She is 94 years old, speaks with a delightful old-European accent, has a small apartment on the 7th floor and prays regularly for the health of the elevator.
“I have been baking cakes since my mother first let me knead the dough when I was 8 years old in 1918,” she says.
“I now have 86 years experience behind me and finally I’m getting it right. Yesterday’s cheesecake is just wonderful! Would you like a taste?”
Inside, her apartment was Spartan. A small TV stood on a coffee table in front of two armchairs. Against the wall was a small table with 2 chairs for eating.
“Where are the shelves with all your recipe books?” I ask.
“I have no written recipes; they are all up here,” she said tapping her head. “I have a recipe for Linzertorte that’s been in my family for 400 years. It is the world’s oldest recipe for a cake. I have been carrying it around for 70 years. On Tuesday I baked a classic Austrian cheesecake that has been in existence for over 250 years and I reduced the sugar by 10 grains. It was a great improvement. I must remember to tell my daughter. She is a great baker; not in my class but pretty good.”
She pushed a small slice of cheesecake over to me.
“Have you ever had a taste of heaven?”
I tasted a tiny morsel from my fork, sampled it, rolled my eyes and dug in. It was like nothing I have ever tasted.
“Wonderful! I cried. “Can I get the recipe for my wi…?”
“When can I come back?”
“May would be good. In May I will be baking the Cheesecake again. Yes, I will see you again in May! I will be 95 years old then. Now its time for my rest.” She opened the door and helped me out with a gentle push.
I have date with the 95 year cake maker in May 2015!