This is going to be a slightly different coffee date to the previous ones. I decided to show you a few pictures of the second wedding cake I had the honor of making in August this year. I will try to keep it short, but I will let you know the few lessons I learned along the way. If you are interested in further details, you can check out my highlights on Instagram.
Lesson #1: A three-tiered cake requires much more work than a two-tiered cake. For that reason I made the cake layers at home in Munich and decided to freeze them. As you can see, I wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap and also used a plastic bag to keep them fresh. I decided to do this as the wedding was 600km away and I was simply too scared to carry a cake long-distance for such a long amount of time. I am glad I went this route, I ended up 7 1/2 hours on the road.
You can see that I wrapped the cake layers in plastic wrap and a bag in order to freeze them
Lesson #2: Cooling boxes are my new favorite toy. I carried the frozen cake layers for 7 1/2 hours in this box, wrapped in ice and it was not problem at all to continue freezing the cake layers in a freezer. Yes!
Yes, it used a seatbelt for the box
Lesson #3: I finished the wedding cake in an Airbnb. Obviously, I carried with me a lot of the tools, including my KitchenAid. But it was very convenient to have an empty fridge for the cakes at hand.
You will see the three cake layers in the semi-naked style here
Lesson #4: Unfortunately, larger cakes tend to look smaller and bulkier than they actually are. I made 4 cake layers for the top tiers, but decided to use five cake layers (as you can see below) for the bottom tier. Reason for this being that the bottom layer somehow looked smaller otherwise. This is something you should keep in mind when you calculate your sizes, I had to add one extra layer to my bottom tier!
You see that the bottom tier of 30xm had five cake layers to get it to look a bit taller
Lesson #5: If the bride tears up when she sees the cake, I feel you have done a good job. And let me tell you, making a three-tiered cake requires a lot of work. I think I spent about 20 hours on this cake, let alone the many hours I did research, tried different cake recipes, checked many flavors, etc. Many of the guests came to me thanking me that this was the first wedding cake ever tasting fresh and fruity and was not so overly sweet. Of course each layer had a different flavor combo and as requested by the couple, I had used very little buttercream, but cream cheese, etc. for the filling. Below you can see how popular the wedding cake was, coffee time was not over yet when I snapped that picture.
I snapped this picture during coffee time, I think barely anything was left
If you are interested in further details or would like to know the recipes, feel free to leave me a comment. I did do a whole series on the first wedding cake I made, you can check it out here:
It has been a while since I last drank a coffee with you virtually. Reason for this was because there have been many things going on in my life. We moved inside the city and I underwent surgery. I am all good, no worries, it was planned. However, originally there were two zysts they wanted to remove, but afterwards I learned that I do have endometriosis. Endo what? Believe me, I had no idea what the doctors were talking about. So I had to do a bit of research. This is a chronic sickness where tissue develops for example on your ovaries or fallopian tubes where it is not supposed to grow. It can create a lot of pain, usually women with this condition have extremely painful periods, some may faint or need to vomit and in some instances the pain will be constant, not only during your period.
Fortunately, I have not experienced such horrible pain. I do recall, especially when I attended university, that I once fainted during a very large lecture with about 600 students and the professor just sent me home. I don’t know how I even managed to catch the right tram and crawled inside my bed. This is the most painful episode I ever had. But I do have other typical symptoms. One of them is feeling exhausted and fatigued all the time. Nowadays people understand much better what this entails as it can be a symptom of COVID19. It is really frustrating, because I normally sleep well and try to do sports regularly. Believe me, feeling fatigued is much more than simply being tired. For a long time I thought it was my fault. I mean, how can this be that I am living a pretty healthy lifestlye, I sleep 8 hours per night, I excercise, yet I always feel so exhausted. Sometimes it is like a knob was turned off, it may only be 8pm, but I feel like crashing on my bed and falling asleep right away. Martina Liel, a woman who has endometrioses, too, describes it in German as if your body wants to get into hibernation just like the sleeping beauty. I couldn’t have said it any better. That is exactly how it feels.
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.
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.
