedmeupbeforeyougogo (in German) to answer a few questions of what actually happened in 2019. But before I do, I wanted to say, I am grateful for my blog year 2019, more than 150% visitors, published more than 70 recipes, regardless of the move, this was a busy year. But let’s get started with the questions.
#1 Which was your most sucessful blog article in 2019?
Definitely these lava cakes. Consisting on five ingredients, you will be surprised how easy they are to make. Many readers have told me that they made them sucessfully, which I love to hear. I will give you one secret tip in the article how to be sure you can have success with them, too.
#2 Which three blog articles of 2019 mean the most to you?
First I have to mention my cookie week with Uruguayan cookie recipes. It was so much fun doing research and finding Uruguayan recipes. It definitely is not as common in Latin America to bake as it is in Germany. For that reason it was quite a challenge to even find proper recipes. I learned a lot about the country I was born in and somehow I really enjoyed watching old Youtube videos showing usually moms in their homes making cookies without any proper measurements, let alone a kitchen scale. I guess this is a challenge for me who likes to measure everything as this is the best way to ensure consistent results. I have had to test a lot of the recipes several times to get to anything good. My favorite recipe from this week is currently the chocolate salami, which in my opinion truely resembles a real salami.
My second favorite recipe are the Colombian pandebonos. When I made them first, I had beginner’s luck and they turned out great. However, don’t ask me how many times I had to try over again before they finally tasted great again. Of course I will give you the secret in the blog post how to be sure they are perfect the first time around. Maybe this is the perfect party snack for New Year’s? They are completely gluten free.
#3 Which other three blogs inspired you the most?
This would be Emmas Lieblingsstücke (in German) who does the most beautiful cakes. I had the chance to meet Emma personally and I just love her easy-going personality.
Patrick Rosenthal (in German) inspired me with his food photography. Of course I had to bake his oatmeal cookies (delicious by the way!).
And lastly I will never understand how Tieghan from the blog Half baked harvest even has the energy to publish as many recipes as she does every single week. She is such a workaholic. Definitely an inspiration.
#4 Which of the recipes you published have you baked/cooked the most and why?
This would be the basic recipe for porridge. Especially in winter I love to eat warm breakfast. I don’t mind getting up a few minutes early and I love preparing some warming porridge for my husband and me. Currently I love it with some apple slices browned in some butter and with some cinnamon.
#5 Which baking problem did you encounter in 2019 and how did you solve it?
Due to our move from Hamburg to Munich I haven’t had the chance to offer baking classes as I had planned to do in 2019. Regardless, I am sure this is going to happen in 2020.
#6 What was a culinary discovery in 2019?
It was not a new discovery per se. However, I have to say, I love how much the caramel cream dulce de leche is used in Latin American cuisine. I feel it does add some new flavor to anything. If you are into regular caramel, for sure you will love dulce de leche, which is made of sweetened condense milk. In this blog article I offer an easy way how to make it and also several recipes to incorporate it in.
#7 What was the best or funniest search term which visitors used to come to your site?
I don’t have anything that funny to offer. However, one thing I really don’t like and which many search terms did contain was the word Columbia. My dear friends, it may be British Columbia, the university may also be Columbia University, but if you talk about the country, please spell it with two O’s, it is Colombia. If you want to see all my Latin American recipes, check this link.
#8 What do you wish for your blog in 2020?
I am so very happy that I get emails, comments and the like for my recipes. Many are positive, a few negative and each time somebody sends a picture or provides some feedback, it fills me with joy. The reason for my blog is that people actually make the recipes, so whether you want to use Facebook, Instagram, or would like to ask me via email info at jennyisbaking dot com, I am always happy to hear back and if you have an earnest baking question, I will do my very best to answer it.
To 2020! (the featured picture shows my number cake recipe)!