Happy New Year, friends! I can't believe it's 2017 already. Where did 2016 go? Gotta admit though, I'm kind of happy to be done with last year. Although I had a great year myself, it has been a horrible year for lots of people. I hope that 2017 brings hope, love and peace. Personally, I'm looking forward to meeting new people this year, making new memories and seeing new places. One of my resolutions (yes, yes I know...) is to post on this blog more regularly. So, in the spirit of doing better this year, I'm posting this recipe for mini Oreo cheesecakes. Trust me, you'll love it!
My mom taught me how to bake. On the weekends she would often bake waffles, and we would top them with sour cherry compote and cream. So easy yet so wonderful. Not only was I allowed to lick the bowl, I remember helping her by measuring ingredients, mixing batter and so on. And just like my mom taught me how to bake, my mom learned from her mother, my grandmother. She would often bake this cheesecake when we came to visit on weekends. The recipe has been in my family for about 50 years now, so I think it really is a classic! So far everyone has loved it, as well. German cheesecake has a slightly different texture than american cheesecake, which is made with cream cheese. It tastes amazing though! Very creamy and the base and the streusel add a nice crunch. It looks quite impressive but it's very easy to make and the best thing: the cake tastes even better the next day! Cheesecake for breakfast, anyone? I really hope you give my grandmother's recipe a try!
I need more time! Seriously, how is it October already? I just got back from the US a few weeks ago (at least that's what it feels like...). These last few weeks really flew by, because so much has happened: I moved to Hamburg to get my Masters Degree! So far I really like college, especially the people in my year. I've made some really good friends already and I can't wait to see what the next two years have in stock for us!
Anyhow, I made this plum cake twice before I left. It's a very traditional German cake made with yeast dough. I used to be really intimidated by baking with yeast but I think I'm finally over my fear! As long as keep a few things in mind, nothing can go wrong. And the only way to learn is to try, try and try some more! And here is what I've learned about yeast so far: Yeast is a living organism. I get the best results when I use fresh yeast as opposed to dry yeast. To activate the yeast organisms, you need to give them something to eat (they, just like me, love sugar) and keep them warm and cosy! That's it! If I can do this, so can you. Seriously. Also, I'm pretty sure this cake would taste great even if the dough doesn't turn out so good! The aromatic plums and the crunchy streusel topping really make this cake something very special. Have a great autumn you guys.
I just got back home from an extended stay in Los Angeles (you can find pictures here and here) and of course I had to try some cupcakes. After all, they are american, right? At least I think so. Anyhow, I love cupcakes because of the countless combinations of cake and frosting. And the small size makes them perfect for sampling many different flavors :) In Beverley Hills I spotted the famous cupcake Bakery Sprinkles and I just had to go in and buy something, all in the name of research, of course.
I'm back in Germany - after seven amazing weeks in Los Angeles. I've officially fallen in love with the city, the people, UCLA, the food. Everything. I miss it already... But I'll be back. Until then, I have thousands of memories and almost as many pictures to look at.
This summer, I will be in Los Angeles for six weeks, taking summer classes at the University of California, Los Angeles. I've been here for a week only but I feel like I've fallen in love with the city already. I want to make the most out of the weeks to come and of course take loads of pictures for my friends and family at home. If you#re interested, here are a few of the first pics I took around LA...
I have a new addiction - it's called Vanilla Iced Coffee. I know, that's not exactly a new thing but it is for me, as I usually drink my coffee hot with a splash of milk. However, recently I've been drinking my coffee on ice with a splash of my homemade vanilla syrup every afternoon in the garden. It's the perfect combination of coffee with a hint of sweetness and vanilla and it's so refreshing. Simply the perfect summer treat! In my opinion, homemade syrup is so mich better than storebought. Making syrup is very, very simple (all you need is sugar, water and the flavouring of your choice) and about 10 minutes of time. That's it! If you store your homemade syrup is a cute bottle (I got mine at a German store called Depot) you could even give it away as a gift! Or use it in a summer cocktail... Need any more reasons to get into th kitchen? I don't think so! :)
I love homemade jam! I love any kind of jam to be honest, but in my opinion, homemade jam is simply the best. You know exactly what kind of fruit goes in and you can adjust the sweetness to your taste. Even the process of making jam is fun to me; the perfect way to spend a (rainy) afternoon! Also, everyone loves jam so homemade jam makes the perfect gift for family & friends. And the combination of strawberry and rhubarb with a hint of vanilla is so, so good. Need I say more?
The first cake that I made own my own as a child was this chocolate cake, that's how easy the recipe is. However, the cake also taste amazing (soft but not dry and soo chocolatey) which is why I have made it countless times ever since. I make this cake for birthdays, for when we have guests or simply for those sunday afternoons when you want to enjoy a piece of good cake with your cup of coffee (or tea).
Strawberry season has finally arrived! I'm probably not the only person obsessed with strawberries. I love going to the market and seeing the first German strawberries laying there, just waiting for me to bring the home and turn them into something even more beautiful (if that's even possible). My kind of beauty: cake in all shapes and sizes.
Last sunday was Mothers Day in Germany and some other countries. This is definitely one of my favourite days of the year. Not everyone celebrates Mothers Day and that is fine. However, I think it's a great opportunity to really think about all your mother has done for me and to say THANK YOU, MOM!