Shame on me, I haven’t drunk a virtual coffee with you in such a long time. It is already the last quarter of 2020 and here I am, no coffee date as of yet. Shame on me. The only excuse I have is that due to the Corona virus my full-time job changed quite a bit with an extremely busy workload. But regardless, I should have taken the time to tell you a bit, shouldn’t I?
It’s about time to have a coffee date with you! I love cold brew coffee, especially in this heat wave we are currently experiencing here in Germany. Make sure to coarsely grind your coffee beans. Place them in a cloth and let soak in water for a few hours or overnight. That’s it. Enjoy with some ice cubes and milk. My perfect summer snack. If you are wondering which cookie I am eating, this is my favorite chocolate chip cookie.
While I am typing these words, it is the last day of March 2019, which means my one-month break, my long holidays, my time to relax and refuel is over. I know, one full month I had off, it feels like heaven. In case you didn’t know, this blog is still just my hobby, I conciously decided this not long ago. It still is my baby, but I can only take care of it when I am not working or on weekends. I worked full-time in Hamburg, and I am also going to work full-time in Munich. But I needed a small break. I needed this month to destress. It was quite a whirlwind, moving 800 kilometers. You may be in the new city physically, but your sould is still wandering around, lost at some pit stop.
Yes, I do feel nostalgic, this one precious month is suddenly over. How can this happen so fast? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I had to paint walls white again (something very common here in Germany)? Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I taught my replacement in Hamburg the ropes of the job? The farewell party? How can it be that I am suddenly in another city and have to work again? I find it amazing how quickly each day passed without having a proper job.
This is my one-month review
I didn’t really enjoy preparing my dinner, but I ended up liking it quite a bit
Guess what, pasta was fun to make. You know, like kneading the dough, rolling it out, that’s baking language right there. I definitely prefer baking to cooking. I will never understand how anyone likes to take care of so many pots bubbling with something at the same time. Each one screaming, take care of me! Baking is so much easier, usually one bowl at a time and step by step, I find that much more relaxing. So when I had to make my own dinner, I decided for pasta. Pasta I could prepare without a pasta machine, so this meant tagliatelle, lasagna, anything I could roll out thinnly. My favorite recipe was below tagliatelle with dried tomatoes, spinach and walnuts.
Taking great pictures of pasta I much harder than I thought
Maybe it isn’t the best idea taking pictures when you are hungry. Especially if you would like the food to be warm when you finally have the chance to sit down and enjoy it. I have to say, cakes and cupcakes are so much easier to handle, you can move them around for hours and nothing happens. Thank God I have a baking blog, otherwise I would be the grumpiest person on earth.
That was much easier than I thought. In addition, I had so much fun taking pictures. I have to admit, photography is definitely a new passion of mine. I find baking very relaxing, it destresses me. Photography, on the other hand, is much more art. In my opinion baking makes others happy whereas photography shows beauty. Below you will see a “Behind the Scenes” picture of the super refreshing lime bars. You will find the recipe here on the blog.
I baked like never before
I have never baked as much and as constant as in March 2019. I usually try to keep it to the weekend only, I usually either bake on Friday evening or Saturday morning, but this month I decided to only do things I truly enjoy and one of them is baking. Of course I had a lot of guests over, one time I threw a little get together with more than 10 guests. Below strawberry chocolate cake was definitely a huge hit and gone within hours.
