cakes and tarts


macaroon chocolate cake with blueberry topping

I know I am a bit early here, but damn, I want it to be summer! I am so sick of the darkness, the cold and the rain. I want T-Shirts and sunblock and fresh berries. Lots of them. I often wish I lived somewhere where blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are available all year long. California, maybe? But then I would complain about the heat and the sun and, you know, it never being cold. And I would totally complain about my lack of energy and then this macaroon cake with blueberries would never happen. So I guess it’s good that it’s still crazy April and not August?

macaroon chocolate cake with blueberry topping | Vegan MoFo 2015

But let’s not complain here. And yes, I know this looks very staged. That bucket of blueberries didn’t happen. At least not this year. But you all know that we foodbloggers fake stuff all the time, right? Wait, no worries. It’s just an old picture from last summer when we were enjoying the best wild blueberries we could find. So small but so full of flavour! To be honest, it is a good thing that this special food isn’t available all year long. After all it’s awfully insolent to compain about the lack of fresh berries when I have all the food I want all the time. Frozen berries work just fine.

By the way am not on top of things today. I feel a bit disconnected and anxious and this cake does in fact reflect a couple of conflicts I am having. I mean, not really the same conflicts. But although it all comes together in a delicious cake, this recipe is kind of, well I don’t know how to say it, but it’s not really a recipe you’d expect. It is a good recipe though, no doubt about it. It is delicious and you should make it, expecially because it’s an example how sometimes good things happen even though things didn’t go the way you would have them expected to.

This cake may look like a cheesecake but although I love cheesecakes with blueberries they are also a bit boring, aren’t they? I mean there are great recipes all over my cookbook collection and the internet but, you know, it’s always a blueberry cheesecake. (I am already gulity of adding not only one but two recipes to this daily growing number.)

I chose a filling made with shredded coconut instead of a cheesecake filling because I wanted a change of texture and flavour.

Although I am wishing for summer like crazy, I’d still call this a winter cake. Coconut macaroons are my favourite winter cookieand right now it really feels like winter outside.

Oh, and one last thing: my sweet tooth is jiggling a bit. I don’t feel like I crave sugar that much lately. And that’s why this cake is not very sweet. It’s kind of mellow but in a good way. It won’t give you a sugar high. You could always increase the sugar, but I know there are a lot of people who appreciate a cake that is not super sweet, too.

So now after I’ve tried to cryptically express my feelings with the help of a recipe, let’s finally make some cake and maybe complain about the weather. (You could also just leave a comment to brag about your weather. That would really cheer me up!)

Macaroon Chocolate Cake with Blueberries


For the filling
100 g (1 cup + 1/4 cup) shredded, dried coconut
120 ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk or other plant milk
250 g (1 cup) soy yoghurt
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
30 g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crust
80 g (1 cup) old fashioned rolled oats
120 g (1 cup) spelt flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) soy milk
55 g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
For the topping
300 g (2 cups) blueberries
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
1 teaspoon agar agar


To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Set aside.

To make the crust, grease a 21 cm (8 inch) springform pan (or round pan with removable bottom) with fat. Preheat oven to 180°C. (350°C)

Combine oats, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.

Mix well.

Add soy milk and coconut oil and knead until combined.

Press the dough into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the topping: place blueberries in a small pan and cook until they start to release their juice.

Mix water and agar and add to blueberries while stirring. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Remove crust from oven and spread filling on top.

Pour topping over the cake and bake for another 40-45 minutes.

Let cool completely (preferably in the fridge) before serving.

macaroon chocolate cake with blueberry topping | Vegan MoFo 2015

At first taking a really long break from blogging was a great idea. The pressure was gone. No more long hours trying to find the perfect angle and the perfect light for the perfect photo. No more writer’s blocks. No more obsessive recipe idea chases. No more bi-lingual entries that took forever. Yeah, that was all great. But isn’t it completely crazy? After all this is a private blog that I do to entertain myself. Trying out new recipes, taking pictures of them and then writing down everything that might be connected to this recipe, finding a little story for it, all that is fun. But then my recipe entries do not emerge in an empty space. The internet is overflowing with really great sites and there is a lot of competition. Even if I do all of this because I like it and think it is interesting, I still want people to read this blog. And I want them to try my recipes.

The weird and challenging thing about a food blog is, in my opinion, that it is written for many different people. Some people just look at the pictures, some like the texts, and only a very few come here for a recipe. Which, on the other hand, makes up most of the work. I admit, often I have asked myself if it’s worth all this work. Since Social Media things have become so fast. You work on an entry for two days, you publish it, and it’s gone after 10 hours max. But then I do ask myself why I feel this way at all. Why does it even bother me? And then I had to think of women’s magazines. Every year in April they try to convince us that we really need to start working on our bikini body. Because there’s no life without a bikini body. And that’s what Social Media is like, too, isn’t it? Well, my whole life I have lived without a bikini body. There we go!

