Posts Categorized: Cake

Blood Orange, Chiffon and a glass of Campari

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

I was strolling through our local produce market the other day and was delighted to see that the blood oranges had arrived and were in plentiful supply.  A bitter-sweet few weeks of red-orange blush wondrousness that I look forward to each year. If you’ve never tasted blood orange juice you’re in for a treat, it is at once refreshing, sweet and bitter; nature’s original aperitif – part orange, part chinotto, part sunset.

Blood Oranges :: The Scandinavian Baker

I’m an unyielding fan of Campari – in fact I drank so much of it on a summer holiday in Rome that just the scent of it, and blood oranges, instantly transport me back to the heat, bustle and noise of the city.

Now, an orange chiffon cake is a classic, and you know I can’t resist missing with a classic. The addition of the blood oranges and the Campari takes this cake from much loved faded Polaroid memories of afternoon tea on the patio with Grandma, to an equally pleasing afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking the Seven Hills of Rome.

So, squash those fears of sponges, ungreased tins, inverted half-baked eggy disasters waiting to happen; embrace a touch of Roman Holiday and thrust your hand into the waiting mouth that is the Chiffon.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

6 large eggs plus one additional egg white

225 grams plain flour

300 grams of golden caster sugar (reserve 50g for the egg whites)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Zest from two blood oranges – or 1 garden variety orange

125 ml of canola or sunflower oil

200 ml of freshly squeezed blood orange juice (reserve 20 ml for the icing)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 Angel Food cake tin – ungreased and unlined (trust me; you do actually need this type of tin. Preferably one with feet attached to the rim. Although you’ll see in my case I threw caution to the wind and relied on just the spout – rebel)

Edible Flowers :: The Scandinavian Baker

Icing

250 grams of icing sugar

125 grams of melted butter

20 ml of blood orange juice

20 ml of Campari

Blood Oranges :: The Scandinavian Baker

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake

Preheat oven to 170c.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites (plus the extra one) into a large metal mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the sifted flour, 250 grams of the sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest in your stand mixer bowl. Add the wet ingredients, juice, yolks, oil at once and mix on a medium speed until smooth and well combined.

Switch bowls, and beaters, and whisk the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks begin to form. Add the sugar in a steady stream and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Take a couple of large spoonfuls of the meringue and beat it into the cake batter. Don’t worry about folding at this point. This primes the batter to take the rest of the meringue mixture.

Gently combine the remaining egg white mixture in two or three batches. Mix until just combined and the cloud like wisps of white have mixed with the sunset pink of the batter.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Gently pour the batter into an unprepared Angel Food cake tin – I stress, unprepared, No lining, no greasing. Trust me on this; you need the cake to stick. Once the cake is cooked you’ll need to invert it to complete the baking process and a greased tin will mock you as you scrape up your deflated dreams and sponge up from the floor.

Bake for 55 minutes until golden and enormous.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

As soon as you remove the cake (take a deep breath) invert it and rest it upside down until completely cool. Give yourself a moment to bask in your success.

Once cool, run a sharp knife around the edge and the spout and invert the cake on to your serving plate. It may require a slight tap.

Don’t worry too much if you’ve left a little of the crumb behind in the tin. Icing covers all sins.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The icing

Melt the butter and add the sifted icing sugar. Whisk vigorously, or use a hand beater if you’re worried it will split. Add the Campari and enough of the blood orange juice to form a smooth flowing consistency. Gently pour your blush coloured icing over the top of the cake allowing it to run down the sides and middle hole as you see fit, it will set as it cools.  Decorate with edible flowers and pour yourself a Campari over ice with a dash of any remaining juice. Then sit back and think of Audrey Hepburn.

Blood Orange Chiffon Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Original Chiffon Cake recipe from Joy of Baking. 

You had me at Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

One word fills me with joy when it comes to reading a menu or recipe book – dumpling. Sweet, savoury – it doesn’t matter; dumpling is king.

This is a recipe I love, adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas’s ultimate guide to all things Scandinavian and baked.  It’s a cross between a cake and a desert, with a texture not dissimilar to the steamed puddings I loved as a child; and still whip up on a cold night when nothing else but the dense, comforting embrace of a pudding will do.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Originally designed to be baked in a square unassuming cake tin and served in generous chunks, I prefer to lift it the next level and present it as an upside down cake that will definitely impress your afternoon tea guests. But by all means – go where the afternoon takes you.

