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  • Writer's pictureTanya Chandler

My Homeland of Cakes

I just got back from a trip to the Black Forest in Germany! I have close relatives in Germany, so I visited them and some friends, and I had my pick of amazing traditional German cakes and tortes - I was in heaven! We of course had to try the infamous Black Forest cake while we were in the region, and I was so surprised that the kirsch (cherry) liqueur was mixed into the thick layers of cream itself and not soaked into the sponge! All very subtly sweet and airy, grounded with that slight kick of liqueur and jammy cherry compote. Such a delight! (Not like the other time I had Black Forest cake, and the sponge was literally dripping with kirsch liqueur - and we were practically drunk after a few bites!)


We of course tried some of the other cakes - the cheesecake (looks so rich, but it's the lightest baked cheesecake I've ever had!), a strawberries and cream cake, and a Johannesbeer and cream meringue cake.

What a huge culture shift in cakes from Germany to England. There's something about the cakes and ingredients and the baking in general in Germany. For one, they have more varieties of creams for their many different kinds of cream cakes. The kind of variety I don't see readily available in England!


The traditional cakes and bakes in Germany taste so quality and rich yet are so light!! I've almost never seen a buttercream cake there (*gasp*). The people must love the light and not-too-sweet sponges and creams too much. I know my mom always sings high praises of any cake that isn't too sweet!


England's culture of cakes and treats is a bit different - more sweet, decadent and loaded I find. Buttercream and meringues everywhere. And there is a place for that as well as the lighter things - I love them both myself, everyone has their tastes and preferences.


It was particularly special to revisit with my relatives after about 8 years, to catch up and make new memories. Plus, my aunt made a fun loaf cake for us! A vanilla sponge bake with cream cheese in the mix, yum! And of course thick vanilla icing and smarties on top for the kids in us :) The light not-too-sweet sponge was the perfect balance to the sweet topping.

This little loaf made me so happy - it comes back to why we bake and share cake in the first place. It's fun a way to be together and enjoy the moment. "Coffee and Cake Time" in Germany was always a precious time for me, where we can meet in the afternoon all together as family and friends, and enjoy a coffee or tea and something yummy that was made with love. I always come back to my German great-aunt's raspberry torte that I had a few times when I was a child, and how happy and cared for I felt in that moment (and of course how insanely delicious it was). Never underestimate the power of offering something you've made to someone else, and there's nothing like the gift of cake or something sweet!


As the baker and cake designer of Yummy Crumbs Bakery, I am very happy with my cakes and how soft and moist they come out every time. I aim to make my cakes not overly sweet, but they can cater to the sweet-tooth as well (living in England after all). Upon special request, due to time and ingredients, I do make cakes that have less sugar like the German cakes, such as this chiffon and cream cake below:

It's wonderful to see the differences in cakes and cake culture and to gain inspiration from each kind for my own baking. Germany's cake culture has been a positive influence on my baking sense since I was little. I'm happy to integrate it with the joyful designs and tastes of English celebration and wedding cakes.


I hope to visit the Black Forest again next year - perhaps I can learn some of those baking secrets in more depth :)

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