But there we go without a blog? Nah. Over the last few months I’ve realised that there is a lot of fun to blogging. I missed it. I looked though a lot of my old recipes and pictures and I am impressed with the large interactive cookbook that I have created here. I use it a lot and and a lot more than those stacks of paper notes I used to keep. And then spring started with green asparagus and rhubarb and daylight savings time with a lot of light. And instead of spring cleaning I am restarting the blog. Then in the end coming up with new recipes, taking pictures of them and writing about them is still a lot of fun. I hope reading is, too.

Milchreis |

Rice pudding. I used to hate it. But milchreis is a much-loved main dish in Germany. Demanded by children and grown ups all over the country. So popular that it is available at canteens and cafeterias. You usually eat it hot, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or canned fruit like cherries. Or you eat it as a snack or dessert and you can buy ready-to-eat versions at most supermarkets.

Personally, I have never liked sweet main dishes. I need something hearty and savoury for lunch. I get really dizzy when I eat something sweet on an empty stomach. Plus, I always hated hot milk. I don’t even have to taste it. The smell alone makes me run away. I have no fond childhood memories of eating milchreis or grießpudding. In fact I have no childhood memories at all when it comes to these dishes. Thankfully, my parents never bothered serving them to us. Unfortunately, everyone around me always raved about them. Whenever a canteen would serve milchreis, I was alone queueing for the salad thinking about why everyone except me would want to eat a mushy rice dish with sugar for lunch.

Then a couple of years ago I was sitting at a Thai restaurant with a friend who ordered coconut rice. I still remember how shocked I was when she offered me some. I stammered something about hating milchreis and hot milk. When she told me that the dish was neither hot nor was there any milk in it, I still declined. But somehow she must have convinced me. And the next thing I know is that I ordered my own bowl of coconut rice.

Of course coconut rice is not the same as milchreis. But making milchreis with coconut milk made this dish into something I really enjoy eating. And it’s even better if you combine it with fresh fruit. My favourite so far has been rhubarb, because I love the combination of the rich and creamy sweet rice with something more tart. And even better if it has an edible shell, right? Also, if you care for rich and buttery flavour – this dessert has it, too. The rice you can see is a starchy short grain rice that is also called milchreis. You should be able to substitute it with any kind of short or medium grain rice you would use to make rice pudding.

Rhubarb Rice Pudding Tartelettes


For the rice pudding:
100 g (1/2 cup) sticky short or medium grain rice
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
For the tartelettes:
170 g (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
60 g (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) brown sugar
60 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil, softened
For the rhubarb topping:
200 g chopped rhubarb
50 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar


To make the tartelette shells, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and grease 4 tartelette pans (10 cm in diametre). Set aside.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, and coconut oil. Mix with your fingers until the oil is incorporated and the mixture has formed crumbs.

Press the dough into the pans.

Poke several times with a fork and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven but don't switch the heat off.

Remove shells from the pans once they have cooled completely.

To make the rhubarb topping line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the rhubarb on the sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes and stir from time to time.

Remove from oven and let cool.

While the rhubarb is roasting, prepare the rice.

Combine rice, coconut milk, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and stir often. Cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rest covered for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the rice is done, divide it between the shells and top with rhubarb.

Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Rice Pudding Tartelettes |

Thank you, Vegan Month of Food, for giving me the opportunity to put another recipe with poppy seeds on my blog! Poppy seeds are blue and that is today’s Vegan MoFo promt. And I cannot tell you how much I love poppy seeds. I love them so much that I’ll scoff at those lemon poppy seed muffins you probably like, because they don’t contain more than homeopathic doses of my favourite seeds. I am going for 100 % poppy seeds instead!

Birkeskage (Danish Poppy Seed Cake) | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Birkeskage (Danish Poppy Seed Cake) | Vegan Month of Food 2015

This recipe is from a Danish baking book I bought while visiting Copenhagen (maybe two years ago?). The book was bigger and heavier than a luxury edition of the bible. That and the pretty pictures lured me into buying it. Bagebog by Claus Meyer has a lot of interesting recipes, and while some of them might be considered as Danish or at least Scandinavian, most seem to be international. So I am not sure about the authenticity of this birkeskage. Something similar might be served to you in many Eastern European countries, and even in German bakeries you can find Mohnkuchen varieties. I am still calling it Danish because it’s from a Danish book written in Danish! Smart, hm? The original recipe called for 4 eggs but those were easily replaced by both soy yoghurt and aquafaba. I made some more alterations, so that new recipe doesn’t have very much to do with the original version anymore. I have never tasted the original, obviously. But my version is a wonderfully moist and aromatic poppy seed cake with a delicate shortbread crust.

Birgeskage {Danish Poppy Seed Cake}


For the crust
80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) refined coconut oil (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
150 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
For the topping
80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) refined coconut oil, softened
175 g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar, divided
120 g (1/2 cup) sweetened soy yoghurt
180 g (1 1/4 cup) ground poppy seeds (Grind them in a small coffee mill. Make sure the mill is suitable for grinding oily seeds.)
45 g (1/4 cup) semolina
60 ml (1/4 cup) chickpea brine from a can
juice from half a small lime


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a rectangular pan (18 x 28 cm or 7 x 11 inch) and set aside.

