Kuchen und Torten

Every year during spring and summer I put myself on an apple fast. I don’t eat them anymore because all of a sudden I think they are the most boring fruit in the whole world. In spring there’s rhubarb that suddenly seems so much more interesting. And then summer starts and brings fantastic berries and amazing stone fruits. Also, apple aren’t in season during summer. There’s really no need to eat them.

This year summer was long and I was still sweating in September. I bought a new jacket and haven’t used it so far. The berries disappeared though and made room for lots and lots of apple boxes with about ten to twelve different varieties. There were pears, too. (I only mention this because this apple cake can be made with pears as well.) Right now my favourite apple is called Santana. It’s originally from the Netherlands and a cross between one of my favourites, Elstar, and some fairy tale apple called Priscilla, with which Santana probably shares its beautiful bright red colour. Santanas are juicy and firm and have a perfect balance between sweet and sour, leaning a tiny bit more to the sour side. Which makes the perfect baking apples.

Santana Apple Cake

This is a simple apple cake recipe which may not look like much. I whipped it up on Friday before heading to work. I didn’t even use a proper recipe. I left it on the kitchen table and when I went on my break about three and a half hours later the cake was gone. Those coworkers just left some crumbs for me. But instead of complaining I’ll take that as a compliment for this cake. I made another one on Saturday and this time I managed to write down the recipe. Which was a bit tricky. For many German apple cakes (especially the one called versunkener Apfelkuchen – sunken apple cake),the apples are cut in a certain way and I found this very hard to translate and describe. You have to quarter the apples. (They are usually peeled, but I didn’t bother for my second cake and it makes a difference. So peel them.) Then you have to cut little lines on the backs of the quarters. Those have to be deep, but not so deep your apple quarters will fall apart. Cutting the apples this way will make them fan out after baking. It looks really pretty. You can see it very well in the first picture.

The only really special thing about this cake is one of its ingredients. Whenever I make something with apples I love to add a bit of nutmeg and a few scrapes of tonka bean. If you are from the US you are probably not familiar with this spice. It’s banned. And even in Europe, where you can buy it perfectly legal, it’s not commonly used. If you can find tonka beans, use them. If not just leave the spice out. The cake will turn out deliciously with cinnamon and nutmeg as well.

I am quite happy I do finally have some leftovers from the second cake I made. We’re going to spend our autumn vacation packing. We’re moving soon and have to put everything in boxes starting today. Also, my daughter’s birthday is coming up. Five. She’s going to be five. And gave me exact descriptions of everything. I already impremented her birthday invitation card ideas and now all there’s left to do is a cake. Which will probably end up on the blog at some point.

Happy Monday and have a great week!

Santana Apple Cake


For the filling
2 apples, suitable for baking, cored, peeled, and quartered
For the cake
180 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150 g (3/4 cup) white sugar
30 g (2 tablespoons, packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground tonka bean
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) soy milk
90 ml (1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) rapeseed or other vegetable oil
For the streusel topping
150 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
75 g (5 3/4 tablespoons) white sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tablespoons rapeseed or other vegetable oil


To make the filling, make fan shaped incisions into the apple quarters: With a small sharp knife make thin, deep lines on the back of each quarter. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 26 cm springform pan.

For the cake combine flours, baking powder, sugars, and spices in a bowl and mix.

Add liquid ingredients and stir until no lumps are left in the batter.

Pour into the pan.

Prepare the streusel topping by combining all ingredients.

Knead with your hands until you can form large crumbs.

Place the apple quarters on the batter (incisions up) and place the streusel on top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

Let rest for five minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Santana Apple Cake




I am pretty sure you are going to kill me. Because my blog is silent for almost two weeks and then another poppy seed cake recipe? Well, yes. Because poppy seed cakes are the best thing ever and there can never be too many. Never. (Did you know that 100 g of poppy seeds contain 1500 mg of calcium? Move over, superfoods!) Also this is a recipe I saw ages back on Instagram and wanted to make it since spring.Originally this was made with bright pink rhubarb. The colour contrast between that and the blue cake is just so lovely.

Unfortunately I missed the window to make this, rhubarb season ended months ago. But it’s summer and there are so many wonderful fruits available right now. I definitely won’t cry over unavailable rhubarb right now. Instead I feel very grateful that I can get black- and blueberries at almost every corner. Since they have almost the same colour as the poppy seeds they don’t stick out as much as the rhubarb. So my cake may not be super pretty, but it definitely is delicious! It has a very moist crumb, a hint of tartness from the blackberries (mat least mine were tart) and very crunchy and cookie-like crumbs. I made the cake and let it sit on the counter for about a day before it was demolished by my co-workers. I could save a couple of slices and am amazed by the fact that they still had a perfectly moist texture even after hanging out in the fridge for three or four days.

