The serious business of afternoon coffee

Coffee time in Germany is serious: you have to have cake. We met an old friend for coffee. As we reminisced about the Christmas we’d spent in the family home more than a decade ago, his mother brought out the cakes she has baked specially for the afternoon.

Rita outdoes herself each time. This time it was a cheesecake with mandarins.Cakes She makes the topping with quark and whipped cream. Quark, if you are wondering, is a German sour cream, somewhere between the consistency of Indian chhena and French fromage blanc. When used for a cheesecake, it sets fast into a creamy and firm layer. The bottom is a regular layer of cake. The whole thing looked wonderful before she sliced it, but was even more interesting sliced. The Family exclaimed over the even distribution of mandarin through the cream. We each took seconds, and resolved to go on a long walk later.

One cake is usually not enough for a good coffee. Rita had also baked a raisin tea cake. I’m always pleasantly surprised by cakes where the raisins are uniformly distributed through the volume. My technically competence is not good enough for that. In any case, Rita’s raisin cake is my special favourite. The Family was astounded to see me take a second helping of that also. We did have a long walk in the cold after that. I hope that was enough to burn the calories.

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