Since I baked so much, I did gain weight
I find it a bit scary writing this for everybody to read. I am fairly tall, 1.77 cm (roughly 5’9, almost 6 feet), so I can eat quite a bit, but since I had so many baked goods around all the time, it did finally show on the scale. And as many women, I have tried my share of diets over the years. I have never been a huge fan of diets that restrict food, let alone full food groups. You want me to quit carbs? Are you kidding? I can’t let go of cakes and cookies, sorry, just not going to happen. I have never believed in restrictions, in severe food changes, since these are not going to be permanent. Usually what happens is that you are going to gain it all back, the typical jojo effect. Been there, done that. The only thing that has actually worked for me is interval fasting. The basic idea is that you have a window of 8-10 hours in which you can eat whatever you want, but for the remainder of your 24 hours, you can only drink water. That’s a “diet” I can get behind. I intend on starting with the soft version, which is a ten-hour window. Usually you are asked to keep this window at the same time, however, if I had to attend a business dinner or had some other kind of event outside of my normal window, I had no problem simply moving the window. Because one of the things I hate the most is that you have to explain to others why you aren’t eating or eating funny things, bla. I am really sick of that and as stated, once you go back to your normal eating habits, you will gain it back. Let’s see how it works this time, I mean, I am writing this in public, you are my witnesses 😉
Oreos with a cookie stamp, you will find the recipe plus lots of tips working with a cookie stamp here
I recently introduced a new category here on the blog. I basically invite you to have a coffee with me, at least virtually. If you are interested in my previous blog posts of this category, check out the first, second and third blog post. Today I am sharing number 4. Because I actually do have something to share. We moved from Hamburg in the north of Germany back to the south to the beautiful city Munich.
I am neither from Munich nor Hamburg. I usually cringe if somebody asks me where I am from because I never know how to answer it. If I am lazy, I will say close to Bielefeld, which is a city in the middle of Germany. It is a place I lived in the longest so far. But if somebody insists and wants to know more details, I have to tell my patchwork bio. Because I was born in Uruguay, a beautiful and small country in Latin America. That’s why you will find my favorite cookies from Uruguay on my blog (chocolate and dulce de leche) or this super delicious peach cake with meringue from my city of birth.
I just returned from my holiday in San Francisco. For that reason I felt I wanted to share another vitural coffe with you guys and tell you a little bit about this holiday. Not necessarily in the most sturctured way or with tons of tips including google maps and the like, sorry, but I am not a blogger for travels. I prefer telling the fun little stories I encountered as I feel life is full of little stories and they are not necessarily structured either.
I love travelling, I feel it stirs my creative spirits. You know when you smell so many different scents, when the intonation of the people talking around you sounds like an orchestra from another continent. My brain seems to be wired to happily oversee anything regular at home, but when you are travelling, it suddenly stops and gets all excited about litte mundane things such as road signs. At least this was the case when I set foot on Golden Gate Bridge and suddenly saw the sign pictured below. My brain was suddenly fully awake, tugging me, all excited because it could see a little girl with a pony tail. A girl, not a genderless or abstract symbol, clearly a little girl. My imagination went wild, imagining little Eva who was promised ice cream by her grandfather and was all eager to get chocolate ice cream. I know, I know, I have a pretty wild imagination and I don’t need to do anything in particular to get it going. I mean, this was also the case with the second picture you see below “Listen to the wall.” Doesn’t really make sense to me, I mean, aren’t walls created to hold up something or to look at something? Why should I listen to this particular wall? Is there any kind of bar in the vicinity musicians had gigs at? Is this meant symbolically? Why should I listen to this wall, this particular wall?
I’m still surprised that you are so interested in my personal life. My new category “Let’s Have a Coffee” seems to be hitting a soft spot, many people have contacted me since then and mentioned that they are really enjoying this new category. If you would like to read my first entry, check it here. And since you were so excited about the first entry, I am doing number two now. As with the first entry, I decided to first answer a question I get asked all the time:
What is your favorite food?
The short answer is: this depends. It depends on the season, whether you are talking about breakfast, main course, etc. Sometimes it will change, just because I am hot or cold, or didn’t sleep properly, etc., etc. Seriously, there is no ONE food I will always eat. However, chances are high that you will get me excited about burgers. I love hamburgers, of course homemade. My husband makes a kick-ass burger bun. He is the master of bread-baking and he has been baking all of the bread we consume for quite some time now. That’s also one of the main reasons you don’t find that many bread recipes on my blog even though we eat a lot of homemade bread. That’s because my husband took over. He once graciously allowed me to document how he made some Italian bread with semolina and olive oil. If you are interested in that recipe, please check here. Do let me know if you are interested in seeing his burger bun recipe, it is a brioche-based bun, just so delicious!