Deutsche Küche

Classic German Desserts

We are already in the third week of the Vegan Month of Food and yes, I skipped the first two days of this week. I guess I needed a little cake sabbatical. Plus, sometimes life just gets in your way and a day is much too short when you have to divide it between work, spending time with your family, and other things. But enough with the lame excuses already, today I am back, armed with flour, sugar, fat, and more sugar. I hope you will enjoy the following treats as today’s recipe and the next ones are all childhood favourites of mine. And they are all coworker tested, too.

Mandelhoernchen - a German childhood favourite

All of these childhood favourites were and are still available at the bakery right next to my parents house in Northern Germany. On Sunday afternoons my father would often go there and buy cakes or pastries so we could eat them for coffee, as that sweet afternoon snack was called.  One of my favourite pastries were these Mandelhörnchen (almond crescends). They are made from marzipan, topped with sliced almonds, and dipped in dark chocolate. If you bite into them they are chewy, but then the marzipan melts in your mouth right away. And then you taste the crispy roasted almonds and the bittersweet chocolate. I love all those contrasts in one baked good. The recipe is from a cookbook called Koch- und Backhits der 60er. I adapted and veganised it.

Note to those who are gluten-free: This recipe calls for 50 g of regular flour. It’s used for binding, but this might work without it. I haven’t tried, but maybe adding more starch or something like glutinous rice flour might give you the same results as regular wheat flour.





Mandelhörnchen (yields 17)

200 g (7 oz) marzipan
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
75 ml (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) soy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
50 g (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon) flour
100 g (3.5 oz) sliced almonds

150 g (5.3 oz) chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the marzipan into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add sugar and soy milk. Mash with a spoon until the mixture is smooth. (You can also use a hand held mixer or blender for this step.) Add starch, baking powder, and flour. Use a hand held mixer to beat into a smooth paste. Fill into a a pastry bag with a large, whide mouthed tip attached. Pipe on a baking sheet in the form of crescents. Your crescents will look like bent sausages at this point, but they should spread and flatten out while baking. So make sure not to place them to close together! Sprinkle with almonds and carefully press some of the almonds into the crescents. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for about ten minutes. Transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and dip the crescents into the marzipan. Place on a sheet of parchment paper to dry.





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.

Celery root schnitzel – a couple of years ago I would have run from this dish. It was one of the very few vegetarian options at our university cafeteria and I dreaded both the cafeteria and their deep fried mushy vegetable mess.

After a very long abstinence I decided to give the celery root schnitzel another chance. And this time I liked it so much that we had it twice in one week. We made a couple of changes to this classic vegetarian dish (in Germany) by using a couple of hazelnuts for the breading. We also served it with a macadamia rosemary cream instead of the remoulade that usually goes with this. And since I suck at breading and frying, we baked the celery root. That way the breading had a chance to stay where it was and not end up in a pan or deep fryer, leaving me with a naked vegetable.

Macadamia Rosemary Cream:

100 g (3/4 cup) roasted and salted macadamia nuts
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice
2 green kalamata olives
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingerdients in a blender. Purée until smooth.

Celery Root Schnitzel (serves 2):

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) celery root, cut into 1.2 cm ( 0.5 inch) thick pieces and peeled.


80 g (2/3 cup) bread crumbs
50 g (2/3 cup) ground hazelnuts
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

80 ml (1/3 cup) water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with oil.

Steam the celery root slices for about 7 minutes. They should be soft but not mushy.

Mix all the breading ingredients and place in a soup plate. In a second soup plate, combine water and starch. Stir until the starch is dissolved.

Dip the celery slices in the water mixture and coat with breading. Place on the baking sheet and spray with oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, carefully top with macardamia cream.

Yes, it’s time for another bread post. From time to time I read a blog by a German baker. He does not only bake and sell bread, he also shares some of his recipes with his readers. Those recipes are wonderful and he usually adds very helpful instructions and tips. Some weeks ago he published a recipe for a 100% rye sourdough bread. The best thing about this bread is that it contains no flour. It made from 100% cracked rye (rye chops, rye groats,  rye meal, or whatever you call the stuff in English). You know, this is my favourite kind of bread. It is similar to German pumpernickel, just not as sweet. It is so awesome because it has an amazingly rich flavour, lots of nutrients, is dense, chewy, and moist, and it keeps so well, that you could probably send it to your aunt in Australia by ship without doing any harm to it. I made two versions of this bread. First I followed the original recipe to the t. I liked the result and wanted to make a second bread. When I opened my flour cupboard in the evening to prepare the starter, there was no rye left. Of course. So I used spelt instead and I was very please with the result.

So I made a second loaf  with freshly milled spelt groats and a couple of sunflower seeds.

This one came out even better than the first. It’s like the organic bread from my all time favourite bakery at my parents’ place. It’s some seriously good stuff.

Bäcker Süpke’s bread made with spelt

Just like with any good bread, you need some time and patience to make this. And you should make this. You need to prepare the starter 20 hours before you start baking.

To make the starter: 150 g spelt groats 150 g water 1 tablespoon ripe sourdough starter (the stuff you keep in the fridge, also called “mother dough” or “mother starter”) Put all ingredients in a bowl, stir until combined, cover with a plate or plastic and let ferment in a warm place for 20 hours. This bread is not only made with a sourdough starter, it does as well contain a “Brühstück” (scald soak). For such a Brühstück grains and/or seeds are mixed with an equal amount of hot water. The soaked and softened grains add even more moisture to the bread. In this case the Brühstück is made from: 150 g spelt groats 150 g hot water Pour hot water over groats and let sit for 3 hours. After you’ve prepared your starter and have the Brühstück ready, you can start to make your bread. Whole Grain Spelt Bread with Sunflower Seeds (slightly adapted from this recipe) 300 g prepared starter 300 g Brühstück 150 g spelt groats 50 g sunflower seeds 125 g water 25 g sugar beet syrup or molasses (not blackstrap!) 10 g salt Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Knead until everything is well combined. The dough will not be like regular bread dough, but more like freshly prepared polenta or stiff oatmeal:

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, so that the grains and seeds can absorb the water. Transfer to a bread pan (lined with parchment paper or grease well). Cover with plastic and sprinkle with spelt groats. Let rise for 2 hours. The bread probably won’t rise as much as bread made from hite flour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F). Bake the bread for then minutes, reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) and bake for another 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let the bread rest for 24 hours before slicing. Top with your favourite vegan cheese or sausage, eggless egg salad, chickpea salad, Tartex or sunflower seed spread, etc.

Guten Appetit! By the way, would anybody be interested in a blog post about how to make your own sourdough starter?

This entry was submitted to Susan’s YeastSpotting.