Tag Archives: birthday cupcakes

Flour in Germany, Type 405. What the hell?

30 Mar

So you walk into a German grocery store and you’re thinking, I’m gonna bake me a sexy cake, just like the ones I had in Canada. You have the recipe in hand and you stride confidently into the baking goods aisle. And you are confronted with this!

You take a little hesitant step forward and you’re completely  dumbfounded!

Not only do they NOT have cake flour but all of the bags of flour have bizarre type numbers: Type 1150, Type 1050, Type 550, Type 405.

As I prepared for my exam and read through loads of Konditor books, I found the answer! It’s completeley lame and I’m sure you will fall asleep half-way through, but at least the answer will be at the grasp of all expats, just a google search away and they won’t be left to wonder, standing in the ‘Mehl’ (flour) aisle looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

What does the Mehltype (flour type) mean?
The flour type number represents how many grams of minerals there are in 100kg of (water-free) flour. It is described in Konditor books in the following way:  If you were to burn 100kg of Type 405 flour, you would have 405 grams of ash remains. Since minerals are the only component of flour which cannot be completely burned, your minerals would therefore be the ash remains. And if you burned 100kg of 550 Type Mehl, you would have 550 grams of ash remains/minerals and so on and so forth for the other types.

Things to know:

  • Essentially the higher the flour type number the more minerals you are have in your flour.
  • Flours with a high flour type (1150, 1050) will always be darker (more wholewheat) as they contain more of the husks from the grains and will always be higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Flours with a low flour type (405) will be whiter if not completely white, will contain a teeny portion of husks and will be poor in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Type 405 is finest ground flour you will find in Germany. It has the highest starch content which makes it ideal for the baking of cupcakes and cakes where you want a finer crumb.

The most commonly used flour type in Konditoreis (confectionary and baked goods shops) in Germany (often cited in many of my books) is Type 550 which has a high protein content and as you will read, is mostly appropriate for breads. I would say that this is exactly the reason why Germany cakes are more like pound or coffee cakes with a denser crumb and a more compact texture.

Here is a little excerpt I found online that echoes this difference between 405 (starch-rich) and 550 (protein-rich) type flours a bit more:

“Flour contains starch. Different types of flour contain different amounts of starch. The starch content of the flour depends upon what type of wheat made that flour. Hard wheat contains high levels of protein, making its flour excellent for breads, while soft wheat contains high levels of starch, making better flour for cakes. Soft wheat makes cake flour, having a very high starch to gluten ratio, which bakes into a fine, crumbly cake texture. The interplay between protein, starch, sugars and other added ingredients helps determine the final texture and taste of the baked product.” Source

So now you have been introduced to the world of flour in Germany.

If you are still with me, as I was googling around about flour in Germany, I came across the Rosenmehl website. Rosenmehl is a flour brandname and as I looked at their website, I stumbled upon some recipes that they advertise alongside their flour selection. And low and behold, gosh darnit I think those Germans are comin’ around. To CUPCAKES.

On a final note: Cake flour. Nope, there is none to be found in Germany. Here is a fabulous post from i am baker that you can use to make your own. Corn starch in Germany. Check. All purpose flour. Check.

Here is a cupcake recipe I found. They’re German cupcakes so no promises, but have a little gander for yourself.

German’s version of Carrot Cupcakes

Now you didn’t think I’d leave cupcake picture-less did you? Here are some cupcakes that I made for friend of mine’s birthday.

Citrusy lemon, poppy seed cupcakes with blueberry buttercream.

Vanilla cupcakes filled with fresh full raspberries and topped with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.

Strawberry and Mango Cupcakes for Mr. Cupcake’s Mom

12 Oct

Last weekend I had the pleasure of baking cupcakes for Mr. Cupcake’s mom’s 60th birthday. It was a perfect October day, full of sunshine, a cool breeze and beautifully coloured trees. There were over 60 guests so we were surrounded by the fun and tradition of close family and friends.

Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream (in the front) and mango buttercream (in the back) pre-decoration.

I decided that strawberry and mango cupcakes would be on the menu for dessert. Strawberry is a big fruit favourite and I felt mango was a nice slightly exotic complement. I went with fruit cupcakes as I thought they presented a nice colour scheme and would be familiar to all the generations present at the party.

Mango cupcakes with flower accents.


For the strawberry cupcakes, I used strawberry fruit puree in the vanilla cupcake batter and then enhanced the true strawberry flavour with a strawberry buttercream that had chunks of strawberry rather than just the puree. I then stayed with the strawberry cupcake batter and added a naturally coloured mango buttercream on top.

