History + chocolate

Combining two of my loves.  Two great Berlin monuments, on display in chocolate at Fassbender & Rausch.

Brandenburg Gate

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church 

February 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm 3 comments

European hot chocolate

70% cacao at Fassbender & Rausch in Berlin

Hot chocolate in Europe  is unlike anything in the United States.   It is creamy, velvety, and thick.   Chocolate in liquid form.  The thought of asking for “skim milk, no whipped cream” didn’t even cross my mind, as it would have desecrated the tasty drink.  Not to mention the request was beyond my language capabilities (except in France where I’m pretty sure they would have refused anyway).

I got into a routine where I would have a hot chocolate almost every afternoon during my trip.  And a coffee every morning of course.  I love the café culture in Europe where you can sit down and order only a coffee or hot chocolate and stay all afternoon.  “To go” orders are practically non-existent.  Taking a break from the cold and enjoying a liquid dessert was one of the highlights of my trip.

Wondering where to find these life-changing hot chocolates?  In Paris, I’d recommend Angelina or Café de Flore.  In Budapest we went to Aztek Choxolat Café, which had several different kinds of hot chocolates, including sour cherry and ginger.  I absolutely loved Café Savoy in Prague–definitely try the “double” chocolate (pictured below).  The above picture is of my hot chocolate at Fassbender & Rausch in Berlin.

“Double” deliciousness at Café Savoy in Prague

February 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm 5 comments

Cupcake pajamas on 30 Rock!

WHOA I am watching 30 Rock with my parents and all of the sudden I see Liz Lemon and James Franco wearing my cupcake pajamas!

It is a new episode  (Season 4: Kraus and Greta) so I couldn’t find a Youtube video yet, but I will post it as soon as I do.

January 14, 2010 at 9:36 pm 3 comments

Go Blue!

I made this cake for the last day of my blogging class!  It is a lemon cake with lemon frosting, complete with a few blue sprinkles to make it truly Maize and Blue.

I used a Block M cake pan that I found at M Den in Ann Arbor.  It is also available online here.  The FANPAN site has cake molds for many different schools, so find one for your favorite team!

January 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm 1 comment

Back in action

Well, I never really stopped baking.  I just stopped blogging about it.

The past few weeks have been very busy and exciting.  I graduated from the University of Michigan, celebrated the holidays, took a trip to New York City, and have been spending time with friends and family in Des Moines, Iowa.   I’m leaving for a trip to Europe at the end of this week and couldn’t be more excited!

I’m going to update Sugar Sleuth with the sweets I’ve baked these past few weeks and then take another brief hiatus while I’m on vacation.   Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

January 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm 4 comments

Diet Coke Cake

I think I first heard about Diet Coke cake from a friend.  It is, by far, the easiest dessert to make!   It’s very moist and tastes just like normal cake.  It’s also low-calorie if you make it with diet pop.   I used Diet Cherry Coke for an interesting flavor!  It was delicious and ready in about 30 minutes.

Diet Coke Cake (or Sprite/7up cake)

  • 1 box regular cake mix, any flavor (no “pudding in the mix”)
  • 1 can of pop (use Diet Coke for chocolate cake or a lemon-lime soda for white or yellow cake)

1) Preheat the oven to whatever temperature is indicated on the box.

2) Combine the cake mix with one can of pop and stir until blended.  Leave out the butter/oil/eggs if the mix calls for it. Mix ONLY the cake mix and can of pop.

3)  Bake for about 10 minutes less than the box calls for.   Test with a fork to ensure that the cake is cooked in the center.  Enjoy!

December 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm 11 comments

Stressed is “desserts” spelled backwards!

Photo from Chelevision

I think everyone at the University of Michigan is stressed right now.  I find when I am stressed I am too lazy to cook and end up eating whatever I can find.  Unfortunately Big Ten Burrito is right across the street from my apartment, making healthy choices even more difficult.  I’ve found that soup is always a good choice (especially when the wind chill is below zero) and so is salad and fruit.

It’s great to have a sweet treat to keep morale high when studying, but don’t fall for the most common sugar traps: overly processed candy bars near the checkout at stores.  They may look delicious when you’re overcaffeinated and got 4 hours of sleep the night before, but they will NOT make you feel better.

For me, the act of baking is a great stress reliever.  I love to bake and doing something I enjoy automatically makes me feel better about upcoming exams.  Maybe instead of giving in to your candy bar craving you could try and make a simple dessert.  If you make something yourself, it is almost always more natural (who has a jar of trans fat in their kitchen cabinets?!) than a store bought Snickers bar.

Good luck studying (and baking) during finals season!

December 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm 2 comments

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