Swedish apple dumpling cake or Appelkäka

Ingredients for Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

5 medium, tart cooking apples, peeled and halved (I chose Pink Lady, originally an Australian cultivar grown as a cross between a Lady William and a Golden Delicious)
10 walnut halves
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Vanilla wafer crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs – I used Panko crumbs in a pinch.
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup of softened butter
2/3 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of ground almonds
2/3 cup of plain flour
2 of teaspoons lemon juice

Walnuts :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Icing
1/2 cup of icing sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons single cream
1 teaspoon almond extract

Peel and cut apples into halves lengthwise. Cut off the core and stem ends and scoop out the seeds using a melon baller.

In a saucepan, combine the 1/2 of cup sugar, water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the apples. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmering, and cook 8 minutes until the apples are just barely tender. Be careful not to overcook, as some apples will suddenly transform from hard to collapsed in seconds.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter a 20 cm round spring form cake pan and dust it heavily the vanilla wafer crumbs, or breadcrumbs.

Drain the apples and place them with their cut sides down into the cake pan, carefully placing a walnut half underneath each hollow.

Separate the eggs and, with a hand mixer, beat the whites until stiff. Set aside.

In another bowl cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks, ground almonds, flour, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Mixture will be stiff. Blend in the egg whites gently to maintain the lift until well combined.

Spread mixture over the apples in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and mix the icing ingredients. If you following the upside down method, allow the cake to cool slightly and gently release from the cake tin. Place a place over the top of the cake and flip to reveal the apple halves underneath. Drizzle the hot cake with the icing and arrange the lavender flowers.  If not, leave the cake in the square tin and drizzle with the icing – serve straight from the pan.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

This cake is delicious served warm with some thick cream on the side and a piping hot pot of tea.

Enjoy.

Pink Lady Apples :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Taste of Picnics: Coconut and Raspberry Jam (Iced VoVo) Cake

Iced VoVo Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

When you’re travelling abroad the strangest things pop into your mind. A fragrance or flavour sends you right back home on a one way ticket to nostalgia-ville without a moment’s warning.

I’m a big fan of taking home grown treats with me as travel presents; and biscuits from my childhood weigh heavily in my suitcase.

Enter the Iced VoVo. Tooth-achingly sweet pink-fluffy-delight that still stands proud amongst the increasing competition of the biscuit aisle. What better treat to combine into cake!?

Iced Vo Vo :: The Scandinavian Baker

Coconut and Raspberry Jam (Iced VoVo) Cake.

The greatest thing about a French butter cake is its diversity and ability to hold its own against any flavouring you’d care to throw at it. Dense, yellow and buttery it’s a favourite staple for me and always goes down a treat at a picnic.

This version combines punchy raspberry jam, coconut, malted milk and pink in a homage to the much loved but rarely admitted to Iced VoVo – a total stand-out Aussie classic.

The Pantry

225 grams of unsalted butter

350 grams of golden caster sugar

350 grams of plain flour, sifted

1 tablespoon of baking powder

225 ml of milk

2 tablespoons of malted milk powder

4 large eggs

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 a cup of raspberry jam

Shredded coconut

Iced Vo Vo :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 180c.

Grease and line three 20 cm tins. (Definitely take the extra time to line the tins for this one)

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until very pale and light. Reduce the speed of the beater and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. If the mixture looks like it is splitting add a little flour to help bind it back together. Sift together the salt, flour and baking powder and add to the batter alternately with the milk. Once combined add the vanilla and mix well.

Spilt the batter between you cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You may need to adjust the time if you are using on y two cake tins. The cakes are ready when risen and golden and slightly shrinking away from the edges of the tin.

Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes in their tins before removing. In the meantime prepare the icing.

Iced VoVo Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Icing

500 grams of icing mixture (mixture, not pure sugar for this one – trust me)

250 grams of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

Two teaspoons of salt flakes (not a typo – it’s the salt that really brings this together)

2-3 drops of pink food colouring

Place the butter and salt into a mixing bowl and beat on a slow speed until smooth. Gradually add the sifted icing mixture, a quarter at a time until combined. Increase the speed and beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes until very pale and fluffy. Add the food colouring one drop at a time until you have the desired colour. I use food grade gel colours. The result is intense and they won’t water down the mixture too much like liquid food colour can.

