A friend (who really knows the the way to this girl’s heart) gifted me with Luisa Weiss’s Classic German Baking for my birthday back in July. The summer was so full (and hot) that I rarely turned on the oven, but now that Fall is in full swing (and I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off on Netflix), I was itching to get back to baking and trying some new recipes!
Having done our traditional apple picking trip a few weeks back, I’m up to my eyeballs in apples, even after having made two pies, but Classic German Baking was ready for me with three different Apfelkuchen recipes. I fully intend to try all three in the coming weeks, but based on what was in my pantry/fridge, I went with the Versunkener Apfelkuchen first, which also happens to be the simplest of the three. And since the recipe declared it “great for people baking with small children” I asked Little Miss Cleaver to help out. (The smiley face was all LMC’s idea and execution).
The high egg and butter content makes the cake-crumb similar to that of a pound cake and the batter is lightly flavored with lemon-zest, making it a bright alternative to the cinnamon and nutmeg-heavy desserts typical of fall and making it suitable as a spring and summer dessert too. The raw sugar sprinkled on the top before baking gives the top a pleasing crunch. I didn’t have any cream on hand to make whipped cream, but it would be nice finish to this simple, but pleasing dessert.
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German Sunken Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)
Easy enough to whip together on a weekday and fun to make with kids, this classic German cake combines apples and lemon zest under a raw sugar crust for a bright and delicious dessert.
3 medium apples
1 medium lemon, scrubbed
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar
9 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
11/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9” round cake pan (or springform pan) with an oil-based spread (like Crisco or baking spray) and line the bottom of the pan with parchment.
Peel the apples, then core and slice into 8ths (I use a corer/slicer to make quick work of this).
Zest the lemon into a bowl with the butter and sugar. Cut the lemon in half and juice one half. Strain any seeds and set the juice aside.
Using a sturdy wooden spoon or mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla extract and one egg, mixing until fully combined. Add remaining eggs one at a time, fully combining each egg before adding the next.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the lemon juice and flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the apple slices with the core side down in a circle around the edge of the pan, pressing down slightly, so each slice is secured in place. Take the remaining apples and place in the center. Sprinkle the top of the cake generously with demerara sugar.
Place pan in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing pan. The cake should be firm enough that it should be easy to move without disturbing the apples.
Enjoy at room temperature with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss
German Sunken Apple Cake Versunkener ApfelkuchenServes 8 Ingredients: 3 medium apples 1 medium lemon 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar 9 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 eggs, room temperature 1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar
One of the most fun parts of being a designer is seeing how others interpret your designs.
We’re in October already, leaves are starting to change color, which means we are entering peak knitwear season! Instead of the most recent FOs this go round, I thought I’d share some of my favorite of your autumnal knits.
Click on any image to visit the maker's Instagram or Ravelry page!
I LOVE seeing your makes! Tag me @mscleaver on Instagram, or if it's on Ravelry, I'll see it. :)
Want to make one of your own? Grab the patterns below!
If I’ve been quiet around here, it’s because I’ve been busy! Busy with work. Busy with transitioning Little Miss Cleaver into Kindergarten and busy with pulling together the pieces of my next collection - STORYTIME.
STORYTIME is inspired by some of my favorite classic children’s books, including Little Golden Books and The Wizard of OZ series. The collection will include two new knitting patterns (one adult sweater, one accessory), two new embroidery patterns/kits and a sewing pattern/kit perfect for spotlighting your favorite embroidery.
After a lot of time sketching and developing ideas, I’m finishing up samples and getting patterns written and reviewed. There’s still a lot of work left to to (it’s a lot to pull together for one person!), but I expect to release the collection in October.
Back to stitching for me!
I've written before about my burgeoning love of German food, so it should be no surprise that Spätzle/Spaetzle was become a popular dinner in the Cleaver household.
I'll admit that I've yet to find a way of making Spätzle that doesn't make a huge mess (the noodle dough is super sticky!), but I find the end result worth it. The recipe makes a generous amount of noodles (four adult-sized portions) and can be easily doubled.
Not in garlic scape season? Try substituting in chives, wild garlic leaves, spring/baby garlic or basically anything in the edible allium family like scallions, shallots, or leeks. No fresh asparagus around? Substitute with frozen*, or try green beans, sugar or snow peas, broccoli stems - anything green with a snap.
*Frozen veggies beat out of season veggies any day in my book.
Garlic Scape Pesto and Asparagus Summer Spätzle
This bright and delicious combination of German-style spätzle noodles, asparagus, and fresh pesto stands as a light summer meal on its own, or pairs beautifully with sausage, chicken or pork (especially Schnitzel!) for a heartier meal.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- pinch of salt
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 6-8 garlic scapes
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus some for the pan
- salt to taste
Note: The pesto can be made in advance, if desired.
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces, (about 2-2.5 cups)
Note: There are several methods to "pressing" Spätzle into it's shape. There's a Spätzle press if you have one (I don't). You can also use a potato ricer on the largest holes, "cutting" it from a board, squeezing it from a bag, or my most frequently used method, using a spatula to press it through a large-holed colander.
On/next to your stovetop, prepare the following: a large pot of water set to a rolling boil, a large frying pan oiled with approximately a 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (don't heat it yet), and a large bowl filled with ice water.
Make dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine dough ingredients and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Make pesto (can be done in advance and refrigerated): In food processor, combine scapes and walnuts, pulsing until finely chopped. Add cheese and pulse to mix. Slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Add salt to taste.
