About my Grandmother’s Raisin Cake Secret, about some Cute Little Swans, and about Houseboats

Cake, Kuchen

Raisin cake

My grandmother made a wonderful raisin cake, maybe the best I ever had. It was rich and dense, and it was packed with raisins. A few days ago, I started an attempt to follow her path and disclose her secret. I would not say I reached the benchmark already, but I got close – the mistery lies in the right balance of raisins and sugar as well as meal and butter… We have however been quite enthusiastic, and we also liked a lot the idea of such a simple cake with such simple ingredients tasting that good.

Here’s my recipe

Soak 250 g raisins in boiling water to soften, put aside. Mix 200 g all purpose flour with 200 g whole spelt flour, 250 g raw sugar, 12 g baking powder, 300g softened butter, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean, and lemon zest of 1 small organic lemon. Mix well with a big wooden spoon or your kitchen machine, whatever you prefer. The dough will be rich and soft once you’re done with it. Drain the raisins and add to the dough, mix well.

Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Grease a baking can or cover it with pan liner. Fill in the dough and put in the oven. Bake for 70 minutes (cover with kitchenfoil after 50 minutes), take off and let completely cool down. Spread some sugar powder on the cake – and enjoy!

Today’s urban shots

Today’s Berlin views are somehow about the beauty in simplicity as well – and about life on the water (for birds and human beings alike). On a little bicycle trip through Berlin along some beautiful canals, we passed a swan family and some houseboats:

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19 thoughts on “About my Grandmother’s Raisin Cake Secret, about some Cute Little Swans, and about Houseboats”

  1. Grandmothers’ recipes……hard to reach. I remember soup with rice and sweet pasta with sugar and ground almonds. Your cake looks wonderful! And the photos….I specially adore the first one.
    Arrrgghhh – sorry, I feel my english is quite clumsy….

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    • Thanks a lot for the compliments!
      You are right with grandmother’s recipes – hard to reach (and in case of doubt it’s most often a question of the amount of butter, I guess ;-). Sweet pasta with almonds sounds wonderful – I know from vacations during my childhood that there do exist many great sweet pasta dishes in Bavaria, true sould food… And your English is really very good, don’t worry!

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  2. Großmütter und ihre Geheimnisse… meine Oma schrieb mir einmal ein Rezept für Donauwellen auf mit Mengenangaben à la “Soviel Mehl, bis der Teig richtig ist”. Noch heute weiß ich nicht, wie der Teig richtig ist, aber vielleicht muss ich einfach an meinem Teiggefühl arbeiten… es soll ja keiner behaupten könnnen, es stimme etwas mit meinen Gefühlen nicht 🙂

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    • Das ist ja super süß, soviel Mehl, bis der Teig richtig ist… Ich frage mich beim Backen ja auch meist eher, ob das mit der Konsistenz alles so seine Richtigkeit hat. So rein gefühlsmäßig ;-).

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  3. What a lovely way to keep up with family traditions! Your cake, in it’s pure simplicitiy, looks absolutely delicious. My grandmother never gave my any recipes, but I still remember her way of cooking. She was a very generous person and accordingly she cooked very generously. Limiting butter, sugar, cream or eggs was not her way of doing things in the ktichen. I suppose, your grandmother was a very generous person, too.
    I’d love to live on a houseboat. On my last trip to Paris I fell in love with a black and green painted houseboat with red shutters anchored near the Bois de Boulogne. Such bohemian style, but still very comfortable. Back at home I looked at the offers of some real estate offices and realized that owning a houseboat, at least in Paris, would always be no more than a cherished dream. So I stay grounded at the Odenwald.
    Have a nice sunny weekend!

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    • Thank you so much for your warm comment! I did not have a recipe of my grandmother either, I just tried to figure out what ingredients she might have used. It made me smile to read what you say about generosity with butter, eggs & co. – this is exactly the way this generation used to cook ;-).
      What a lovely story about your houseboat plans (even if they did not end up on a houseboat). I can’t imagine anything more romantic then inhabiting such a beautiful property in Paris.
      Wish you a wonderful weekend, too!

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  4. Your blog is beautiful Claudia! I am so happy to have found it… this is my first visit and I’ll be following you from now on. The pictures of Berlin and your grandmother’s recipe are heartwarming! That little swan family is so sweet… you captured it so well.
    Re family recipes. I’ve often tried to replicate my mother’s recipes (that she hasn’t written down) and it’s so hard to get things tasting exactly the same! I think you did beautifully with this raisin cake. It looks gorgeously moist, fragrant and delicious. I love spelt flour also. The earthy, rustic flavour is such a lovely addition to cakes and breads. Thanks for the beautiful post! xx

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    • Thank you very much, Laura, that you stopped by and left such a warm comment! You are most welcome on this blog, and I am happy that I know your beautiful blog now as well (like the name of it alot as well).
      Yes, it’s not easy to give familiy recipes (or just the idea of it if it isn’t written down like your mother’s recipes) the right taste… Wonderful that you try nevertheless! Maybe this is even part of the beauty of it: Every generation adds a little imprint to the recipe. Like for example spelt flourin this cake – I am quite sure that my grandma used something else instead (great that you like the flavor of spelt as well).

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  5. I am very glad that I inherited my great grand mother cookbook. 😉
    And yes, butter, fat and stuff like that make the difference.
    I also like the first pic best, great composition! And of couse the little swans swimming over the neck of their parent. 🙂

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    • Lucky you! What a treasure to hold her recipe collection in your hands (and I guess you find proof in every recipe about the butter & co.habits of grandmothers ;-).
      Thank you for the photo compliments! The little swans did funny things – we could have watched them all day (and as they where so many, they were a little sensation – we have not been the only ones who stopped to take a look).

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  6. I can’t decide which of your cake fotos i like best. Wonderfull! I think you should seriously think about putting a cookbook together! Not just because of your fotos, but also because of your creative recipes. I would definately buy one 🙂
    Grans and their recipes are sort of a mistery on their own. My gran makes the best Heringssalat and Frankfurter Kranz. Everyone in the family has tried but no one can get it quite right. I’m happy for you that you’re on the right track. I’m gonna visit my Gran next month and hope to come home with some of her recipes 🙂
    And how cute are those baby swans!

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    • Thank you so much!! This is really a big, big compliment, I appreciate that a lot. And the opportunity to make a cookbook one day would be great, of course…
      Heringssalat – you are so right, this generation seems to have some secret ingredients that makes it taste so incredibly good. Great that you visit your grandma and that you will most probably return with wonderful recipes (and that we all might profit from it in case you bring it to your blog ;-)).
      Yes, those little swans are heartwarming – their cheeping is very cute as well :-).

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    • Wow, thank you so much! Great that you like our blog so much – we like yours a lot as well (every recipe I tried from your blog is most popular “chez nous” :-)).

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  7. Hi Claudia. Your grandmother’s recipe sounds delicious! I love simple recipes that are handed down for generations. So glad that you’ve shared yours! 🙂
    P.S. How cute are those swans?!

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  8. Puja @ Indiaphile.info says:

    Oops! Just realized that you didn’t actually have the recipe but tried to recreate it instead. Your recreation looks great and totally sounds authentic to me! 🙂

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    • Thanks a lot for your beautiful comments, Puja! I totally agree with you that it is most beautiful to keep or re-discover the simple recipes from the generations before. Trying to recreate grandmother’s dishes where a recipe is missing feels a little bit like handed over as well, regarding memory and inspiration.

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