To make the crust, beat coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add sugar and mix until a crumbly dough forms. Make sure the fat is incorporated completely.

Press the dough into the pan and place in the fridge.

To make the topping, beat the coconut oil and 125 g sugar (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) until fluffy.

Add yoghurt, poppy seeds, and semolina and beat until smooth.

Combine chickpea brine, remaining 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar, and lime juice in a second bowl.

Beat until stiff peaks form. (I use a handheld blender. It takes about 5 minutes with this one, but beating time can be longer or shorter.)

Fold the chickpea brine mixture into the poppy seed mixture until everything is smooth.

Remove the pan from the fridge and pour topping over the crust.

Smooth down the topping and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

This cake tastes best straight from the fridge where you can store it for several days.


Adapted from a recipe in Claus Meyer's Bagebog. (Birkeskage, p. 246.) Lindhardt og Rindhof 2012 (København).


By the way, I did not skip yesterday’s promt “most retro recipe”. I made something and posted it on Instagram! I chose westfaelische Quarkspeise, which is a dessert made with German (or westfalian) Pumpernickel. Pumpernickel is a popular bread in the North of Germany. Most traditional versions are flourless and very different from what you might be used to in Northern America. It’s made with sourdough starter and whole rye berries or cracked rye, salt and water. That’s it. No molasses or sugar. It’s baked at a very low temperature for a very long time (around 24 hours). That way all the sugar present in the wheat berries caramelises and gives this rye bread the dark brown colour and a slightly sweet taste. Pumpernickel has a very unique texture that is chewy and al dente and still it melts in your mouth. Using the bread for desserts is super retro to me. These days it cannot compete with chia seeds, goji berries, or quinoa.

westfaelische Quarkspeise | Vegan Month of Food 2015

Westfälische quarkspeise is a layered dessert made with toasted pumpernickel crumbs, chocolate shavings, quark (a cream cheese like curd cheese), and canned cherries. I used an online recipe and cheated big time when it came to the quark. But my version with whipped soy cream was just as good and since I also added some Kirschwasser, it was almost like a quick Black Forest dessert, especially since the pumpernickel goes just as well with cherries as chocolate!

 Pumpernickel | Vegan Month of Food 2015


Today’s Vegan Mofo challenge is called “Tell us about a weird food combination that you love.” Ha, good one. I don’t think I like a single weird food combination. I am very boring when it comes to flavours and sweet and sour is already too much for me. When I think about new recipes for this blog, I usually go for complementing and supporting flavours. Some of these combinations could be labeled as weird. For example, I like tart berries a lot and I like to exaggerate their flavour by pairing them with herbs. Black currants, sea buckthorn, blackthorn (sloe) are rarely sold at stores. They haven’t made it next to the much sweeter varieties such as raspberries, strawberries, and cultivated blueberries. Black currants, sea buckthorn berries, or sloes all have different flavours, but they have one thing in common. If you taste them, their flavour makes you think of Scandianvian forest, of moss and water drops on dark green leaves. You can smell conifers and moldy soil. Or in the case of sea buckthorn you can feel the wind in your face and hear the waves.

These berries have a complex flavour, a hint of intractability, that is not pleasant for everyone. Some of their flavour comes from the essential oils and tannins present.  That is why they are not widely popular, I think. But this is what makes them so outstanding. Herbs usually have essential oils, too and that’s why they go so well with tart berries.  My favourite combination used to be berry plus rosemary, but this year I finally made use of the lavender bush in our yard. I used two teaspoons of dried lavender buds, but you can halve the amount, if you don’t trust this flavour combination. But that probably doesn’t count as weird anymore. If you don’t have black currants available you can use blueberries.



Black Currant and Lavender Pie


For the crust
210 g (1 3/4 cups) flour
200 g (2 2/3 cups) ground hazelnuts
100 g (1 sifted cup) powdered sugar
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated brown sugar
110 g (1/2 cup) soft refined coconut oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping
450 g blackcurrant jam (storebought or homemade)
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds


To make the crust, combine all ingredients except for the oils in a bowl.

Add coconut and vegetable oil and knead until a crumbly dough forms.

Reserve 1/4 of the dough for the topping and form the remaining dough into a disk.

Wrap in foil and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a round pie or tart pan with a diameter of 28 cm (11 inches).

Roll the dough out between two sheets of plastic foil and press into the bottom and the edges of the pan.

For the filling combine jam and lavender buds. (If the jam is very thick you can heat it for easier handling.)

Pour into the crust and form the reserved dough into large crumbs.

Distribute on top of the cake.

Bake for 35 minutes and let cool completely before removing from the pan.

black currant lavender pie