What can possibly cheer one up on a drab German day in the dead of winter along a Kaiserslautern road named, drearily, Mill Street?
Two words: Strawberry buttercream.
To my delight, these words were uttered in a cafe hidden in plain sight from the K in Lautern mall downtown.
While considering dessert choices there recently, the woman at the cafe’s bakery counter said the pink frosting on the layered-white cake was strawberry buttercream — and not the icky whipped variety.
A chance to eat strawberry buttercream icing without the mess from pulverizing strawberries in a food processor and beating sticks of butter in clouds of powdered sugar is a rare treat in these parts, where streusel, cheesecake and fruity tarts dominate the bakery scene.
Something — anything — sweet is reason enough to visit the second Cafe Krummel location in Kaiserslautern.
Martin Krummel and his wife, Elisabeth, recently took over the former Cafe Fegert. Krummel is a third-generation German master pastry chef. His family has run the other Cafe Krummel — located across town on Gas Street — since 1926.
The new Cafe Krummel still has all the trappings of the old place: the name Fegert remains in pink letters on the outdoor sign as well as on the cafe’s white dishes.
But the food and the bakery are very much Krummel. The cafe has a limited menu with mostly breakfast items that can be ordered all day. There is also a daily lunch special.
On the day I visited, I had the crepe and soup of the day. The soup was the kind that sticks to your ribs, a hearty barley with a clear broth that your grandmother would be pleased to see you eat. The crepe came warm with pieces of sausage that looked like hot dog bites in a spicy, brown sauce. A small salad of what looked like butter lettuce with pieces of apple, cucumber and bell pepper in a frothy yogurt dressing was a nice complement to the crepe.
I had just enough room for dessert — the real star of any Cafe Krummel experience.
There were numerous varieties of cakes and pastries to choose from, including chocolate and vanilla eclairs, and slices of cake filled with chocolate mousse, cream and cheese — a similar lineup of treats, croissants, rolls and bread as that found at the other Cafe Krummel.
Though just down the street from the mall, the cafe, with its rather formal dining room accentuated by dark red tablecloths and a chandelier, felt worlds away. Where the mall is bustling and overrun by teens let out early from school in the afternoon, the cafe was so quiet I might have been able to hear the antique clocks ticking, if they were working.
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Location: Muehlstrasse 11, 67659 KaiserslauternHours: Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, closed.Dress: CasualPrices: Most items, including sandwiches, cost under 5 euros; crepe of the day, sweet or savory, is 6 euros; breakfast for two is 24 euros, or 32.50 euros with champagne.Specialties: Croissants, breads, rolls, homemade chocolate, cake, and pieInformation: Online: cafekrummel.de; phone: (49) (0) 631 92492; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org