Uhlen and Apen

Sandteiggebäck "Eule und Meerkatze"© Braunschweig Stadtmarketing GmbH

Uhlen and Apen – Thankfully, no real-life guenons or owls are hurt in making another culinary speciality of Braunschweig: Uhlen and Apen are sweet cakes. They have their origin in an amusing tale about Till Eulenspiegel in which he played a master baker for a fool.

Till Eulenspiegel was a rascal who, as you know, played his tricks in and around Braunschweig. In Braunschweig, he left behind a culinary legacy: He baked guenons and owls in order to put one over on Lipke, the master baker. Today, the Sander Bakery continues to offer sweet cakes in the shape of guenons and owls.

Story 61 about guenons and owls relates how Eulenspiegel was taken on as a journeyman baker by a bread maker in Braunschweig and how he baked owls and guenons.

When Eulenspiegel returned to the bakers’ lodging house, a baker lived nearby. He called him into his house and asked him what kind of journeyman he was. Eulenspiegel said, “I’m a journeyman baker”. The bread maker said, “I don’t have a journeyman baker at the moment. Do you want to serve me?” Eulenspiegel answered, “Yes.”

One evening, after he had been with him for two days, the baker told Eulenspiegel to bake, and that he could not help him until the following morning. Eulenspiegel asked, “What should I bake?” The baker was a quick-tempered man. He became angry and said with spite, “You are a journeyman baker and have to ask what to bake? What do you usually bake? Owls or guenons!” And with that, he went to bed.

So Eulenspiegel went into the bakery and made nothing of the dough but owls and guenons, the whole bakery full, and baked them.

In the morning, the master got up and went to help him. But when he entered the bakery, he found neither rolls nor buns, but lots and lots of owls and guenons. The master became angry and said, “Have you gone mad?! What have you baked?” Eulenspiegel replied, “What you told me to bake, owls and guenons.” The baker said, “What shall I do with this foolish stuff? I have no use for such kinds of bread. I cannot turn this into money.” And he caught Eulenspiegel by his neck and demanded, “Pay me for my dough!” Eulenspiegel said, “Well, if I pay you for your dough, will the goods be mine that were made from it?” “What do I care for such goods? I have no use for owls and guenons in my shop!”

So Eulenspiegel paid the baker for his dough, put all the owls and guenons he had made in a basket and carried them to his lodging house, The Wild Man. Eulenspiegel thought to himself: You have often heard that there is nothing so strange that you could not make money off it in Braunschweig. It was the day before St. Nicholas Day, so Eulenspiegel took up a position with his goods in front of the church. He sold all of the owls and guenons and made a lot more money from them than he had given the master baker for his dough.

When the master baker came to learn of this, he was very irritated and ran to the St. Nicholas Church to also charge Eulenspiegel for the wood and the baking. But Eulenspiegel had just disappeared with his money and the baker was left empty-handed.


Hermann Bote, Till Eulenspiegel, chapter 62, accessed via, 13 December 2011.

Explanations and hints

Picture credits

  • Braunschweig Stadtmarketing GmbH