The Austrians might have invented the croissant, the French are considered masters of pastry and the Italians are the gods of gelato. But German baked goods shouldn’t be overlooked — or underestimated. And I’m not talking about bread. Well, not just bread. The Germans do cakes and pastries to make your mouth water. Munich, in particular, has some delicious specialties that you shouldn’t pass up. On your next visit to the Bavarian capital city check out these favorite Munich bakeries and pastry shops! They’ll have you saying “Mmm, lecker!”
Anyone who has driven along US Route 13, anywhere from about Delaware to Virginia, has likely seen the signs. Amidst the signs for farm fresh produce and crabs are banners that shout “Smith Island Cakes.” They pop up all along the eastern shore. But what is a Smith Island Cake? I recently traveled to visit the Smith Island Baking Company in Crisfield, Maryland, to find out.
Long weekends are great — until they’re over! This past weekend offered a much needed break. And while everyone is loving the unofficial start of summer I wasn’t exactly thrilled with Mother Nature’s participation. It’s not even June and we’ve already had our first heatwave. That means we’ve had three or more days of 90 or higher degrees Fahrenheit. What can I say, I’m just a cool weather girl!
Regardless of the weather, I took to the kitchen to tackle a Princess Torte — or Prinsesstårta in Swedish — by special request of my husband for his birthday. You may have eaten a mini version of this detailed cake at Ikea or seen it as a technical challenge on the Great British Bake-Off. I used, of course, Mary Berry’s recipe and I have to admit I’m very pleased with my first time results. The cake is layers of sponge, raspberry jam, pastry cream, and a whipped cream dome. Finish it off by draping the entire cake in pastel green marzipan. It was super tasty!
There is nothing worse than baking for a party or a group and not being able to please everyone. While it is difficult — or near impossible — to meet everyone’s preferences it is another thing altogether for dietary restrictions. It is why I tried for so long to figure out the “secret” of baking Zimtsterne for my lactose-intolerant mother. It is also why I started wondering if a simple ingredient replacement to the canneles recipe I made earlier this year could make a gluten-free cannelés and thus edible for my coworker.
Oh, and the Zimtsterne? It is all about keeping the dough drier rather than wetter.
When we visited Munich over this past summer I had a list of places I wanted to see and foods I wanted to eat. Near the top of that list was a trip to Salzburg, Austria. Although I didn’t get to spend as much time in the city as I would have liked, I had priorities: do a little music shopping at Musikladen-Salzburg (traveling to Salzburg to buy Vienna-based Bilderbuch’s Schick Shock and Wanda’s Amore makes perfect sense to me…) and get Sacher Torte. And let me just say: mission accomplished. So naturally the first thing I wanted to bake when I returned home was that deliciously chocolate cake. And my dad’s birthday — he’s a good sport — made the perfect excuse.
Canele, cannele, canelle — there seem to be an awful lot of ways to spell this small French pastry with a hard, crispy, caramelized exterior and a soft, custardy inside. And that’s even before we non-French speakers try to pronounce them (“What? You’re making cannollis?” “No, canneles!”). To be serious, canelés or canelés of Bordeaux are credited as originating in the Bordeaux region of France. Similar to how only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France can be champagne, only canelés pastries from Bordeaux can use the spelling with a single “n.” The rest are cannelés. Regardless of the spelling, the pastry’s egg custard batter is baked in a special mold that creates beautiful tea-sized cakes. But enough talk, let’s get to the sweets.
Several months ago I stumbled upon a tutorial for a schnauzer cake. I quickly bookmarked it and figured I’d follow the tutorial as a surprise for my husband. About a week before his birthday I decided I’d give it a go. Then I spent the rest of the week planning and worrying. What was I getting myself into? Technically, I’ve never even made a cake before!