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Snapshots of our lives

Most of the the pickles here in the US are either way too sour or too sweet for my taste and don’t have much flavor. Usually we stock up on German style pickles during Aldi’s German weeks, but last year I grew my own pickling cucumbers and had to figure out a recipe to use them all up. This one is the bomb, so much better than any store-bought and our favorite for the summer months when fresh cucumbers are in season.


This cake was a hit at Christmas last year and may become the holiday staple dessert. It combines my favorite chocolate cake recipe with red wine and cinnamon, adds a poached pear filling from this recipe, and a white chocolate frosting from this recipe.


This recipe was inspired by peach creamsicles – one of the quint-essential summer flavors of my childhood. But in a grown-up version with more flavor.


When walking along our local river in May, a strong scent of honeysuckle filled the air and reminded me of some of the consumable florals of my childhood. Elderflower is pretty big in Germany / Northern Europe in spring and people use it to flavor drinks, desserts, or make pancakes with them. So I ordered a bottle of elderflower syrup and came up with this recipe to use it. Note that the image here is of a deconstructed version of this cake, I cut the sponge sheet into three pieces instead of rolling it up.

June 17, 2020

Corona Induced DIY

As we have been spending a lot of time at home with nowhere else to be and not much to do, home projects have been progressing with lightning speed. Some of these cosmetic make-overs were not planned for another few years, but what you gonna do with those extra hours – you paint some stuff. I do at least.

But first, I did force myself to finally finish the last 5% of the powder rom renovation we did a year ago. After 95% / the big impact of a room make-over is done, I tend to be over it and leave the last bits of finishing work sitting. Like the ceiling paint touch-ups and one piece of quarter round in this powder room. But now it’s finally done and I can share:

December 22, 2019

Black Forest Cake

For this authentic German cake, I borrowed from three different recipes:

  • This recipe from The Stay at Home Chef for the most amazing, moist chocolate cake. I always use this tried and true recipe for any chocolate base.
  • For the cherry filling I used this recipe from Also the Crumbs Please.
  • And to stabilize the whipped cream, this recipe from Sweet Chatter came in handy. I had bad experience with whipped cream melting away before, so I wanted to make sure this one stays.

For this cake I followed this recipe pretty closely, just modifying a few things:

  • Reduce sugar to 1.5 cups instead of 2 cups. I prefer my cakes not super sweet.
  • Use 1 pack of pectin (the kind for jam with no added sugar) for the jam. My jam would not set at all and I found it hard to assemble the cake without a more gelled jam. With the pectin though it worked like charm and the layers had better hold.
  • Use a little more lavender. I can’t say how much exactly, but I probably used about twice as much as the recipe asked for. The first time I made the recipe I couldn’t taste the lavender at all. For better flavor dispersion I also crushed the dried lavender with mortar and pestle.