Tag Archives: cake

Sugar and Spice ……

21 May

 

   GetInline-11     IMG_6072 The best Konditorei in town

Sitting in the shadow of Mönchsberg, on the corner of Herbert van Karajan Platz in Salzburg is Niemetz, the most delightful and delicious of the Konditoreien in town.  I was only in Salzburg for a fleeting one and half days, as part of my ICOM Costume Committee project, but I still managed to find time to visit Niemetz twice. Just around the corner is the baroque fancy of the Pferdeschwemme (horse bath) with its rearing horse sculpture and pastel murals on the pedimented wall behind.  Its 18th century theatricality is echoed in the décor of Niemetz, which has an elegant pistachio green and rose pink frontage.  Inside the paintwork is picked out in a profusion of gold, befitting of a Mozart opera or Marie Antoinette boudoir (it conjures up the same delicate feel as the Sofia Coppola film).  At the front of the café a Madonna figure dressed in a pink and ivory brocade offers a sartorial reminder of the importance of the Catholic church to the town, both historically and today (church bells still peal regularly through the day in Salzburg).

 

IMG_6066Niemetz’s appropriately dressed Madonna

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the pink 1920seque packaging

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As someone who can overly excited by the mere sight of a great piece of vintage packaging I was particularly charmed by the Niemetz boxes and wrappings, all in the house pink, decorated with an eighteenth century design à la the 1920s (think of the wonderful George Barbier fashion illustrations).

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The famous Schwedenbomben

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But of course it was the cakes which we had really come for and what a selection.  Strawberry tartlets nestled next to chocolate pyramids and delicately feathered cake slices.  Our first visit to Niemetz was in celebration of our friend Dorothea’s birthday where we joined her colleagues in wishing her many happy returns and in sampling Niemetz’s signature product – Schwedenbomben, edible missiles of light and fluffy marshmallow coated in chocolate.  For our second visit we treated ourselves to a well earned break in our project by studying the diverse cake selection more closely.  It didn’t take me long to make up my mind and plump for the Mozarttorte, which echoed in cake form the ubiquitous Salzburg Mozartkugel, with layers of chocolate encasing a centre of liquor drenched pistachio marzipan. What better way to start an afternoon of hard, serious thinking than with such a slice of chocolate perfection, accompanied by a strong black coffee?

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Mozarttorte and a cup of coffee – perfect!

The Niemetz konditorei started back in the 1890s, in Linz, and the famous Scwhedenbomben were first created in the 1920s.  There are now three Niemetz locations; as well as the Salzburg café there is the original Linz shop as well as one in Linz Station.  Alas, it appears that not everyone is as appreciative of Niemetz’s charms as my ICOM group and in recent years the company has struggled to remain financially afloat.  Nevertheless a Facebook page set up to encourage people to support Niemetz has had a certain amount of success; earlier this year The Austrian Times reported that the company was having difficulty supplying the demand for Schwedenbomben, such was the interest generated by the Facebook page.

For me, however, what appealed about Niemetz was its old world charm.  From its location on a Salzburg corner it provides a pink and pistachio oasis of friendly service, mouth watering delicacies and the opportunity to forget the care and stress of reality for a few gold tinted moments.  What I hope for Niemetz is that enough people discover its charm to ensure it a long future in Salzburg but never so many that it loses aurora of a konditorei fit for a princess.  If you’re ever in Salzburg be sure to pay Niemetz a visit!

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goodies in Niemetz

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Un grande bacio

17 Feb

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The monster Baci cake! 

