Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Happy Birthday BTWT!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Recipe updated, 22 December 2009!

Behind The Water Tower

Coffee cream version of the Babcia walnut cake.
Photo by Peter via Wikipedia Commons

(Click on picture to see original and details of licensing.)

On March 3 2008, one year ago, Behind The Water Tower was born. Today, at about 16.00 hrs. CET we also passed the milestone of 77,777 cumulative daily hits. We would like to offer our best wishes to all whose birthday falls on this day.

It is true that we had a brief gestation period on another blog engine, but when that crashed we restarted from scratch on Our sojourn here has been a very happy experience.

We have posted 356 articles, we have enjoyed reading your 361 comments. As well as writing about railway matters, we occasionally drift off topic. So today, as a mark of appreciation to all our faithful readers, here is a cake recipe the like of which you have never tasted before.

Babcia’s Walnut Cake

Ingredients (cake)

400 grams peeled walnuts
2/3 tea mug (250 ml) sugar
8 fresh eggs
teaspoon of baking power

Chop 16 walnut halves into two. Retain these to decorate the cake. Grind the remaining walnuts so that a smooth walnut flour results. (Grinding small batches in a coffee grinder works best. If using a hand grinder it may be necessary to remove any larger particles larger than 2 mm with a sieve.) Carefully separate the yolks from the whites and then put the yolks into a mixing bowl, and using a mixer, thoroughly mix in the sugar until the sugar and yolk has formed a smooth paste. (Note, if you have been mixing for less than 5 minutes, and the paste is still yellow rather than pale cream – keep mixing!) Add the baking powder. Mix the walnut flour into the egg paste. (The mixture at this stage becomes quite stiff.) Beat the egg whites till very stiff. Very carefully and slowly mix in the egg whites into the yolk-walnut mixture, by hand, until a homogeneous mixture results. Pour the resultant mix into a cake pan lined and put into a pre-heated oven. Preheat an oven to 150° C, bake the cake for ten minutes at 120° C and then for about twenty to thirty minutes at 100°. After some twenty minutes, a wonderful cake aroma will fill the kitchen. Check progress by inserting a wooden stick or knitting needle to check if the inside of the cake is ready. (If no cake adheres to the stick it is ready!) When the cake is baked, cover with a clean dishcloth and leave in oven to cool slowly.

Ingredients (icing)

400 grams peeled almonds
1½  x 8oz packets unsalted Danish butter (375 grams)
½ tea mug (200 ml) icing sugar

Grind the almonds to a smooth flour. Cut the butter into small squares and thoroughly mix in the icing sugar. Finally mix in almond flour and mix till a smooth paste is obtained.

Cut the cake into 2 or three layers. Apply the icing in between the layers and over the top and sides. Decorate the top with the walnut quarters. Put in a cool place or fridge for about 4 hours to allow the icing to set.


We love this cake, but no warranty actual or implied is given. If you bake this cake and eat it, please don’t blame us if you become violently ill or addicted.  It should not be eaten by people allergic to walnuts or almond nuts.


This cake is great for birthdays and Christmas. If you are a weight watcher, bake this cake just before Lent so that you can then put in a period of serious fasting to eat up the calories!

They build steam engines too

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


99.2324-4 in Meinigen Steam Locomotive Works, on 7 January 2009. Photo ©J Rech, Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn Molli GmbH.

(Click to see more photos of 99.2324-4 under construction on the website.)

Meinigen Steam Locomotive Works in the State of Thuringia is well known in British railway circles as the workshop where the British new-build express locomotive Tornado’s welded all-steel boiler was built. What is less well known, is that the Works are just completing its own new build, a 2-8-2T 99.2324-4, for the ‘Molibahn‘ a 900 mm narrow gauge railway which runs from Bad Doberan to Kuhlungsborn in North East Germany.

Like Tornado, 99.2324-4 is being built as close as possible to an existing design, in this case that of the three 1932 built Orenstein & Koppel DRG 99.32 locomotives already running on the railway. The main departures from the original plans have come about in order to adapt the design to modern manufacturing techniques: welded boiler, stretcher bars and reinforcing plates welded to frames and fabricated cylinders. A fabulous set of construction photographs can be viewed on the Moli website. (Most on being clicked will open up expanded in a new window.

The locomotive will make its public debut from 11 to 15 March 2009 at the International Tourism Fair ITB in Berlin. Meanwhile, if you have not visited the fabulous ‘Molibahn’ yet, here is a photograph to wet your appetite.


Train running through the streets of Bad Doberan.
Photo JNR-forever

(Click to see photo in original context.)

Perhaps it might not be a bad idea for the Ffestiniog Railway to arrange the screening of a ‘Mollibahn’ film in Porthmadog. The sight of trains, cars and pedestrians all sharing the same street in Bad Doberan would surely calm local residents upset at the thought of trains running on the Welsh Highland Railway’s ‘Cross Town Link‘?