In the grand scheme of things only very few truly matter. It’s easy to get caught up in worries that come along with being involved in the routine of everyday life. It’s an organic response, a natural reaction, a reflex very difficult to inhibit and you can’t disconnect – unless you’re seeking isolation on purpose. Somehow we’re always longing for this or for that, and if we have everything we dreamed of, we’re left wanting for more. So back to the roots it is, we seek simplicity and crave the stuff that in theory comes for free, but not without effort. We miss what’s right in front of us, all day, every day, and we can’t make a leap forward and grab it, because it would just be somehow… inadequate.
I recently wrote a song about detaching oneself from something uneven, called “I’m not going to play anymore”. It’s about leaving something that brings you great joy, perhaps even more than it should, but that also never had a future. A few days after writing said song, I did a detox-weekend, inspired by the Chick Who Eats, whom I’ve known her through our mutual love of photography for a few years now. She’s all about healthy choices. Her de-tox program involved a 24-hour-fast during which we only drank water and tea. I had ginger and lemon-infused tea mainly and lots of water. On the second day, we ate delicious foods, but nothing processed. I decided to join the de-tox only a few hours before Yoori advertised it on her mailing list. I was feeling full to the brink at that moment, and taking a step back – even through abstaining from something as simple as eating – really did me some good. We started on a Friday evening, and by Saturday noon I felt my system winding down, my mind centering and time felt as if it was passing less quickly. I allowed myself to sleep in and to abstain from any efforts, I indulged in light activities. It was a new level of feeling relaxed. I’m not going to lie, all of this required a bit of concentration on my part, but it was nice to let the mind drift into different spheres. My friend Anne, from university, does a de-tox such as this, but longer, once a year and even wrote about it (in German) for the newspaper that she works for, Frankfurter Rundschau. She essentially says it’s nice to have a legitimate reason to be in a bad mood, and says there is a lot of myth-building around the concept of fasting. The same situation can be interpreted differently for each party involved. It’s what makes our world so bright and colorful – and wonderful!
But all efforts of fasting aside, this is a post about cake. The exact opposite of fasting. To pick up the whole concept of missing something that’s right in front of us all day, every day: how about summer? So far, we’ve had like a day of it here in Germany. It’s annoying to say the least. My solution: bake up a slice of summer in my oven. It cures the cold bare feet and warms the living room, too. So, without further ado, I give you Träubleskuchen, Redcurrant cake. It’s very popular in the south of Germany, and one of my very favorite ways to eat cake. Redcurrants, or Johannisbeeren or Träubles (little grapes), are kind of sour, and full of color and flavor. Their texture is juicy and very fragile, they taste great with nuts and the pie crust, their juiciness really compliment the whole pie structure. This recipe has been lingering around my hard drive since last year, but the pictures were lacking something. So, when I saw redcurrants at the supermarket this Saturday, I couldn’t resist and bought them. They are still expensive, but who cares: I’m missing out on the joys of summer and I need to compensate. Plus, now you can also make this cake and bring summer to your own home. By the way, Yoshi also loves redcurrants. Well, not exactly. He is a sucker for the stems. Here’s an outtake from this morning’s photo shoot. This is the chutzpah I have put up with! He’s fearless and when I motion him to go elsewhere and then give him his own little redcurrants, he’ll come right back to the large bowl anyway. Gotta love him!
Don’t have redcurrants? Don’t worry. Seek out blueberries!
Gluten-free Redcurrant Cake (Träubleskuchen)
For the crust:
250g gluten-free flour (I used one part Bauckhof’s cake mix, one part Komeko pastry flour and one part AdPan’s Harina de Reposteria)
2 eggs (medium-sized)
For the filling:
a dash of salt
100g ground almonds
100g ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp corn starch
Place all of the ingredients for the pie into a bowl and knead them into a smooth dough with your hands. Roll into a ball, cover with plastic foil and place into your fridge for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, line a cake tin with baking parchment. Heat your oven to 180°C.
Remove the dough ball from the fridge, and place onto the baking parchment. Distribute evenly within the cake tin and form a crust with your fingers, which should be clean and dry.
Place the pie crust in your oven and bake for about half an hour.
Now, remove the stems off the redcurrants. Whip the egg-whites until stiff together with the dash of salt, then carefully add the sugar and give it another stir or two, until the sugar is well incorporated. Remove about four generous tablespoons of sugary egg-white and place into a separate bowl. Add the ground nuts and the corn starch to the larger part of the sugary egg-whites and finally add the redcurrants.
Remove pie crust from oven. Distribute the filling evenly onto the pie-crust and then cover with the sugary-egg-whites that you set aside earlier. Bake your redcurrant cake for about half an hour to fourty minutes. It may be necessary to cover the pie with aluminum foil for the last ten minutes – the filling should be somewhat firm and no longer liquid. Serve this cake just beyond room temperature, it’s most refreshing then.