Some things were simply made for eachother. A few examples: Coffee and milk, Angelina and Brad, Romeo and Juliet (okay, there was no happy ending for those two but still)... But if there were such a thing as soulmates in the world of food it would be peanuts and chocolate.
Last Friday I met with some girlfriends who I haven't seen in a while, which gave me a reason to bake (although I don't actually need reasons). When I was looking for a recipe I noticed that I have yet to share my recipe for the most amazing, super moist chocolate cupcakes with fudgy chocolate frosting with you! But be aware, these cupcakes really are for chocolate lovers only. They remind me less of a small version of a light chocolate cake and more of a mix between a brownie and a chocolate cake. Which is precisely what I love about them! I hate dry cakes and cupcakes. And the fudgy frosting takes them over the edge... Make them for your loved ones, make them for yourself when you crave that chocolate overdose, I don't care as long as you make them soon! Trust me, these will not let you down ;)
I can't believe it's Easter already! Didn't I write my christmas wishlist just last month? Anyhow, Easter is right around the corner and it's definitely one of my favourite holidays, for two good reasons: chocolate everywhere as well as beautiful decorations to greet spring. Every year I feel like decorating some easter eggs and this year is no different. So I came up with two pretty yet easy ways to make this Easter extra-special...
When I came home from my trip to Venice I couldn't wait to start baking again. On sunday the house was empty and quiet which means I can bake in peace. I knew that I wanted to make muffins ahead of time, because I was going to see some friends over the next few days and I feel like muffins are such a great thing to bring over to someone's house. Then I remembered the delicious Hazelnut & Chocolate Muffins I made some time ago, but this time I added a special ingredient to welcome spring: Cherries.
Last November, when my summer holiday was only faint memory and the next trip was not in sight, I got a bad case of wanderlust. There was (and still is) so much that I want to see, so many places I have never been to, and I didn't even have any big trips planned for 2016. So my mom and I decided that if I couldn't go on a big trip, we could at least take a small trip and explore Venice, Italy for a couple of days...
Recently I was on the road quite a bit which meant spending loads of time at train stations. In my opinion, the best thing about train stations are the bakeries or the food court in general. I feel like a snack is a very important aspect of travelling. Which is why I recently bought one of those huuuuge chocolate muffins you see at every bakery...
If you know me, you'll know that I am slightly obsessed with Pinterest. I could easily spend my whole day browsing the website for inspiration on everything from clothing over hairstyles to baking. And everything that I have ever pinned, I will surely bake or cook or buy or make one day! Right? Yes, Pinterest is indeed a great thing. Especially if I'm looking for a new recipe, because I will be visiting my grandparents and need to bring something...
I am not a great fan of New Year's Eve and have never been. When I was little, the fireworks would only scare me, and today, I feel like expectations of the last night of the year are huge. Last year I didn't really feel like planning anything big for NYE so I went to DeHaan with my parents. DeHaan is a small but beautiful coastal town in Belgium. It's so charming, it almost looks like something out of a children's book. My parents have been going there for long weekends for a couple of years now, and every now and then I join them for a few days of good food, fresh air and simply to relax a little bit. And I have to say, spending NYE there with only my parents, my dog and the sea for company was a great idea. There was time to really reflect on the last year and dream about what 2016 will bring.
I have never been very good at decorating cut-out cookies. I think it's because I am impatient and I don't have a very steady hand. As much as I enjoy looking at pictures of beautiful, dainty cookies that are more artwork than anything else, I have tried and tried and failed every time. Most of the time, whenever I make cut-out cookies, I just don't decorate them at all. But when I got this cookie-stamping-set as a gift recently, I thought I would give cookie-decorating another try. Worst case scenario: I'd have to eat dozens of ugly yet very tasty sugar cookies.
I have to admit that I haven't baked anything with raisins lately. Even though I love raisins in my morning muesli and my trail mix, I do prefer chocolate chips over raisins when it comes to cookies. But I recently fell in love with raisins all over again...
I do like summer. But whenever the question comes up about which season my favourite season is, I try to change the subject. Winter people are a rare seed! But I stand my ground - I love snow, cold weather, coats, evenings in front of the fireplace, snuggled up with a cup of hot cocoa... The list goes on!
Up until a few years ago, my grandparents had gorgeous mirabelle tree in their backyard. Every summer that tree would carry so many of those small, plum-like fruits that my granddad would bring us buckets full. The memory of those fruits, sweet and tart at the same time, grown in one of my favourite places on earth, will always bring a smile to my face.
Spring has finally arrived! Which means that it's finally warm enough to spend the evening outside. My family loves to BBQ, and even though I'm not a big fan of meat I love sitting outside for dinner, watching the sun go down while listening to the birds chirping. Time slows down, dinner takes longer and suddenly we all sit together in piece for hours.
I'll be starting an internship at a TV production company on monday. Even though I'm looking forward to meeting new people and learning loads of new stuff, I also feel quite anxious. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious, two things never fail to calm me down: Baking and chocolate.
Summer to me means an abundance of fresh fruit. Sweet strawberries, dark blueberries and juicy raspberries are some of the little luxuries that I look forward to for months and can never get enough of.
When I was a child, I loved collecting the most beautiful seashells whenever we went on a holiday by the sea. Actually, I still collect seashells to this day! When I went to DeHaan, Belgium for a long weekend recently, I brought home about a pound of those amazing oyster shells that have been washed up the shore.