My First Guest Blogger: Lina a.k.a. Sourkraut of the Langes Fädchen, Faules Mädchen blog

I am excited to announce that I am now going to have guest blogger features from time to time by crafty friends and bloggers I admire! I was drawn to Lina a.k.a. Sourkraut of the Langes Fädchen, Faules Mädchen blog for both her wit and innovative projects (check this one out – amazing!) along with her droolworthy recipes on her blog! Lina also does the 365/Photo a Day project and I admire her photographic eye (this one is my favorite). So without further ado, I present to you my new blogger friend Lina and her Glühwein Chocolate Cupcakes with Lebkuchen hearts!

I only recently discovered The Swell Life but I remember that I was immediately drawn in by Alexa’s funky style and gorgeous photography. On top of that she comes up with some great projects and shares my avid love for Halloween. Her blog is everything I aspire for mine to one day be, even if I have a bit of a way to go before I get there. That’s why I was happily surprised when she asked me to do a guest post. That and because I am, admittedly, a little weird. My own blog is a bizarre mix of sewing and crafting projects, experimental cupcake recipes, and my attempts at creating beautiful photographs as I chronicle my year-long project to take a photo every day. It’s nice to find a blog friend out there whose interests are as varied as my own.

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources including my German heritage, inexplicable love of English food and culture, and hundreds of other brilliant bloggers out there who share their projects and ideas. While I initially started my blog thinking I’d simply copy others’ work and give them credit to help pass those great ideas along, I’ve found that the process of blogging has been a great way to get my creative juices flowing as well. With the encouragement of other bloggers I’m gradually coming into my own and have developed my own voice, my own style, and my own sense of what makes a good recipe or a good craft. It’s been a wonderful process and now that I have this guest post opportunity I’m happier than ever to be part of the blogging community.

I’ll admit that, like Alexa, I found myself in a bit of a slump after the excitement of the Halloween season was over. I wasn’t ready to let go of the spooky and kooky projects I had bookmarked and in the works. I certainly wasn’t ready for the Christmas displays to go up in the stores and Christmas music to start blasting the very day after Halloween but there they were. It wasn’t until Alexa made her guest post offer and the wheels started churning in my head that I started to get excited about the advent of the Christmas season. Christmas is probably the time of year I’m most in touch with my German heritage as my mother made sure to include a lot of German holiday traditions as I grew up. I’ve chosen to keep most of those traditions now that I’m an adult and live on my own, especially the ones involving food. Christmas wouldn’t be complete for me without a marzipan pig for good luck in the upcoming year, citrus-y Lebkuchen cookies, and Gebrannte Mandeln (toasted sugar almonds) threatening to shatter my teeth. What better way to share one of those traditions than by putting a modern twist on it to entice you non-Germans out there to give it a try? After much deliberation I finally settled on something I figured would have universal appeal: cupcakes and booze.

Glühwein is a hot mulled wine, perfect for warming the bones during the chilly Christmas season and even better for helping to cope with the stress of the season and visits with the family. I whipped up my first batch last week and found it to be remarkably easy but I know in the past I’ve seen it sold in stores this time of year, so if you can’t wait an hour to start drinking you have that option. The recipe I chose infuses a lot of orange flavor into the red wine with the usual mulling spices and generous amounts of sugar. It is, as you can imagine, delicious on its own but even better in a cupcake. I began with a rich chocolate cake, stewed a variety of frozen berries in some Glühwein and mixed with chocolate for the filling, and topped the cupcake with a Glühwein chocolate ganache. Decadent? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely!

In an effort to impress you all I garnished the cupcakes with some traditional Lebkuchen hearts with homemade candied citrus peel, spices, honey, and almonds. Nice, sweet messages like, “Ich liebe dich” (I love you) or Schatzi (darling) are usually written across the middle and I made a few like that, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to pick on my brother so I also made some just for him. “Dummkopf” (stupidhead) and “Dumpfbacke” (dimwit) hearts have been reserved in his name. The best part is you can get as creative and rude as you want with your custom messages depending on what sort of relationship you have with your family members.

I hope you give these a try and enjoy them as much as I did. Thanks to Alexa for letting me take over her blog for a day and introduce my brand of weirdness to a new audience!

Frohe Weihnachten!
Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from Cupcake Project

– 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup butter
– 1 1/2 cups white sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)
– 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 19 cupcake wells with paper liners.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs and extracts.
5. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Be careful to not overfill.
7. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched. Let cool in pan on wire rack for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack.

Stewed Berry Truffle Filling
– 1 1/2 cups berries (I used a mixture of frozen cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
– 1/2 cup Glühwein (recipe can be found on my blog)
– 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
– 1/8 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the berries and Glühwein in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove berries from saucepan with a slotted spoon and pulse for a few seconds in a blender until large pieces are chopped up.
3. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream just until it simmers (in the microwave or in a saucepan) and pour over chocolate. Let sit one minute and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
4. Pour berries into chocolate and stir until combined.
5. Using the cone method, fill each cupcake with chocolate berry filling.

Glühwein Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Cupcake Project

– 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
– 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter
– 1/3 cup Glühwein

1. Place the chocolate, cream, and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 10 seconds and then remove and stir.
3. Repeat step 2 until the chocolate is all melted.
4. Slowly pour in the wine and mix thoroughly.
5. Place in the refrigerator or let sit at room temperature until it hardens enough to pipe or spread.

Thanks Lina for sharing your wonderful cupcake project Lina and for being my first guest blogger here at The Swell Life!!

Until next time Swellions!



  1. says

    Aaaahh you bring back such memories. Spent three wonderful years in Germany with husband and military. I remember the wonderful Gluhwein after the volksmarches and hubby and i still say Ich liebe dich to each other now and then. Thanks!

  2. says

    Thanks again for giving me the guest spot! I’m so glad you count that photo as your favorite because it sure took a lot of takes to get it just right. And by “just right” I mean waiting for the cat to wander through in the middle of the shot to give the photo a little something extra. And thanks to everyone for the kind comments!

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