Cake Decorating at Sweet Sessions with Cakes by Cliff and Lime Tree Bower

I lost the motivation to bake.

There, I said it.

I haven’t really made any cakes or cupcakes in a while. Maybe it’s the lack of motivation, procrastination, moving to a smaller apartment (and hence a smaller kitchen), or all of the above. I felt uninspired, and no energy to exert any effort in baking.

Until last month, when Mr J gave me a birthday present in the form of a cake decorating class: Sweet Sessions with Cakes by Cliff and Lime Tree Bower. I knew I was going to enjoy the class, but I didn’t realise how much I was going to love it. Cliff and Helen were so knowledgeable in all things cake and florals – from the technical, to the artistic, to giving us creative freedom to just do whatever we wanted with the decoration. We covered the basics: how to make your own swiss meringue buttercream, the right temperature, the right tools to use, cutting, layering, and assembling. Wiring florals, choosing which ones are appropriate for cake decorating, taping, and then decorating. I had so much fun that it made me super excited to getting my hands dirty again with flour, butter, and buttercream! Thank you so much Cliff and Helen for your patience, generosity, and energy! Really enjoyed the class, and am looking forward to attending more!


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Sampling Muma’s Dessert & Schnapps Menu @ Essen Restaurant, Sydney

DISCLAIMER: Trish dined as guest at the PR table at Essen Restaurant during the sampling of the dessert & schnapps menu at Essen Restaurant. Thanks to Krissie from Wasamedia and Essen Restaurant for the kind hospitality.

Desserts. Schnapps. Desserts and schnapps.

I must say, I’m not one to shy away from the promise of dinner of desserts and schnapps! Huge thanks to Krissie from Wasamedia for inviting me to be part of the foodbloggers and PR table for a tasting night of Muma from Essen Restaurant’s sample desserts. It was also a fantastic night  of catching up with some foodblogger friends, as I’ve been away from the foodblogging circuit and needed to update myself on what has been happening. I also met some new foodblogger friends which is always, ALWAYS a plus in this ever expanding, creative space!


Essen Restaurant offers a mix of  European influenced dishes including German, Austrian and Dutch. As soon as you walk inside Essen Restaurant, you’re immediately greeted by a warm, cozy feeling thanks to the dimmed yellow lighting, dark timber furnishings and of course, the promise of both cold and warm desserts and schnapps! Our table is at the back, close to what looked like a tree outside the glass windows and walls, and right in the middle of the restaurant. The chairs also seemed to be handpainted, with odd-looking dolls hanging from the ceiling and preserves on the benchtop (forgive my European ignorancy!).

The hanging doll
The golden tree
Colourfully painted chairs

While waiting for the “dessert table” to be set up behind us, we were presented with freshly baked warm Brezel (pretzel) and butter.

To prepare our palates for a sugar-filled feast, we first had some savouries in the form of delicious feta and speck nibbles.

The first dessert was the lemon tart with sour cream, paired with the honey schnapps “barenjager” which was 35% alcohol.

Yes, 35%.

And this was the weakest of the schnapps that we drank that night. It was going to be a wonderful night indeed.

Next up was the buttermilk “hang op” with caramel sauce, almonds and pistachio. Owner Geert explained that the buttermilk was made the same way cheeses are made: the milk was passed through a cloth and left to curdle to form the lovely, smooth buttermilk that complements very well with the sweet, nutty caramel sauce.

Caramel sauce with almonds and pistachios

The buttermilk was paired with a much more potent forrest berry schnapps. Yes, it’s slowly getting stronger.

Next up was the rum baba, a lethal pot of sponge cake, grapes and raisins that have spent their time soaking in rum. No schnapps to be paired with this one though, it had enough alcohol to definitely put me and the rest of the table over the alcohol limit. No complaints though, just sheer sugar and schnapps happiness.

The iced apple soup with crepe fritters was definitely the strange looking with a strange texture dish of the night. It was a cross between sour apple juice jelly and cider, but with julienned crepe pieces “suspended” in the soup.

The apple soup was paired with an absolutely delightful Goldwasser schnapps. And yes, those are real gold leaf pieces in the schnapps.

A closer look, perhaps?

I was eyeing this next dessert from the moment the plate touched our table. The chocolate crepe tart with vanilla sauce looked like a thousand layer chocolate crepe with some sort of creamy uber sauce… double, tripe, quadruple yum! This was served with the sour apple schnapps.

Second to the last dish was the blood orange jelly with double cream, with blood orange segment and Campari. Yes, more alcohol, yes more cream, and yes it was delicioso! It was a refreshing, citrusy “shot” with real blood orange pieces… and one last serving of alcohol in the form of Campari.

Last but definitely not least, an almost jam donut called Buchteln, complemented perfectedly with a light, creamy vanilla sauce.

We were also given “take-aways” – compact sized schnapps bottles. You know, for moments when we feel like having schnapps on the go. Break glass in case of emergency.

Much much thanks to Muma and Geert of Essen Restaurant for the wonderful hospitality, desserts and schnapps and for Krissie of Wasamedia for the invitation.

The dessert table


It was indeed a wonderful sampling of Muma’s creativity and talent, and it would be interesting to see what the next Essen dessert menu will be. My top picks would definitely be the crepes and Rum Baba, with a side of the buttermilk with vanilla sauce. And of course, more schnapps!

Essen Restaurant

133-135 Broadway Ultimo NSW

Phone: 02 92113805

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