Weimar is beautifully situated in the lush green state of Thuringia. The Free State of Thuringia, as it is officially known, boasts of rolling hills, thick green forests and a lot of cultural history. It's pretty much like living in a vacation spot. For a passionate foodie, this state offers some very famous foods, well known beyond the German borders. I am talking about the perfectly spiced Thuringian Bratwurst (yes I know that bratwurst stand in the bottom picture - it's located at our Farmer's Market in front of the city hall) or those lovely Thuringian potato dumplings. But the most famous type of food Thuringia entices its tourists and residents with, is the unbelievable variety of sheet cakes.
Here in Thuringia sheet cakes are the epicenter of any good bakery. Every housewife has her secret and favorite recipe of preparing a special type of sheet cake. Sheet cakes grace breakfast tables, are the center of focus at the coffee table and party guests are served sweet sheet cakes as desserts after a satisfying meal.
There are two basic types of sheet cakes here - the "dry" and the "wet" variety. Under the "dry" sheet cakes you will find the famous streusel cakes while quark, pudding and fruit provide the moisture in the "wet" types of sheet cakes.
Savory and hearty sheet cakes have a base made out of bread dough and onions and bacon are used as toppings. These sheet cakes are served warm as a quick snack with a cool refreshing glass of beer.
It was in the late 1700s when the Duchess Anna Amalia, often entertained guests like Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Christoph Martin Wieland and Gottfried Herder in her Wittumspalais in Weimar. At her famous tea parties, her personal cook, François Le Goullon was able to display his incredible talent for cakes and sweets. Besides lovely French pastries these distinguished guests were served some of the most delectable sheet cakes ever. Le Goullon penned down his experience from these tea parties in a book "Der elegante Theetisch", unfortunately available only in German, but an incredibly captivating read.
At these tea parties, the newest works of Goethe, Schiller and co. were read, they discussed the current academic issues, they painted and made music throughout the afternoon and into the late evenings.
Sigh! I live in the wrong era.
The magic of Weimar, however captivates me and I love having my own tea parties. After a long rejuvenating walk in the Autumn cool, we return to the warmth of our home, where steaming pots of spiced tea and delicious slices of sheet cake are devoured. Conversations of books, music and the current economic situation dominate our discussions. I record my own thoughts and experience on my blog - hopefully a good read!
Figs and plums adorn my sheet cake. They are laid on a base made of flour, quark and oil producing a tangy and super smooth dough. Finally topped with pistachios and honey this is probably not a traditional Thuringian recipe but it sure is a delicious way to enjoy a sheet cake.
Fig Plum Sheet Cake
Printable version of recipe here.
12 tablespoons oil
150g fine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
In a large bowl rashly mix all the ingredients for the dough with the hook attachment of your hand or stand mixer into a smooth dough. Allow to rest for 15 - 20 minutes.
Line a baking sheet 40 x 25 cm) with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
In the meantime macerate the figs in lemon juice.
On a floured countertop roll out the dough to the size of the baking sheet. Lift the dough and place on the baking sheet. Using your fingers spread out to the edges of the sheet.
Lay the fig and plum quarters on the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake the cake for 45 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven. Approx. 15 minutes before the end of the baking time add the pistachios, then bake for the final 15 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven and allow to slightly cool, then drizzle the honey over the fruit. Cut into squares and serve with vanilla flavored whipped cream.
I do not have the famous four - Goethe, Schiller, Herder and Wieland - over for tea and cake, but something tells me they might just take a liking to this cake.
The quark-oil dough is a popular type of dough prepared here in Germany. The quark keeps the dough moist and the oil gives it a silken texture. The fruit - well figs and plums are the hottest pairing for me this autumn. The sugar sprinkled on top of the fruit caramelizes in the oven, the juices become syrupy and soak into the dough spreading the fruity flavor throughout the dough. Finally - pistachios not only add that extravagant flair of color but by roasting in the oven for the last 15 minutes it brings out the sensational nutty flavor. Honey adds an extra touch of elegance.
May I offer you some tea with your slice?
This weekend Weimar is having its annual Onion Market festival. Every year a city run accompanies the festival. Although Tom runs every year, this year is special - Soeren will be running for the first time. He'll be doing the 600 m run and we are all excited. Wish us luck!
You might like these cakes from WFLH:
|Chocoholic's Chocolate Cake|
|Dundee Fruit Cake|
|Persimmon Spice Cake|
From around the blogs:
- Pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting - Tammy's Recipes
- Cherry sheet cake - The Food Librarian
- Black and White Marbled sheet cake - Baking Bites
Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:
- Use, don't waste by Petra
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First