You should definitely try to grind the poppy seeds for this recipe! The ground seeds release some of their oil, which helps to keep the moisture. Another thing that helps is enough fat and sugar! I tweaked the recipe a bit for that. As for the berry filling, you can use both black-and blueberries or a mixture of both. If you don’t have a 20 cm springform pan, you can use a larger one. But please watch the cake and make sure to bake it for a shorter period of time.

On another note I recently found out that this year’s Vegan MoFo will be in November. There’s a new team of organisers and the rules this year are just as flexible as they used to be. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t take part in another round because last year I took it a bit too far and was exhausted pretty soon. I want my pictures to look a certain way and I have to write up every entry in two languages. That, a job, and a family doesn’t always go together pretty well. I also felt that people quickly lost their interest in the whole MoFo thing and I didn’t want to litter everyone’s feed and email folder. I was determined to ignore this year’s round but now I am not so sure anymore. I have a couple of ideas and a very loose theme that might save me some energy. After all this whole event is supposed to be fun.The only thing I am really concerned about is the fact that November is a really, really bad month for food photography in Germany. I use natural light and in November there is no such thing. It is the darkest and most depressing time of the year! And no warming soup will change that. But what can I say? It’s Vegan MoFo! What do you think? Are you going to participate? Do you have a theme?

Mohnkuchen | German Poppy Seed Crumb Cake with Blackberries

Poppy Seed Crumb Cake with Blackberries


For the cake:
240 ml (1 cup) soy milk
80 g (1/4 cup) soy yoghurt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
100 ml vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
200 g (1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) poppy seeds, ground (Grind them in a small coffee mill. Make sure the mill is suitable for grinding oily seeds.)
200 g (1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
200 g black- and blueberries
For the crumbs:
100 g (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a round pan (20 cm diameter) with parchment paper or grease the pan.

In a bowl combine milk, yoghurt, and vinegar and let sit to curdle for 2 minutes.

Stir in remaining liquid ingredients plus flax seeds.

Stir in sugar, vanilla, and poppy seeds.

Mix with remaining ingredients.

Stir in 3-4 tablespoons of the berries and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place the remaining berries on top and prepare the streusel topping by combining all ingredients in a bowl.

Form large crumbs with your hands and place on top of the cake.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Remove pan and let cool completely before serving.








Bienenstich. Literally translated it means bee sting cake and this cake is definitely one of my favourites! The bakery next to my parents house had an amazing bienenstich and made in a very traditional Northern German way: A soft and airy yeast based sheet cake topped with toasted almond brittle and filled with a sweetened whipped cream. I really, really loved it.

There’s a long story about how this cake was named and it dates almost 500 years back. Can you imagine a cake recipe that old? As you can guess from my description, this traditional cake recipe isn’t easily veganised. Especially if you insist on finding a substitute for the whipped cream filling – which I never found. (We have vegan whipped cream. But the texture usually isn’t sturdy enough for my taste. The cream is too light and most of the time it is too sweet, too.) There are many different bienenstich recipes and lots of them are made with a custard filling. But the Northern German Cream Cake snob that I am, I never wanted to settle for them. But you know what? There is a life after cream just as there is a life after cheese.

And still it took me some time to figure out how to veganise this cake so it would match my own standards. I used baking powder instead of yeast, to save some time. But don’t let this fool you. It’s still a time consuming recipe. If you don’t want to spend all day making this, prepare the cake a day in advance and make the filling and topping the next morning. Also I wanted to make the topping with coconut oil instead of margarine.  But coconut oil often is too fatty and it can ruin your results, especially, if you use it as a base for caramel. I found that a combination of plant based cream* and a little bit of coconut oil works just as well as margarine. (For those of you who cannot eat coconut oil: don’t worry, use margarine.)

Traditional bienenstich doesn’t have a fruit layer. But gooseberry bienenstich is a popular variety in Germany. And since my generous neighbour had handed me a bag full of my favourite frozen berries, I knew immediately what to do with them! If you cannot find gooseberries, there are two alternatives: Either you leave that layer and go for a classic version of bienenstich. Or you substitute another sturdy berry. Black- or redcurrants would be great, blueberries might work, blackberries will be awesome, too.

Okay, and now that I’ve written down my notes and thoughts for this recipe, I need to get something off my chest that’s been sitting there for quite some time. And I don’t really know how to address it without sounding like an idiot. It has to do with the fact that people keep asking me about making my recipes with dairy products. And about others leaving comments on how they are going to make my recipes with dairy products.

Well, what can I say? I know you don’t mean any harm. I know you don’t want to annoy me. But if you ask me like that I’m gonna say no. And if you tell me about your changes, I am not going to encourage you. Because from my perspective dairy sucks. Otherwise I wouldn’t be vegan. Otherwise I would just stuff my bienenstich with a ton of thick whipped cream and be done with it. Instead, I spend a lot of time researching non-vegan cake recipes. I think about how to substitute all the dairy, butter and eggs, and often there is a lot of tweaking. It’s difficult to get similar results with completely different ingredients.