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post I’m particularly fond of Perugina’s Baci chocolates.  I was delighted when on honeymoon in Sicily around Easter time to find that Baci Easter Eggs are readily found and it was in Italy that I first became acquainted with the Baci cake, a light sponge with pockets of Gianduia filling and covered in chocolate, to imitate the flavour of a Baci chocolate.  However, even though buying one of these would be the easiest way to sample Baci in cake form ever since seeing the Baci cake recipe (scroll to the bottom of the page) on the Baci Canada website I’ve been wanting to test it.  Whereas the shop bought cake is made to look like a giant, unwrapped Baci the recipe suggestion on the website was for a heart shaped cake, topped with Baci in their sparkling silver wrappers. It seemed like the perfect recipe to experiment with on Valentine’s Day – what chocolates are more suited to Valentine’s than Baci with their little love notes and logo inspired by the romantic 19th century painting, The Kiss.    On closer inspection however it was clear that I’d need to give the recipe a bit of a tweak.  There were a few elements which were not clearly explained on the website and the generous quantities of ingredients listed for the sponge would have made a cake to feed an entire Italian wedding.  So I halved the quantities of ingredients for the sponge and added some praline chocolate to the mixture.  Even with this alteration the batter still made three generous heart shaped layers in a tin, c.18cm in width.  Instead of making one batch of ganache and covering the cake in melted chocolate I made a double layer of ganache to cover the whole cake.

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Baci cake as you buy it in the shops.  You can see from the profile slice that it’s meant to look like a giant Baci. 

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melting the butter and chocolate

It was only once I’d begun the process of putting the cake together that I noticed quite how large it was going to be. I’d already cut down the layers of the cake so that they would stack better; in retrospect I should probably have shaved off a little more.   With its three layers it was beginning to rival the Empire State Building for height. Adding the Baci chocolates on the top was like giving the cake an extra layer.  Even my largest cake tin wasn’t big enough to take the cake.  I had to hold the top in place with sellotape and then work out a way of transporting it.  I’d created a monster Baci cake!  I didn’t make a very job of decorating the cake and a s consequence there are no photos of this stage in the cake’s creation; I was too busy considering whether it would be or wouldn’t be acceptable to show anyone, let alone ask them to taste such an oversized, Frankenstein of a cake.  It didn’t help that  my ganache mixture was a little on the runny side and so didn’t stick to the cake quite as effectively as I had hoped.  If I’d trimmed the sponge layers too, I’d have had a much neater looking cake.

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The first two layers of the cake, if only I’d stopped at two!

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Too big for the tin; thankfully I could rest the lid on the decorative Bacis and it reached Mr Kim’s office in one piece. 

Once again Mr Kim’s work colleagues graciously agreed to sample my baking experiment.  It turned out that it was the last day for one of Mr Kim’s colleagues so the cake doubled as both a late Valentine’s treat and leaving cake.   Then I was able to find out if its flavour really matched that of a Baci chocolate.  The contrasting layers of light sponge and ganache looked very effective but I’d overcooked the sponge layers and that they were a little on the dry side. The overall taste of the cake though worked really well and despite all the hazelnut flour in the sponge and the praline chocolate the taste of hazelnut wasn’t overpowering. Despite being sampled by the office such was the size of the Baci cake it felt like we’d barely made a dent.  If you need to feed a small army or express to your nearest and dearest the monumentality of your love in cake form, then this is the cake for you.  As it says on one of the Baci love notes ‘Every great love begins with a kiss’ (Anon).  And this cake is definitely one big kiss!

 

In case anyone is interested in trying this cake below is my altered recipe.

 

For the cake

Flour 275g (I’d use self raising in the UK)

Potato starch 100g

Hazelnut flour 200g

Melted butter 150g

Egg yolks 50g

Whole eggs 450g

Caster sugar 325g

Praline chocolate 100g

 

For icing

Whipping cream 200g

Praline chocolate 400g

Dark chocolate 30g

Chopped hazelnuts 70g

 

To decorate

10 Baci perugina

 

Method

1. heat the oven to 200˚C (390˚F)

2. mix together the hazelnut flour, the flour and potato starch

3. beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar until well blended

4. melt the butter and chocolate slowly

5.add the melted butter mixture to the eggs and sugar

6. add the flour a ½ cup at a time

7. pour 1/3  of the mixture into a 18cm heart shaped tin and cook for c. 30 mins

8. cook three layers of the cake and leave to cool

To make the ganache

  1. bring the cream to a boil.  Remove it from the heat and add the chocolate in small pieces.
  2. Keep stirring the mixture until all the chocolate has melted
  3. Add the chopped nuts

To finish the cake

  1. sandwich the layers with the ganache
  2. cover the top of the      cake and sides with the remaining ganache
  3. add Baci to the top

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