Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Thyme- and Port Wine-Cherries

I am sitting here, outside it's pouring down rain. It has been raining for 2 days non-stop now, so I am assuming summer has decided to take a little break after all. In Berlin, whole train stations and tunnels were flooded. Here in the country the plants are mostly welcoming this rainy switch and everything has started to bloom and blossom. I, in turn, actually don't mind too much cozying up inside with a hot chocolate and a slice of cake. 

hazelnut cherry cake - kitchen hoopla

This is just THE cake for gloomy days like this. It is filled all the way with comforting ingredients: hazelnuts, chocolate (!!!), cherries, booze and thyme (and YES, butter too). Egg whites get whipped so the cake get's a super nice and light texture. The thyme goes really well with the dark chocolate and the boozy flavour of the port wine... Just writing about it again, I feel I need to bake another one right now :)


  • 150g ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150g cherries
  • 1-2 shots of port wine
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • icing sugar to dust


1. Pit the cherries and place them in a large bowl. Pick the leafs of the thyme and together with the port wine add to the cherries. Mix well. Let the cherries soak for a minimum of 1 hour, if you can, put them in a glass jar covered over night.

2. Preheat the oven to 170°C top bottom heat. Heat the butter in a small saucepan on low heat until it just melts, don't let it boil. Let it cool down slightly.

3. Separate the egg white from the yolks. Place the yolks in a large bowl together with the sugar and using the electric whisk mix until it's thick and creamy. Then slowly add the melted butter and continue whisking on low speed until all is incorporated. 

4. In small bowl mix up hazelnuts with baking powder. Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Slowly add the hazelnuts to the batter whilst whisking continuously on low speed. Then fold in the chocolate chunks.

5. Lastly whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff and foamy. Very gently fold into the batter until incorporated, but be careful not to over-mix. 

6. Line the bottom of a 18cm cake tin with baking paper. Pour in the batter, then add the infused cherries along with the thyme leafs but not too much of the liquid (a little bit is fine, but too much will make the cake soggy). 

7. Bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25min., or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool down slightly before removing from the tin.

8. In the meantime whip the cream until stiff. Serve cake with whipped cream and some drizzles of the leftover port wine infusion liquid. 

Pecan and Chocolate Babka

This last month was packed with traveling. We spent 2 weeks in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. I had travelled there 8 years ago and having had the best memories of my time spent there always wanted to go back. It was, again, such a magical and relaxing time that I am still drawing a lot of energy from. But I promise to tell more soon - at the moment I am still rummaging through hundreds of pictures that I took.

Never having been to Paris (I grew up in Brussels, yet never managed to take the 1 hour train ride over to France), I jumped at the chance, when one of my friends decided to run the Paris Marathon. And NO, I didn't run a marathon. I simply went to cheer her on - and to eat a lot of baguette and cheese. And that I did. Very successfully.

After Paris came Tyrol, a part of the alps stretching through Austria and Italy. We went there to spend a weekend with his family. Staying in a little cabin in the middle of the mountains was amazing. I always find it such a fascinating and humbling experience being in the alps, feeling dwarfed by giant snow-capped mountains.   

As it was Easter we had a LOT of food. Family dinner included a big lamb roast with beans and potatoes. We bought some cured ham which is very traditional in that region, plus makes for a very good hiking snack. On Easter Sunday, I decided to bake a babka. In the end it turned out so big, it wouldn't fit into the tin, so it ended up a bit more like a German 'Hefezopf' (braided yeast bun). 



  • 3 cups white spelt flour
  • 1 + 1/4 cups white wheat flour
  • 1 + 1/2 sachets (10g) dry instant yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter at room temperature
  • optional: pinch of vanilla and nutmeg


  • 150g (1 + 1/2 bars) quality dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pecans, roughly chopped or crushed


1. Mix the two flours, instant yeast, salt and sugar in a big bowl. You can add a pinch of nutmeg and vanilla if you want.

2. Heat the milk so that it is lukewarm. Add the milk to the flour, as well as the eggs, knead with your hands until the dough comes together. 

3. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10minutes until it becomes smooth and flexible. 

4. Now spread the dough with your hands and add 1/3 of the butter. Knead in so the butter is well incorporated. Use more flour to dust if necessary. Continue with the rest of the butter until all is incorporated and you have a smooth and elastic dough. 

5. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and let rest in a warm place for about 1 hour. The dough should be doubled in size. 

6. In the meantime make the filling: Finely chop or roughly grate the chocolate, mix with the butter and the sugar. Roughly chop the pecans. 

7. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. It should be rolled out into a rectangle, with one longer and one shorter side. Spread on the chocolate filling and sprinkle with the pecans. 

8. Halve the dough lengthwise, roll each half up from the longer side. Attach one end of each roll to the other by just pressing together the ends of the dough. Now halve each roll by cutting about 2-3cm from the just combined end. You will get 4 strands of dough which are attached to each other at the top. 

9. Plaiting the dough: Start by crossing the outer strands over the inner ones. Then cross the inner ones. Keep on doing that until you come to the end, press together the ends of the rolls. In the end it doesn't really matter that you plait them in a regular way, when the dough rises and it is baked you won't notice any irregularities. 

10. Carefully transfer the plaited dough onto a tray lined with baking paper, or into a cake tin. I baked mine without a tin, cause it was too big to fit in. Cover with a cloth and let rise for another 30min. 

11. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Bake for 20-25min. If it get's too dark too quickly, loosely cover with aluminium foil for the rest of the baking time.

This babka is a great snack to bake for a hiking trip, wrapped in foil it will keep well for 24hours. Filled with dark chocolate and pecans it's not too sweet yet satisfies my sweet-tooth-needs. 

Coconut Blondie Cake with Raspberries

It's only four days until I am going on holiday and to be frank I can't imagine that in a couple of days I will be sitting on a beach in Zanzibar, eating papaya and mango fresh from the tree. This winter has been a tough one (especially in the country where we had frozen water pipes and a couple of nights with close to 0°C inside). So right now I still cuddle up with my warm water bottle and hot tea at night, and mostly have very winter-y cravings, especially for chocolate cake. 

This blondie cake is something in-between, still very comforting and warming, it also gets a little bit of summer vibes from the coconut and the raspberries. Obviously less seasonal but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right?


  • 220g white spelt flour
  • 90g desiccated coconut + 1tbsp extra
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3-4tbsp coconut butter* 
  • 100g coconut oil
  • 50g soft butter
  • 80ml coconut blossom syrup, agave syrup or sugar to your own taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp salt or even better 2tbsp light shiro miso paste 
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 100g raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • handful of coconut flakes

*can be found in most organic supermarkets. Or you can easily make it yourself - see the recipe on thekitchn.com


1. Using an electric whisk, cream the coconut oil with the soft butter until light and fluffy. Whisk in the syrup. 

2. Add one egg at a time, keep whisking. Then add the coconut butter. 

3. Mix together the desiccated coconut, salt (if you use miso, add it in the next step), flour and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter whilst whisking. 

4. Roughly chop the chocolate and using a spatula gently fold into the batter. 

5. Grease a 23cm cake tin with butter or coconut oil and sprinkle on some desiccated coconut. 

6. Spread the batter in the cake tin, top with the raspberries, slightly smush them into the batter.

7. Bake for 17min. until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean (the smaller the cake tin the longer it will need to bake through).

8. Sprinkle on the coconut flakes and bake another 2-3min. until golden brown. 

Semolina Lemon Cake with Blood Orange Compote

This semolina cake is one of the simplest and best I have ever made. It literally is just done by mixing everything together and putting it into the oven. Thanks to the almonds and the semolina, and yes, of course a not so little amount of butter, this cake is extra moist and mellow. As it was done so quickly, I felt the need to add a little extra twist by adding the lemon icing and the blood orange compote.

 Lately I have been having these really strong cravings for blood oranges and as they are in season right now I bought a whole basketful. I learned, they contain anthocyanins, which not only gives the oranges their beautiful vibrant colour, but also happens to be an antioxidant, so Yay! Just the right thing on a frosty winter day such as this.