Bienenstich Vegan {Vanilla Cake with Almond Brittle, Vanilla Custard, and Gooseberies}

Of course there are many people who have other beliefs. I do myself live with vegetarians. Also, some of my friends, who are meat eaters, read my blog. And so do other non-vegans. I truly appreciate that you spend your time on here and even consider trying my recipes. If you cannot have soy or coconut oil or any other ingredient I like to use, I am sure we can figure out how to make the recipe work for you. But if you wanna put the dairy back in, what’s the point in coming to my blog? Instead you should probably ask omnivores for their kick-ass original versions, look up non-vegan blogs for German recipes, or visit a German baking site. (I can recommend Dr.Oetker or Küchengötter). Okay. There. I said it. Now lets get back to some sugar coated and flower dusted awesomeness.

Bienenstich Vegan {Vanilla Cake with Almond Brittle, Vanilla Custard, and Gooseberies}

Bienenstich with Gooseberries


For the cake
300 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
125 g (1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup) sugar
120 ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed oil
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) soy milk
For the gooseberry layer
300 g fresh or frozen gooseberries (alternatives: blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries)
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
For the custard layer
120 g (1/2 cup) plain soy yoghurt
125 g (1/2 plus 1/8 cup) sugar
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) soy milk
60 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil, melted
40 g (5 tablespoons) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon agar agar powder
For the almond brittle topping
120 ml soy cream (see bottom of post for alternative, use same amount)
1 tablespoon melted, refined coconut oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar
125 g (1/2 plus 1/8 cup) sugar
100 g (1 cup) sliced almonds
1 pinch of salt


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a springform pan (20 cm diameter) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients and mix well.

Add liquid ingredients and stir until no lumps remain.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool for five minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely.

Once it's cooled, cut the cake into two halves and set aside.

For the gooseberry layer,combine gooseberries and sugar in a small pan.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Whisk together cornstarch and water, stir into the gooseberries and cook for another minute.

Put the bottom cake layer back into the springform pan.

Pour the gooseberry jam on top and let cool in the pan for about two hours at room temperature.

To prepare the custard filling, place all ingredients in a blender.

Blend until combined and pour into a saucepan.

Cook for 2 minutes while whisking constantly.

Pour over the gooseberry layer. (Your cake should still be in the pan.)

Remove pan and place the second cake layer on top of the cake and let cool in the fridge for about one hour.

To make the almond brittle topping, combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat, until the almond slices start to brown and the mixture will start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Make sure the almonds don't start to burn.

Pour over the cooled cake and serve once the topping has set.

Bienenstich Vegan {Vanilla Cake with Almond Brittle, Vanilla Custard, and Gooseberies}

*Plant based creams:

These are very easy to find in Germany and there are many different variations. You can get soy, almond, oat, and spelt based versions. Their main ingredients are a plant milk, oil, a little bit of sugar, and stabilisers. They are sweetened but only a tiny bit, to imitate the flavour of real cream. There are whipped versions, too. But the ones you see here cannot be whipped.They are suitable both for baking and cooking. (You can use them for pasta sauces, soups, etc.) If you have a similar product  you can use that. If not, here’s a replacement: Blend 100 g (3.5 oz) of soaked macadamia or cashew nuts with 240 ml (1 cup) of water. Make sure your cream is smooth and use 120 ml of this mixture for the almond caramel topping.

vegan creams

vegan creams











Before I can introduce today’s apricot cheesecake recipe I have to start with a couple of technical things. Because for this recipe, you are going to make your own quark. (No worries, it’s very easy!)

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that German cheesecakes are different from Northern American cheesecakes. Traditionally we use quark instead of cream cheese. Quark (or topfen in Austria) is a kind of soft cheese that is made from sour milk. It’s an early stage of regular cheese. Quark is similar to cream cheese somehow, but its texture is a bit more grainy. It also tastes differently. It is a bit blander and more sour than cream cheese. It comes in different varieties with different fat levels.

Vegan versions of quark do exist, although they do not really taste like the original version. Most also have a different texture. A popular yoghurt and soy milk brand seems to make their quark by reducing the amount of liquid in their yoghurt, to obtain a firmer texture. That is something what German vegans have been doing for years and this method is also the one I am showing you today.

There are several methods to strain your yoghurt and over time I have tried a few. At first I used a coffee dripper and a  filter. I placed the dripper over a bowl and poured the yoghurt inside. Then I let it drain in the fridge over night. I never really liked that method because I didn’t have much influence on the straining and the yogurt was difficult to scrape out.

