Monday Dreaming/Wanderfood Wednesday: Viennese Cakes

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Two years ago, we were celebrating Christmas in Germany and Austria.  While we were in Vienna, Austria, we ate the oh so famous cakes everywhere we went.  Cafe Demel was one of our favorite places to visit and was worth the wait that we had to make our purchases. 

This past weekend, we had a little bonus visit with my sister, niece, and nephew.  We knew they were coming in town for a wedding so my mom planned our big Thanksgiving dinner for the day we were spending together.  After we were finished stuffing ourselves with turkey, sweet potatoes, and all that other Thanksgiving goodness, it was time for dessert.  My sister surprised me with my very own Esterhazytorte! 

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When I took that first bite, I was quickly transported back to that small restaurant whose name I can’t remember now where my husband and I sat in a dark corner indulging in cakes and wines.  We had left the kids with my dad and stepmom and enjoyed a few hours out on our own.  After trying several slices of cake, we decided that our favorite was Esterhazytorte.

My sister has been perfecting her baking skills.  I think that she has a very bright future of cake and pastry making!  What do you think?

Here is my Esterhazytorte from Vienna:

Esterhazytorte is the black and white cake.

Esterhazytorte is the black and white cake.

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Here is the Esterhazytorte that Marissa made for me:

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Pretty darn close, don’t you think?  And it was delicious!  She did a beautiful job replicating a cake that she has never even tasted.

I am dreaming of that trip to Vienna two years ago.  I am dreaming of other moments like this…moments where we can relive trips that we take and the impact that they made on us…impacts as minor as Viennese cakes and as major as a sister who saved an email with a link to a recipe that you jokingly sent her asking if she could ever make one and that same sister that spent all day (and it actually took all day long) trying to replicate that Viennese cake that you loved so much on a trip that occurred two years ago. 

Stop by Mother of All Tripsto see what everyone else is dreaming about today during Mondays are for Dreaming.  Mara is dreaming about one of my favorite places-the Biltmore Estate!  Also, please visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

If you have a moment, stop by our craft blog, Threaded Together, where Marissashares many of her cake decorating strategies.  She also shares them on her Facebook Page, Decorated Decadance.

5 Vienna Sights to See with your Kids

While in Vienna, we saw many of the touristy sights and many off the beaten path sights. These are our top 5 favorite places to take your kids while in Vienna, Austria!

1. The Tiergarten Schonbrunn — Vienna Zoo — This zoo is considered one of the oldest zoos in the world. It is on the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace, which was built between 1695 and 1713. Much effort was made to keep many of the original buildings so the zoo has an old, fancy feel to it. The kids checked out the animals that were held in buildings that have been around for hundreds of years.

2. The Hofburg Palace — The Hofburg is a beautiful complex that housed many emperors and is now home to offices, tourist stops and the Lipizzaner Horses. We chose to avoid the tourist stops, like the museums, because the kids were getting rowdy. Instead, we wandered through the square and let the kids run around, chase each other, and laugh until they had tears in their eyes!

3. Spanische Reitschule — The Spanish Riding School — When we decided to go to Vienna, I couldn’t wait to see these amazing horses. It is hard to believe that these stark white horses are born with dark hair. We knew that our kids would never make it through a full performance of the Lipizzaner Stallions. The morning exercises are held from 10am-12pm several mornings a week. Tickets are only 12 euro and go on sale at 9:30, according to the office. That being said, we were able to purchase our tickets around 9:15 and then we headed back to Hofburg square to kill some time. Even though the practice is two hours long, we only stayed for about 30 minutes. There were only four or five horses that were working out at the time. They do not do the entire performance…this is just a workout! It was just the right amount of time and the kids had a great time watching the horses practice their dancing. It was noisy so it was okay for the kids to talk out and be excited about the “horseys”! You can also walk across the street and see the horses in their stables. There is a glass window so the kids can see them. If you time it right, you can watch the horses walk across the street to their practice!

4. Cafe Demel — Although I don’t recommend actually taking the children into the cafe unless they are able to keep their hands to themselves, I don’t think anyone should miss this place! It is full of amazing treats and makes for a perfect place to take a break! There is a very small seating area in the back. We chose to just pick up some Sachertortes (a wonderful chocolate cake covered with apricot jam and then covered in a rich chocolate) and a few chocolate bars for the road.

5. The S-Bahn — Even if you live in a big city with public transportation, the underground train never gets boring! We could have ridden it all day long with both our kids. They loved navigating around and looking for the right color train!

Photo Friday! Viennese cakes…yum!

One of my favorite parts about this trip so far is the plethora of bakeries! There is one on every corner and sometimes there are two or three right next to each other. In Vienna, we stopped at the world famous Cafe Demel to try the Sachertorte. We have tried four different cakes so far and my favorite is Esterhazytorte. They are not just cakes…they are works of art!

Mozartorte

Esterhazytorte

Visit other Photo Friday participants at Delicious Baby!

Vienna in Pictures

Because my laptop battery was about to die, I wasn’t able to post pictures with my blog post the other day. Here are some of the places and things that I described!

The Hundertwasser House
The Lipazzaner Horses on their way to their morning exercise…they were beautiful!

Yumm! Huge pretzels EVERYWHERE!

The family in the Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace–the palace of the Austrian and Hungarian emperors

Stephansdom

The nativity in Stephansdom

Looking up at Stephansdom

The view from the Schloss Shonnbrun Tiergarten (the zoo!)

Watching the performing polar bear

Days 3 and 4–Vienna

On Sunday morning, we got up and hit the road towards Vienna. A lot of the traveling is on backroads through beautiful little towns. The drive was about 4.5 hours. The kids slept well. We stopped twice for bathroom trips. I am constantly surprised at how clean the restrooms are here. I have yet to encounter one that I refuse to go into! When we arrived in Vienna, we went straight to the Schloss Shonbrunn. The castle has a zoo that is considered the oldest in the world. The castle was built in 1569. The kids really enjoyed the zoo. It was a nice way to relax. We have tried to create an itinerary with items that the kids will enjoy. After the zoo, we checked into our hotel and got ready to go back out. We ate at a great little pub/restaurant that had all of 7 tables in it. I tried Goulash for the first time…it was very tasty! Sera loved it and left all of her own dinner behind! After dinner, we walked around a little Christmas Market.

Today, when we woke up, we caught the UBahn to Stephansdom. We wandered around the inside of it for a few minutes and then walked down the Graben. The original foundations of Stephansdom dates back to 1147. This was fascinating to me because I recently finished reading Pillars of the Earth and it reminded me of that book. I could just imagine everyone milling around and building this church up.

We walked down the Graben and checked out some great little stores and cafes. I found the famous Demel Cafe, known for their amazing tortes. I bought each of the kids a chocolate bar and then we sampled three of the famous cakes: Senegaltorte, Esterhazytorte (almond sponge layered with cream, and Sachertorte (chocolate cake covered with apricot jam and chocolate). YUM!

We saw the Hofburg Palace next. This was a great place for the kids to run around in. They had a large square that people were running around and shouting in. The kids were able to expel some energy before it was time to head out. We hit another Christmas market, where we found these fantastic delicious pretzels. We are now back in the hotel taking a little rest before dinner tonight!

The laptop battery is about to die, so I will post pictures later!