cakes and tarts


To many people Sachertorte is as Viennese as the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or the Ferris wheel in the Prater. Most tourists probably clog the famous Kaffeehäuser (coffee shops) only to order a slice of this famous chocolate cake.

I admit that we were guilty of the same thing when we made a trip to Vienna a couple of years ago. Since I had no idea where to find a vegan Sachertorte, I stuck to my regular black espresso while P ordered a piece of this famous chocolate cake. When it arrived it looked very simple and very pretty. It was a plain cake covered with the most perfect chocolate glaze I had ever seen. It was velvety and so even that I couldn’t believe actual people had made this cake. I thought it was too beautiful to eat and maybe we really should have just admired it for its simple beauty.

SachertorteBut then P took a bite and was completely underwhelmed. The cake, he said, was dry and too sweet. And that was it. Because of this experience I never really considered making a vegan Sachertorte. I read on several online forums that many people shared P’s experience and it seems that you either like Sachertorte or you hate it. But during Vegan Mofo so many readers requested a recipe for Sachertorte that I thought I should finally give it a try.

Classic German DessertsTranslated literally, Erdbeerboden means strawberry crust. It is a very simple and very popular German cake that is made with a sponge crust and fresh berries. Many people also call it by its more general term, Obstboden (fruit crust), because you can also make this with any berry and with many summer fruits like peaches or nectarines. Technically my version is more an Obstboden than an Erdbeerboden. I cheated and used both strawberries and fresh red currants.

Most people like this cake because you can buy the (non-vegan) crust at bakeries and grocery stores. All you have to do is prepare your fruit and place it on top of the crust. Oh, and there’s another thing: This fruit cake has no additional filling but is made with a glaze, called Tortenguss (cake glaze) in German. If it is storebought it’s usually made from starch and other thickeners like carrageenan. You just pour it on top of fruit cakes so that the fruit doesn’t dry out. I was never a huge fan of cake glaze, but since it’s Vegan MoFo and I try to stick with my theme as best as I can, I used it. If you don’t like jelly on your cake, leave it out.


Another thing you will need for this cake, if you want to make it properly, is an Obstboden pan. (Of course any other 11 inch round pan will work, too.)

Erdbeerboden (One 28 cm or 11 inch cake)

For the sponge cake:
(I simply used my go-to sponge cake recipe)

3 tablespoons chickpea flour, sifted
150 ml (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup) hot water
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
100 g (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
50 g (1/4 plus 1/8 cup) cornstarch

For the topping:
500 g fresh strawberries or a mix of assorted berries
240 ml (1 cup) water
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoons agar-agar

To make the crust:
Grease and flour a 28 cm (11 inch) Obstboden, flan, or tart pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
Combine chickpea flour and hot water and whisk until most o the lumps are gone. Add sugar and oil and whisk again. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour into the pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack: Loosen the crust with a fork, place the cookie rack on top of the cake and turn it around. Set aside to cool completely.

To make the topping: Wash and clean the fruit, cut off stems, slice very large strawberries in halves. Arrange the fruit on the crust.
Combine water and agar-agar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the fruit and transfer to the fridge. Let cool for 2-3 hours or until the agar-agar is set. Serve immediately.

Classic German DessertsYesterday after I published my vegan month of food post, I realized that I had cheated, I posted a recipe with A followed by two with B. And now I have a recipe for D as in Donauwelle to share. I skipped the C for valid reasons though. C is not used in German words, we use K instead. We use the letter C in some foreign words of Latin or Greek origin, often in combination with H as in Christstollen. And Christstollen in September? No way! (The Christmas candy at the grovcery store at this time of the year has to be enough!) That is why I left out the C.Donauwellen

Like Bienenstich Donauwelle is a large sheetcake. Regular and chocolate batter are layered, the cake is sprinkled with canned tart cherries and baked. Once it has cooled you top it with buttercream and chocolate. I remember that I had my first piece of Donauwelle while attending a tent camp. I had never seen this cake before and I was completely blown away by it. At first I couldn’t comprehend why our cook decided to make a cake for about 100 people. But after I made this recipe myself, I understand that this is the perfect cake for a large crowd. You get a lot of flavour for a little work, compared to what it would take you to make for example Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte for 100 people. Of course this works perfectly for smaller crowds, too. All you need in this case is a 8 x 8 inch brownie pan. For this recipe I decided to make a version of buttercream that calls for fat, sugar, and pudding. It’s quite a popular filling for many German cake recipes. For example, you can use it for the Bienenstich cupcakes.