Then I used a cheesecloth but whenever I tried to squeeze that, huge blobs of yoghurt would squirt out. Then I read about nut bags. Umfortunately they are so insanely expensive that I never bothered buying them. (12 € for a scrap of polyester? Come on!) And I am glad about that now. I found a super cheap alternative and maybe you have access to that, too. (Or a nut bag.) At German drugstores you can buy laundry bags made from polyester. (I bought mine at a chain called dm.) They are very similar to a nut bag but cost only a fraction. And these are the bags I use for making quark.

Apricot Cheesecake: vegan no-bake recipe. No creamcheese, no nuts.

I usually pour the yoghurt into the bag and hook it up. (The laundry bag has a long, adjustable string.) It let it hang like that for three to four hours and drain the liquid that has collected at the bottom of the mixing bowl.

After that I place a kitchen towel at the bottom of the bowl and place the yoghurt filled laundry bag on top of the towel. Then I let the yoghurt rest in the fridge for a night. The next morning the yoghurt has usually lost half its weight and is thick and creamy.

Apricot Cheesecake: vegan no-bake recipe. No cream cheese, no nuts.

If you don’t have access to nut or laundry bags, you can still make quark. Pour your yoghurt into a double layered cheesecloth or a regular kitchen towel. Tie it up with a small piece of thread and hook it up. If you haven’t got any hooks, you can try to tie it around the tap on your kitchen sink. Sometimes that works. Or you leave out that step and start by placing the filled kitchen towel in your bowl. Over night it should be able to soak up a lot of liquid even if you didn’t drain the yoghurt before.

Now that you’ve done all that, you have your cheesecake base! And believe me, it’s worth all the work. The cake you are going to make with this quark is very creamy and light. It also doesn’t require baking, there are no expensive cashew or other nuts in it and it reqires only a few more ingredients. Of course I couldn’t do without the coconut oil. If you are sensitive to that, you can replace it with margarine. That will definitely work for the crust. The filling might need a tiny bit more agar though. (Start with 1/4 teaspoon.)

Apricot Cheesecake: vegan no-bake recipe. No cream cheese, no nuts.

Oh, one last thing: This time I didn’t use regular agar agar. We have a product called Agartine, that is meant to replace gelatine in baking. The difference to regular agar is that Agartine is thinned with maltodextrin. One package measures 10 grams, of which 20 % are agar. So if you want to replace the Agartine with regular powdered agar agar, use 1 teaspoon (2 g).

As I already said, this cheesecake has a very light and creamy texture.It tastes mild and fresh and is only lightly sweetened. That makes a great base for the caramelised apricots which go on top. The crust couldn’t be easier: A simple two incredient cookie crust that is stored in the fridge so it will hold together well. I think this recipe is a great alternative both for those who don’t have access to cream cheese (or don’t like it’s taste) and for those who have to avoid nuts (or cannot afford them in the quantitiy that is usually necessary for no-bake vegan cheesecakes). So this apricot cheesecake is easy to make, and except for the agar agar, it doesn’t require any fancy or expensive ingredients.

Apricot Cheesecake: vegan no-bake recipe. No cream cheese, no nuts.

Apricot Cheesecake (No Baking, No Nuts)

8 servings


1000 g plain soy yoghurt
200 g cookies (oatmeal or shortbread)
10 tablespoons melted, refined coconut oil, divided
200 ml quince juice plus 2-3 tablespoons, divided (substitute apple juice)
10 g (1 pkg) agartine or 2 g (1 tsp) regular powdered agar agar
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
400 g apricots, sliced
50 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch


A day before you plan to make your cheesecake, drain the yoghurt as explained above. Yield: 500 g of quark.

The next day, line a 21 cm springform pan with parchment paper (bottom and sides).

Place the cookies in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. Alternatively place the cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies.

Mix with 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil.

Press into the prepared pan and place in the fridge.

Pour the quark into a large bowl and mix with remaining coconut oil and sugar.

Place 200 ml quince juice and agartine (or apple juice and agar agar) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Boil for two minutes and let cool for five minutes.

Mix with the quark mixture until everything is smooth.

Remove the pan from the fridge and pour the quark mixture over the cookie crust.

Refridgerate for 2 hours, then place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes.

While it's in the fridge, prepare the caramelised apricots.

Place apricots and brown sugar in a small saucepan. (Can be the one you used before.)

Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar has melted, stirring constantly.

Mix remaining juice with cornstarch and stir well until there are no lumps left.

Pour over the apricots and cook for another two minutes, stirring.

Let cool.

Carefully remove the cake from its pan.

Place the apricots on top of the cake. Reserve some of the apricot caramel for serving.

Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

This cake's leftovers are best stored in the fridge, too.

Apricot Cheesecake: vegan no-bake recipe. No cream cheese, no nuts.