If you are in a hurry you can easily skip the compote and just do the cake with the lemon icing. It'll already be enough to convince you to make this recipe more often, I am sure. But it does give the cake and extra kick. ;-)


Semolina Cake

  • 225g soft butter
  • 120g muscovado sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 230g white spelt flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g semolina
  • 150ml milk
  • juice of 4 lemons and 1tsp lemon zest

Lemon Icing

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g icing sugar

Blood Orange Compote

  • 4-5 blood oranges
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 1tbsp water
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1-2tbsp Cointreau, or any other liquor of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Semolina Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C top/bottom heat. Mix together the flour, baking powder, vanilla, almonds and semolina. 

2. Mix the butter with the sugar using an electric whisk until creamy and fluffy. 

3. Add one egg at a time, continue to whisk. 

4. Now alternately add the flour-mix and the milk until all is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. 

5. Zest one lemon, then juice the lemons. Add the lemon zest and juice to the batter. 

6. Butter a bread or cake tin and sprinkle on some semolina or flour. Pour in the batter. Bake for 55-60min. until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Lemon Icing

1. In the meantime sieve the icing sugar and mix with half the juice of 1 lemon. If too thick add a little more lemon juice or water. 

Blood Orange Compote

1. Juice 1 blood orange. Peel and cut the remaining oranges into filets. You can do this by cutting the peel off with a sharp knife. Then, holding the orange over a bowl to collect the juice, cut out the individual filets between the segments. 

2. Put the sugar, water and maple syrup into small saucepan and place on medium heat. Do not stir, just wait for the sugar to dissolve and caramelise. This will take about 3min. 

3. When the caramel has a golden brown colour take off the heat. Add the Cointreau, orange juice, vanilla and cinnamon. 

4. Bring to a boil on medium heat until the caramel reaches the desired consistency, a little pasty and not too fluid. Then add the orange filets and let sit for a couple of minutes to cool down. 


Pistachio Layer Cake with Raspberries

The year is slowly coming to an end - this means it's not only a time to look back at the past year, but mostly look towards what's coming ahead. For ages now, I have been thinking about a remake for my blog. After a lot of work (some almost lost pages and a major panic attack) it is finally done! I wanted to create a site that is a little bit more picture-intensive and I gotta say, I am pretty happy with it.

And since I won't just write a post about my new design, there is of course also a new recipe. And since we're already on the topic of looking forward - I am really looking forward to my bff's wedding next year. I will be baking her wedding cake and so lately I have started collecting recipes and testing cakes. This is the first serious trial and I think it has definitely secured a place as one of the cakes that will eventually make it to the 'finale'. 


for the cake

  • 250g butter
  • 120g pistachios
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 250g sugar
  • 300g white spelt flour
  • 0.5tsp salt
  • 2.5tsp baking powder
  • 50ml whiskey
  • 50g greek yoghurt
  • 50ml lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • 4 large eggs

for the frosting

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 400g mascarpone
  • icing sugar to taste
  • optional: vanilla, lemon zest
  • 250g raspberries
  • 3-4 figs


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sieve the flour, mix with the salt, ground almonds and the baking powder. 

2. Pulse 100g of the pistachios in a blender until finely ground. When you pinch them with your fingers, they should stick together a little bit. 

3. Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add the ground pistachios and lemon zest. 

4. Add one egg at a time, until all is mixed well. 

5. Now add the flour bit by bit, alternating with the whiskey, the yoghurt and the lemon juice. 

6. Grease a cake tin and line with baking paper. Add the batter to the tin and spread evenly. 

7. Bake 40-45min. until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool down.

8. In the meantime whip up the cream cheese with the mascarpone and to your own taste add sifted icing sugar, vanilla or/and lemon zest.

9. When the cake has cooled completely, using a large knife or a wire cake cutter, half the cake in the middle. Spread half the frosting on the bottom cake and add some raspberries. 

10. Place the top part of the cake back on, spread the remaining frosting on the top. Garnish with remaining raspberries, cut up figs and remaining pistachios. 