Once ready place the first cake layer on to a cake stand, securing with a dab of icing beneath to stop it from slipping. Spread a generous layer of the jam on top of the first cake. Place the next layer on top and repeat. To avoid huge chunks of cake and crumbs coming loose when you ice it, spread a thin layer of icing on the cake and place in the fridge for half an hour to set. This creates a base coat to better take the icing.

Once set slather with the rest of the pink fluffy icing, smoothing the top and sides. Once complete gently coat with the coconut and return to the fridge for half an hour to set.

When you’re ready to take that trip down memory lane and dive in to the nostalgia of an Iced VoVo, take out of the fridge and serve at room temperature. And try to resist more than one slice.

Iced VoVo Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Baker Abroad – Scandinavian Summer

Finnair in Flight :: The Scandinavian Baker
We’re on the road. We’ve packed up the rolling pin and apron and are travelling around Scandinavia soaking in as much of the midnight sun as we can. While there hasn’t been much time for baking there has been plenty of time for tasting the traditional and delicious baked treats that are served up from cafes to kitchen tables right across Finland.
Korvapuusti :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

First stop Helsinki, one of my all-time favourite cities. From the moment you step off the plane, with its accents of Marimekko design, all number of Finnish delights are waiting.

 

Helsinki :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

You cant beat the tastes and smells of the market stalls overloaded with fresh berries, open air grills serving hot smoked salmon and tiny buttery summer potatoes and bakers windows filled with more varieties of bread and pastries than you can count. It’s a vibrant city that celebrates its local flavours, all with a dash of bright Marimekko colour.

 

Marimekko & Unikko :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

This past week marked Midsummer and we celebrated in Oulu (the capital of northern Scandinavia) with a birthday, surprise wedding and of course some delicious baking under the endless light of the midnight sun. One of the things I love most about returning to Finland during the holiday season is the crowded houses filled with family, stories and so much food. All this paired with late evening walks in the forest and foraging for berries and birch leaves for the sauna. We were treated with home-made pulla, karjalan piiraka and the show-stopper, Summer Sitruuna Tortuu.

 

Summer Sitruuna Torttu :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

When it’s time to celebrate in Finland, nothing beats the sponge cake. Often overlooked for something showier, it’s the perfect base to showcase the flavours of summer on a lighter than air cake. This particular version has been making an appearance and family gatherings and my brother-in-law’s birthday for years and holds a special place in the hearts of the family, and now in mine. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity, dressed with creamy lemon icing, praline and foraged summer flowers.

 

The Pantry

3 large eggs

75 grams of caster sugar

3 heaped tablespoons of flour, sifted

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

The rules are simple with a sponge. Treat it kindly and it will reward you. Also resist the urge to open the oven to peek at your creation. The eggs are the raising agent, but if you’re worried you can add a teaspoon of baking powder to help it along.

 

The Icing

150grams of quark or cream cheese

75 grams of icing sugar (or more to taste)

Rind of one lemon 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

 

The Praline

75 grams of caster sugar

35 grams of toasted hazelnuts

 

Summer Sitruuna Tortuu

Preheat the over to 175c. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until very light and fluffy, and considerably larger. The batter should be quite thick.

Gently fold in the sifted flour and baking powder (if using) by hand with a whisk or spatula, trying to keep as much air in as possible. Gently scrape the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin and bake 30-40 minutes. You can safely check at 30 minutes, but not before or the cake will fall. Once cooked and cooled slightly, remove to a rack to cool completely before icing.

 

The Icing

Beat the quark, lemon zest and juice and sugar together until light and creamy.

This cake is meant to be served in layers. Gently slice the cake horizontally into the three layers and spread the icing mixture onto each layer, reserving half for the top and sides.

 

The Praline

Sprinkle the nuts onto a lined baking tray. Gently heat the sugar in a heavy saucepan until it melts and begins to turn a deep golden colour. Avoid stirring too much as crystals will form. Once golden like the midnight sun pour over the nuts and allow to cool. Once cool and hard, shatter the praline and sprinkle over the iced cake.

 

Decorate with foraged edible flowers, we used viola petals, and it’s ready to kick off the celebration.

