Mamas Schokoladenkuchen

A dear friend from AR sent us this cake recipe, ‘Mama’ being her dear mother-in-law.

‘Mama’ was a German lady, and her chocolate cake recipe is still a family favorite.

Mamas Schokoladenkuchen


  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup kefir or buttermilk
  • powdered sugar to dust, if desired


Melt the butter in a sauce pan, then add water and cocoa powder.  Stir until smooth and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cardamom and salt.  Add the liquid mixture from the saucepan, the eggs, and the plain kefir or buttermilk.

Blend well; the batter will look glossy.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9×13″ cake pan.  If using a different cake pan, baking time will have to be adjusted.

Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes; the cake is done if an inserted wooden tooth pick or skewer comes out clean.

Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar.



Applesauce Bread

This cake-like bread tastes wonderful with butter!

The same recipe works for Banana Bread: Simply substitute the applesauce for banana (you will need two medium sized ones), and omit the cinnamon from the dry ingredients.

Applesauce Bread


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of apple sauce or mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup  milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired.  If omitting, add 1/4 cup more flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (omit if making banana bread)



Heat oven to 350ºF.  Grease BOTTOM ONLY of a 9×5″ or 8×4″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Beat in eggs; add applesauce (or banana), milk and vanilla.  Blend.

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, nuts if using, salt, baking soda, cinnamon) and mix well.

Add dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredient mixture and stir until just mixed.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 50 – 60 min.  The bread is done if an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

For storage, wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.

IMG_3005 - Edited
The texture and look of all breads is determined by the flour you use. For this bread as for most everything we bake, I used freshly ground wheat flour. If you use all purpose flour, your applesauce bread will look a lot lighter than ours.

Lemon Cake

Here’s an old family favorite.

My mother used to make lemon cake when I was a kid – Zitronenkuchen we called it.  It was (and still is) my brother’s favorite, and it always, always, always turned out, no matter if visitors came or not.  You know how that works: Normally, cakes don’t turn out when visitors come.  This one never disappointed.

Lemon Cake


for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • lemon zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • some lemon juice

for the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice


Heat oven to 325º F.

Mix butter, lemons zest, sugar, eggs, corn starch, flour and baking powder well.  Fill batter into a greased and breaded rectangular 12″ pan.

Bake for 75-90 minutes, until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Take the cake out of the oven, but leave it in the pan.  Poke holes into the cake with the skewer and dribble some lemon juice into it.  Then make the glaze by mixing lemon juice and powdered sugar, and brush it onto the hot cake.

Take the cake out of the form when it is cool.  You can sprinkle powdered sugar on top when it is cool, if you wish, for decorative reasons.




Trench Cake

Trench cake is really, really delicious, and also serves as a wonderful survival food because much like lembas bread, it keeps just about indefinitely without refrigeration.

cooking mixtureRecently, I read Simon Tolkien’s No Man’s Land, and I can just imagine how this cake would have nourished the heart and soul of the soldiers in the trenches.  It’s really, really delicious, and perfect comfort food.

It also serves as a wonderful survival food because much like lembas bread, it keeps just about indefinitely without refrigeration.  We read about it on BioPrepper‘s website.

So here is the Trench Cake recipe:

Trench Cake
The original recipe, promoted by the American Red Cross, comes with a recommendation: “Cake keeps fresh for a long time and can be sent to men at the front.”

1 cup orange juice or rum for soaking raisins
8 ounces raisins (about one package), chopped, soaked in orange juice or rum, and drained before use
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons lard (butter may be substituted today, but lard helped the cake stay fresher.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
4 ounces (about 1 cup) pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour

Put sugar, hot water, lard, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and raisins, nuts, and grated zest in a large pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat (picture above), stirring frequently, then reduce the heat to low and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix flour and baking soda then add to the liquid part.  Stir well.  Take 2 small loaf pans and grease generously – if you skimp here, it will stick to the pan.  Pour your mix in the loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes.  Check with a knife when ready.  If the knife comes out clean when you poke the cake than it is ready to take out of the oven.

And as you can imagine, it’s wonderful still warm and with butter…

with butter

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