Strawberry and mango cupcakes with full fondant decor. Oops, I went a little crazy with the lemon yellow food colouring paste. Remember: coloured fondant dries a shade or two darker. Of course, I had been told that already, time and time again.

The strawberry cupcakes were a definite hit whereas the mango ones still left something to be desired. The mango flavour was not as intense as I would have liked it. The cool thing about this whole experience was that the restaurant owner/master chef loved my cupcakes and even gave me loads of contacts where I can purchase supplies in Germany. He even brought out the fruit puree which he uses, providing me with the brand name and where I can get it so that I can achieve a more intense mango flavour in future batches. Did I ever tell you that I love Germans? So awesome. I love it when people share their information. And it inspires me to do the same. There is just something so organic about people exchanging information and something so sad about people desperately holding onto their recipes and knowledge.

So as I find out cute little tricks, I promise to share. Like with the edible paper and with the ribbon rose making. If you feel like a little cupcake challenge, let me share this great link with you for fondant figures. Have fun crafting fondant into little 3D creations for your cuppies!

Cupcakes for a friend and A Red Ribbon Rose tutorial

30 Aug

Last Monday I had the pleasure of baking some cupcakes for one of my best friends in Frankfurt. We met each other in our Beginners German class and didn’t exactly hit it off. But after bad first impressions and one tram ride later, we actually found out that we could be ‘bestie’ material after all. So here we are, nearly 12 months after the fact and we are in fact besties. She celebrated her birthday this week and I made her some chocolate cupcakes to bring to work and share with her colleagues. This leads me to one definitely bizarre tradition I’ve found in Germany.

On your birthday, in Germany, YOU have to bring the cake. On your own birthday, YOU have to either buy or bake a cake and bring it in to share with your colleagues. All is good in when it comes to cake, but shouldn’t your friends and colleagues be THE ONES surprising YOU with the cake? I ask. Anyway, a little bit of cultural differences aside, cakes and cupcakes are always a good idea-well, that is if you want people thinking it’s your birthday.

For her birthday, I made her favourite –my Belgian chocolate cupcakes and decorated them simply with some cute ribbon roses. I have wanted to make these roses for a while and after a few tries, I finally got the right thickness and shape.

And since I like to keep things fresh, I thought I would post a quick ribbon rose tutorial in this blog post for those captivated by these cute little guys.

Note: Make these at least three days in advance so the fondant has time to harden.

Check out the captions underneath each picture for further instructions.

To make a red ribbon rose you will need:

a pinch of fondant about the size of a large blueberry
a pinch of gum tragacanth
red food colouring
ruler (if you are a perfectionist)
a square (8cmx8cm) cut out of a plastic sandwich baggie (if your hands are warm, the fondant can stick to you)

Step 1:

Pinch off some white fondant and treat it with some strengthening powder by kneading gum tragacanth into the fondant. This will ensure that your rose hardens and keeps its shape. CMC powder is a synthetic version of gum tragacanth and will also do the trick. The size of the fondant you pinched off determines how much gum tragacanth you will use. The rule of thumb is 1 tsp per 250g of fondant, so it’s really just a pinch for small amounts of fondant like the one we are using here.

Step 2:

Next add the food colouring paste. Red is notorious for having a bittery taste, so use it wisely and just for small fondant decorations. i.e. cute ribbon roses

Step 3:

Knead red food colouring paste into the fondant. When kneading, I don't use latex gloves and so I do get red food colouring all over my fingers. A good hint here is, work with light colours, like pink and white FIRST, so as not to mark lighter colours with your red finger tips. Washing yours hands often helps, but not fully, especially when using white fondant which is very easy to stain. So if you are making pink and red ribbon roses, make your pink ones first.

Step 4:

Once a smooth colour appears, pinch off a small bit red fondant, about the size of a blueberry.

Step 5:

Roll a thin sausage in between your palms that will measure about 4cm. It can be a little pointy on the ends.

Step 6:

Take a square you have cut out from a plastic bag and flatten the sausage. I use the square piece of plastic baggie to keep the fondant from sticking to my finger during flattening, however you don’t NEED a square piece of baggie. Make sure that the width is only about 1cm if you want your rose to be short, cute and stubby like mine...if you want a taller rose, ignore the 1cm rule.

Step 7:

Ok, getting close now. Roll the flatten sausage, ensuring that from that very first rolling motion you create a tight roll as this will create the centre of your rose. What is also cute is if you don’t roll in a perfectly straight motion, but instead a little unevenly across the edges as this gives the rose a bit more dimension.

Step 8:

And there you have it! One ribbon rose.

I hope you enjoyed my 8-step tutorial on making your very own fondant red ribbon rose.

Have fun!