Sugar and spice

on

Bild 031

I often think I could be someone you'd love to hate:
  • I go to bed early and never stay out late, even at weekends
  • I'm bright and cheerful in the mornings without needing coffee or having the alarm clock on snooze for an hour.
  • I rarely drink alcohol and have never taken drugs or smoked.
  • I love to exercise and work out almost every day.
  • I like the normally unpopular things like anchovies, stinky cheese, raisins in cheesecakes, brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach.
  • I'm always early for appointments and the first to arrive at parties.
  • I never forget to floss.
  • I never eat at the cinema because the noise distracts me.
  • I only watch original versions of films and love reading subtitles.
  • My flat is a mess 90% of the time and if you're brave enough to open any of my cupboards, things tend to fall out.
  • My favourite seasons are autumn and winter and I don't like summer.
  • I cry easily at films.
  • And last but not least, I love Christmas. The whole smaltziness, kitsch and overblown occasion that it is. The twinkling of the lights, the smell of cinnamon and chestnuts, coming home laden with bags stuffed with presents, buying a poinsettia, listening to classic songs by the Carpenters, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Nat King Cole, watching the Snowman and It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve then bursting into tears. The build-up part is my favourite so I try to make the most of every spare minute; baking Christmas cookies for friends, going out for walks in the evenings wrapped up warm to see the decorations and visiting the Christmas markets. Yesterday I finished work early and headed over to Gendarmenmarkt and then to the one at the Opernpalais. It made me realise how much I love this city in winter. Instead of the usual mulled wine or waffles I paid one final visit to the charmingly old fashioned Opernpalais for coffee and cake which will close at the end of the year. The room was packed with people savouring their spectacular Viennese style Torten, large bowls of soup and hot chocolate piled high with cream. A sad farewell to a Berlin institution which offered a welcome relief to Starbucks; I'm going to miss that place.

Bild 032

Scandinavian design on the way to the market

Bild 035

Bild 038

Bild 042

Bild 046

Bild 049

Bild 056

Stormy weather over Gendarmenmarkt

Bild 058

Bild 054

Bild 059

Bild 061

Bild 062

Anyone for a cocktail?

Bild 064

Bild 065

Bild 069

Bild 070

Bild 072

Bild 073

Bild 076

Bild 078

Bild 081

Bild 082

Bild 083

Bild 085

Alpaca wool

Bild 087


Bild 086


Bild 088


Bild 091

Bild 094

Bild 095

Bild 098

The market at the Opernpalais

Bild 099

Bild 108

Opernpalais café

Bild 119
Bild 112

Bild 123

Just part of the amazing range of cakes

Bild 134

Dusk on Bebelplatz

Bild 138

Bild 145

Bild 171

Fairy lights at Potsdamer Platz

Bild 175

As promised in my last post, here's my version of Julia's recipe for the Swedish spice cake. Her original recipe uses unsweetened bilberries which you should also choose if you're lucky enough to find any. In Berlin there were plenty in jars but sweetened which I hate so I replaced them with fresh cranberries. Julia also used lait ribot which you can easily find in Brittany but I replaced it with buttermilk, although any kind of fermented milk would be fine. My icing came out too thin and was more of a syrup but the cake was still moist and delicious and should definitely be an addition to the Christmas coffee time.



Bild 037


Mjuk pepparkaka or Swedish spice cake (original recipe in French here)

Ingredients

100g soft butter, unsalted
2 eggs
100g brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
220g white spelt flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml buttermilk
100g unsweetened cranberries

1. Grease and line your cake tin (it should hold up to 1.5l). Preheat the oven to 150°C.
2. Melt the butter.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar vigourously for five minutes until thick and frothy.
4. Add the spices, flour, bicarb of soda followed by the buttermilk, melted butter and cranberries, beating in slowly.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
6. Decorate the cake with icing and berries.

For the icing

Combine 200g icing sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and 25ml of water. Heat up to 40°C and pour over the cake. The icing will set as it cools.

Bild 048

0 comments:

Post a Comment