As it's gonna be an autumn wedding I thought it would be nice to pick up on more warming and comforting flavours, like nuts and seasonal fruit such as figs. And although raspberries are summer fruit I couldn't really part with them - they just add this subtle tartness to cut through the earthy taste of the cake. My brain is now already working on other cakes that could have wedding cake potential. A friend of mine mentioned date cake which is sort of stuck in my brain now, and I know that my to-be-married-friend loves banana bread so that's also an option. What kind of creations would you fancy on your special day?

Spelt apple cake with caramelised cinnamon apples

Lately I have been harvesting so many apples, I keep running out of ideas what to do with them. I made a ton of apple compote, I try to put apples in our dinners (tonight some will go into a chicken roast with dark beer sauce), I have made cakes, pies, muffins and swirls. So when I was browsing through some of my favourite blogs I found a recipe by Pastry Affair for apple muffins, and even though I had seen plenty of apple muffins and cakes lately, her photos spoke to me. 

I changed the recipe slightly by using spelt flour. Also in the end I decided to go for a cake tin as I didn't have any muffin moulds at hand. I am still collecting kitchen utensils for our place in the country and some essentials are still missing unfortunately. 


  • 80g butter
  • 80g muscovado sugar
  • 2-3 apples
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 350g spelt flour
  • 300ml milk
  • for the topping: 1-2apples, 1tbsp muscovado sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan. In a medium saucepan, melt 1tbsp butter on medium heat. Add 80g sugar and let it melt on low heat until you get a goldenbrown caramel. Peel and cut 2-3 apples (roughly 200g) into 2-3cm chunks. Add the apples to the caramel and sautée for about 5-8min. Apples should be cooked but not falling apart.

2. Beat the remaining butter with 150g sugar, add the eggs and continue whisking for another min. until foamy. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. 

3. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Gradually add the flour to the egg-mix, adding a bit of the milk inbetween, until both are used up and you have a smooth batter. 

4. Grease a cake tin and line with parchment paper. Mix the batter with the apples and gently fold through. 

5. Cut the apples for the topping into thin slices. Place on top of the cake batter, slightly overlapping. Mix the remaining sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the apples. 

6. Bake in the oven for approx. 25-30min. until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the top is goldenbrown and caramelised. 

There is so much that inspires me, my friends, colleagues, or even just spending a couple of minutes browsing through Instagram, or Pinterest, I am usually quickly overwhelmed by all the pictures and recipes out there. This recipe is so easy and so pleasing, I am considering making it again tomorrow (there are still so so many apples left).

Banana Bread with Plums

Even though Indian summer has made a strong comeback, there are definite signs of autumn. Mushrooms, apples, grapes, and yes, plums! We didn't harvest this many this year, or lets say, a lot of plums came with a little unwanted house worm cozying up inside. But some of them luckily made it into my kitchen and into this cake. 

And lucky I was, cause this recipe was actually written at the request of a very dear friend of mine, who recently decided to go vegan and instructed (yes, she was very firm) me to come up with a way to combine several of her current food crushes: banana bread and plum-cake. So, here we go! 



  • 4 medium overripe bananas (roughly 300g mashed)
  • 180g white spelt flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 120ml coconut oil, melted
  • 100g coconut blossom sugar, or sweetener of your choice
  • 1/2 tonka bean or 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 200g plums





1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Halve and deseed the plums, coat them in 1tbsp of the sugar and let them soak. Peel and finely mash the bananas with a fork or a hand blender. Mix with the sugar. 

2. Melt the coconut oil and whisk into the banana mash until well combined. Mix in the spices.

3. Sieve the flour and baking powder directly into the banana-mixture and fold in, so there are no lumps. 

4. Grease and line a cake tin with baking paper (I used a 23cm wide one) and pour in the batter.

5. Now place the plums on the batter, cut side up. 

6. Bake for 30-35Min. (If you are using a larger cake tin, the cake will be flatter and cook more quickly) until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

7. Let the cake slightly cool down, before taking out of the tin. Serve warm with coconut yoghurt, or whipped coconut cream.