Flower Pot Cakes

Happy Spring Equinox!

(5.57pm Central European Time)

I started to celebrate spring early this year, and did a little “potting up” a couple of weeks ago…



Yes, they are edible! 😉

This was such fun to create. I just made some chocolate cupcakes, stuck them in pots, added a little buttercream and covered them with more crumbled cupcake. You need a thick straw in the middle, or little glass tubes like in the photo below (I buy my vanilla beans in them), some fresh flowers, and a guest or two to help you eat them… and admire them in between bites! 😉


I found some vegetarian jelly worms some time ago, saved for the occasion, and the pots were bought last year with this project in mind… I decided to just bake the cupcakes as normal in paper cases and pop them in the pots afterwards.


If, like me, you have given up cake for Lent, this may be a nice idea for Easter…?


I’d like to mention Donna’s meme Seasonal Celebrations here. At Gardens Eye View Donna’s site is full of fabulous photos and snippets of information and folklore about wild flowers and native plants. If you haven’t already visited, do take a look at her site and some of the contributors to her meme this spring.


How are you going to celebrate spring?

Josefi (Seasonal Celebrations)

This coming Tuesday, March 19th, is St Joseph’s Day; for many in Bavaria this means spring has arrived! Therefore I’m tying this post in to Donna’s “Seasonal Celebrations” meme at Gardens Eye View.



Unless you live in one of the larger cities in Bavaria, such as Munich or Nuremberg, or even Regensburg, life is still very closely linked to the land, and the passing of seasons. The Catholic Church also plays a large role in rural Bavaria and thus a date that many of the older generation here in Bavaria remember well is Josefi, St Joseph’s Day, on 19th March. This day, considered to be the end of winter, used to be a holiday in Bavaria (until 1968), and several country proverbs revolve around it….

(I’ve translated them roughly into English here)

Ist’s Joseph klar, gibt’s ein gutes Honigjahr

If St Joseph’s Day is clear, it will be a fruitful year

Wenns erst einmal Josefi ist, so endet auch der Winter gewiss.

Only when Josefi’s passed, is the winter gone at last

The temperature will also often have risen by this date – with rain instead of snow – and, as another saying goes, only the laziest farmers will not be out in the fields!

The first spring flowers wake up around now. First the Liverwort…


Hepatica nobilis (16th March), in the woods nearby

And then the Pasque flowers…


Pulsatilla vulgaris (16th March), on the chalky slopes overlooking our valley

Traditionally the Scillas (Alpine squill/Scilla bifolia) – a protected species – will be flowering in the woods; my German “Oma” used to call them Josefiblümerl (although this name is now often given to Hepaticas as well). They grow wild in Germany, as far north as the Danube and even near the Rhine, and are a pretty sight – although I haven’t seen any for a few years. But I do have the cultivated variety seen commonly in gardens here…

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica (woodland squill), growing in my garden

A few markets or the first festivals of the year take place around St Joseph’s Day. Also, since Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters, in some regions in the south of Bavaria a special bread with raisins in it is baked in honour of those working with wood. A special beer may be brewed in some towns for this date, and beer gardens might  open if the weather permits!

Well, it may not be beer garden weather yet, despite a few very warm days in early March, but I’m certain spring has finally arrived once again – and am grateful for every single bloom it brings!

Golden Crocus

Celebrating Winter in Bavaria (2012)

I’m linking to Donna at Gardens Eye View today, who hosts “Seasonal Celebrations“, a meme where people from all over the world are invited to tell how they celebrate each season, sharing traditions and celebrations in pictures and words.


‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk…

From “A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” by John Donne


As the days get darker and shorter in the weeks leading up to the winter solstice, activity tends to move indoors; the winter baking season begins – mince pies for my British palate and traditional German cookies – filling the house with warm spicy aromas; books that have been piling up on the shelf are picked up and reading becomes a cosy necessity; the remaining flowers are brought indoors to be cosseted; and the fireplace will soon be my favourite place to sit.

Christmas baking

Once the fire is lit – when the central heating can no longer keep the house warm – this Barbara branch will have to be moved to a cooler spot. It is a tradition in Germany to cut branches of fruit or nut trees, or Forsythia, on St Barbara’s Day (4th December) and bring them into the house to flower by Christmas.


We usually have some snow before Christmas, although it doesn’t always hang around. This year surprised us with a sprinkling at the end of October, but the first REAL snow fell just before the beginning of Advent – bang on time for the opening of the Christmas markets. The markets add colour, warmth and aroma to any shopping trip… imagine the smell of spicy roasted almonds, cinnamon crepes, mulled wine and punch, not to mention roasting chestnuts…


Some of you have perhaps heard of the famous Christkindlemarkt in Nuremburg, but a small town may have just one weekend of market stands in Advent, attracting the locals to stock up on baking ingredients, drink some hot punch with friends and neighbours, invest in some woollen socks or just pick out a few new decorations for the tree.


Since November and December are so gloomy and foggy in this central Bavarian region, due to the weather patterns around the River Danube and surrounding waterways, the snow really brightens things up…

Winter Greenery

On 21st December 2012 the solstice will be at midday (Central European Time) and on this day only 7 hours 48 minutes of “sunlight” can be recorded. If you live in the Alps you may be fortunate enough to actually see this sunlight too! When the sun does break through the clouds the landscape here looks simply magical. The woodland covered hills coated in sparkly snow are an uplifting sight.


In winter every single ray of sunshine or hint of colour is relished…


And every single sunshiny moment is a delight…

(This is the Professor, in case you haven’t met him before)


Advent is a very cosy time of year here, and is enjoyed with candlelight and cookies. (Christmas doesn’t really arrive until the tree is brought into the house a few days before Christmas Eve.)

This is our Christmas tree, standing proud in the garden…


With just a few days to go before the solstice, here are some typical sayings for a Bavarian December – roughly translated!

Friert’s am kürzesten Tag im Jahr, ist’s an Weihnachten hell und klar.

Frost on the shortest day of the year, Christmas will be bright and clear.


Ist Sankt Lazarus nackt und bar, gibt es einen linden Februar.

St Lazarus (Dec 17th) without snow and dry, brings a mild February.


Wenn der St. Thomas dunkel war, gibt’s ein schönes neues Jahr.

A dark St Thomas Day (Dec 21st) means a good new year. (!)