Using the method of your choice, press dough into the pot of boiling water in batches. Once the noodles begin to float (about 2 minutes) removed with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water. Make the rest of the noodles in the same fashion. Drain the noodles.
Heat frying pan. If using frozen vegetables, saute them lightly first, then add the drained noodles. If using fresh vegetables, add both noodles and vegetables to the frying pan at the same time. Fry the noodles until golden brown, adding extra oil if it starts sticking to pan. Add the pesto and mix until well distributed. Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with additional shredded cheese.
Garlic Scape Pesto and Asparagus Summer SpatzleServes 4 Ingredients: 2 cups flour 4 eggs 1/2 cup milk salt to taste 6-8 garlic scapes 1/4 cup walnuts 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1/4 cup olive oil 1 bunch asparagus
While browsing at my local yarn shop earlier this year, I came upon three colors of Juniper Moon Farm's Zooey piled together in a cubby and thought- what perfect New England colors for summer! When I got it home and placed my purchase next to some Moxie packaging, I realized that it was the perfect Maine summer colors. And so, inspired by the colors of Moxie soda, the official soft drink of Maine, the Moxie shawl is the perfect knit to both make and wear at the beach – whether your beach is in Maine or lands beyond.
Moxie is a traditional top-down triangle shawl that uses a mosaic knitting technique for the colorwork bands. Mosaic knitting creates patterns by using slipped stitches that pull up a strand of color from the row below, which means you're only dealing with one color in each row and getting a graphic "pop" with little complication. Worked in garter stitch, the shawl is a quick and cozy knit.
The Moxie pattern can be found in GRAIN - the current issue of Taproot Magazine, available via subscription, their online shop, and at a variety of bookstores and stockists.
A very special thanks to my testers and to Aimee Chapman for some short-notice modeling!
We're already halfway through August, which means that I've already got holiday crafting on the brain (not that I'll start on it for months yet, but I'm thinking about it...). For those of you who are a bit more forward-planning, my 2018 holiday design, Chickadee and Pine is now available, along with all my other wintery-woodland designs, to get a kick-start on that crafting.
I've also got something else new that I'm super excited to share with you - my first sewing pattern! The Ms. Billingsley Apron (named for June Cleaver herself, Barbara Billingsley) is the answer to the question "but what do I do with the embroidery after I've finished it?"
Designed to fit any of my 6" hoop designs, the easy-to-sew, but elegantly finished Ms. Billingsley apron can also be used to show off a single quilt block or panel of a favorite fabric. You can find the pattern as a downloadable PDF (complete with Bowl of Cherries template), or I've assembled some kits featuring the sample fabrics shown above paired with a Bowl of Cherries complete embroidery kit.
Meet Nerio, my latest (and 21st*!) release with Quince & Co. yarns. These quick-knit socks feature a deceptively simple lace pattern reminiscent of dragon scales. Toe-up construction with an afterthought heel keep the knitting flowing so these little beauties will practically hop (or should I say fly?) off your needles.
Nerio can be purchased as an individual pattern ($5.50 USD ) or as part of the five-pattern Tern 2018 collection ($18.00) from the following sources:
*And the third to be styled with that skirt!
Wherein I talk about body image, mental health and making your own clothes, one year later...Read More
Is it possible to be nostalgic for a life you've never lived?
My idea of the perfect summer, for better or worse seems to be heavily colored by Country Time Lemonade commercials and reruns of the Andy Griffith Show that both played in heavy rotation during summer mornings in the late 1980s - I think summer should be swimming holes and floating docks in lakes and, yes, inner-tubing (with real tire inner tubes) down a lazy river.
I can only recall actually inner-tubing on a real river (instead of, say, at Raging Waters) once - but I wouldn't mind kicking off my sandals, and going for a long float down a shady river. Until that opportunity pops, up I'll content myself with this trio of stitched ladies acting as my proxy.
Want to stitch up your own lazy summer? Pick your favorite floating beauty or stitch up all three for a summery triptych - each kit comes with a range of five hair tones (silver, blonde, red, light brown, and black) and three skins tones (light, medium, and dark) to personalize your hoop art.
This year I signed up for a farmshare (or Community Supported Agriculture) from Crystal Spring Farm, which means I get a box of farm fresh goodies once a week, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It's definitely upped my family's veggie intake and introduced us to some new flavors, as I've vowed to try everything that comes in the box, whether I recognize it or not.
My first new-to-me veggie was kohlrabi - an unusual-looking member of the broccoli family. There are a number of ways to try it ( I'll be trying roasted as fries with a future batch), but so far my family is loving this Kohlrabi, Apple and Walnut slaw, which is a sweet and crisp companion to your summer meals and is a great pairing with pork of all kinds.
Kohlrabi, Apple, and Walnut Slaw
serves 8 (can be easily halved)
2 Kohrabi, greens removed
2 firm apples (here I used a Gala and a Golden Delicious)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 bunch (6-8) red spring onions/scallions (you can use green scallion, the red just adds an additional punch of color)
1/2 cup sunflower or walnut oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
Chop unpeeled kohlrabi and apples into matchsticks. With the apple, it helps to cut thin slices from the outside of the apple to the center, using the core as a handle. Finely mince scallions.
Set aside a small amount of walnuts and scallions. Combine remaining kohlrabi, apples, walnuts, scallions and fluids in a large mixing bowl and toss to coat. Put in fridge and let rest to deepen flavors. Sprinkle reserved nut and scallions on top before serving cold.
Adapted from Vicky at Things I Made Today on Food 52.
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