Donauwelle (8 x 8 inch pan)
adapted from this recipe

100 g (1/4 cup plus 3 1/3 tablespoons) very soft refined coconut oil
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
120 g (1/2 cup) soy yoghurt
5 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons soy milk
190 g (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 g (1 3/4 tablespoons) Dutch processed cocoa powder
350 g (1 1/3 cups) canned tart cherries, drained well

240 ml (1 cup) soy milk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g (1/4 cup plus 3 1/3 tablespoons) very soft refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

130g (4.6 oz) chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

To make the batter:
Line a 8 x 8 inch (20×20 cm) square pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a narrow bowl cream together coconut oil and sugar. Add vanilla, salt, and soy yoghurt. Carefully beat into a smooth mass, add 5 tablespoons soymilk and repeat. In a second bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add liquid ingredients and mix well. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the pan. Mix remaining batter with 2 tablespoons of soy milk and cocoa powder. Pour over the light batter and distribute evenly. Place cherries on top and lightly press them into the batter. Bake for 40 minutes.

Place sugar and starch in a small pot. Add soymilk and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for about one minute until the mixture has thickened. Set aside and let cool completely. (This is a very important step. If the pudding is warm, the coconut oil will melt while beating the buttercream and your cream will turn into a soup.) Cream coconut oil (narrow container etc.) and add half of the cooled pudding. Beat until the mixture is smooth and add remaining pudding. Add powdered sugar, beat again and pour over the cake. Distribute evenly.

Melt chocolate and oil, mix well. Pour over the buttercream and distribute evenly. Let set for about 10 minutes then use a fork to draw waves into the chocolate. You can place it in the fridge so that the chocolate will set faster. Remove it 1 hour before serving, so the chocolate is softer and the cake can be cut easily.


A couple of days ago I wanted to make a marbled cake. It was Friday and some friends were coming to stay with us. Now every time we have friends over, they have to eat cake. Not because I want to be a good host and entertainer. No, it’s for very selfish reasons: I need people to test my new recipes. And since I am not working right now I cannot bring my baked goods to my coworkers to test, our living room has become a food lab and while biting into a slice of cake, our friends are bombarded with questions. Fortunately nobody has complained yet.

While pouring the melted chocolate into all of the batter I realized that this was not the way to make a marbled cake. It was all chocolate already! I don’t know where I had my thoughts, apparently not on my recipe. At first I was disappointed, but then I decided to stick with the chocolate, add a little more of it as well as some chocolate chips and move on. After the cake had baked and cooled down, I tasted a slice and was very glad I had made that mistake earlier. This cake had a really great texture! It wasn’t very moist but it was amazingly light and fluffy. It also keeps fresh for a couple of days and won’t dry out. It’s just a little but crumbly.

Light and Fluffy Chocolate Cake

165 g (3/4 cup) margarine, at room temperature
250 g (2 1/4 cups) sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
120 g (1/2 cup) plain soy yoghurt
240 ml (1 cup) plain soy milk
400 g (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 g (1/4 cup) Dutch processed cocoa powder
75 g (2.65 oz) bittersweet chocolate, melted

80 g (1/2 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

For the glaze:
100 g (3.5 oz.) semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon coconut oil
25 g (1/4 cup) chopped or sliced almonds

Grease a bundt pan with margarine and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).

Combine margarine and half of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add remaining sugar, vanilla extract, and soy yoghurt. Beat again. Add milk, flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cocoa and beat the mixture until combined. Pour the chocolate into the batter and mix until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for another 45 minutes before removing from pan. (This step is very important. If the cake is removed to soon, it will probably brake apart.)

Let the cake cool completely. For the glaze, melt chocolate and coconut oil and pour over cake. Carefully sprinkle with almonds. Tip: If you let the chocolate set on the cake a little bit first, it’s easier to make the almonds stick to the cake and not slide down.