Happy birthday, happy holidays and Hauska Juhanuusta!

 

Summer flowers :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Baker & Merchant

Poppy Seed Celebration Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

A year or so ago, months of dreaming, planning, talking and tinkering all came together and  a bunch of us set out to make our mark in the big wide world with the help of the interwebs.

It’s been an amazing romp so far, so what better reason to throw a party and celebrate The Scandinavian Baker’s first birthday (hooray) and the anniversary of the local hand-made homewares venture Maker & Merchant. Happy birthday team! It’s The Baker & Merchant mash-up. (Sheer brilliance)

Maker and Merchant

It’s also the 50th anniversary of the iconic and instantly recognisable Finnish design classic, Marimekko’s Unikko – the poppy flower.

In 1964, the story goes that Marimekko designer Maija Isola defied founder Armi Ratia’s decree that never again would Marimekko produce a floral pattern. (That went well) On the back of that red- rag-to-a-bull moment Isola gave life to the design that would forever define the style of the company by painting the famous Unikko pattern in bold pink, red and black on white. The pattern has been in production ever since. What a way to arrive!

Marimekko Unikko Fabric :: The Scandinavian Baker

So it’s been a month of celebrations with even more to come. With a few milestones reached and in honour of the poppy it’s the perfect time to bake a celebration cake that’s close to my heart and pair it with a drink that tastes like it’s your birthday!

So make yourself comfy on your Maker and Merchant cushion and give three cheers to captains of industry!

Poppy Seed Celebration Cake

When I was a child there were no Women’s Weekly birthday cakes in the shape of a glistening pool or furry yellow bear for me. My Mum was never the willing baker; driven more by necessity than desire. And while at times I longed for the brightly-coloured butter-cream-whipped delights that graced my friends’ birthday parties, nothing ever beat the Poppy Seed Cake sitting pride of place at the centre of the table – wide-eyed children waiting patiently for a slice twice the size of anyone’s hand.

Blue Poppy Seeds :: The Scandinavian Baker

I cut my bakers teeth on this cake and it’s been there for every celebration throughout my life. It’s travelled with me and been baked in kitchens far and wide. It’s comfort, fond memory and tradition rolled into one extraordinary looking cake.  Now the blackened tin from my childhood (strictly reserved for this cake only) and the recipe committed to memory lives with me and I couldn’t be happier.

The Pantry

2 cups of raw sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups of canola oil
3 cups plain flour
1½ teaspoons of bi-carbonate of soda
1 can of evaporated milk (375 mls)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Poppy seeds (approx  ¾ cups)
One Angel Food cake tin with the narrow spout in the centre. (This part is essential. The cake won’t work in a regular round cake tin.)

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Celebration Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Into your mixer place the sugar and eggs and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until well combined, lighter and doubled in size. Gradually add the oil in a steady stream and beat until well blended.

Sift the flour and bi-carb soda together. Add to the mixture, alternating with the evaporated milk, (at least four intervals). Folding together gently with a wooden spoon until combined.  Add the vanilla essence and mix in gently.

Add the poppy seeds, and mix well into the mixture until well dispersed.

Poppy Seed Celebration Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Pour into a well greased Angel Food tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45- 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. The cake may burn a little on the top, but this is characteristic of the style of cake.

Allow to cool for about 15- 20 minutes in the tin and then remove.

This cake is spectacular to look at, and best made the day before. Something magical happens when it rests overnight, transforming the texture and flavour from ordinary cake into a rich and surprising delight. It will keep for up to one week, but that’s unlikely. It’s hard to stop at a single piece, so be warned.

Poppy Seed Celebration Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

While you’re patiently waiting for the cake to bake, why not start the party early with this delightful treat; dedicated to the lovely ladies celebrating over at Maker and Merchant.

Pomegranate and Basil Fizz (makes 1 – although that seems mean, so make enough for at least 2)

Pomegranate and Basil Fizz

The Pantry

Half a fresh pomegranate
2 nips of gin or vodka
1 tablespoon of simple syrup (or a teaspoon golden syrup if you’re too lazy to make the simple syrup yourself)
5 purple basil leaves (although green will also work splendidly)
Dash of soda water
Squeeze of lemon
Ice

Pomegranate & Basil Fizz

Cut the pomegranate in half and over a bowl using the end of a wooden spoon beat the skin to remove the seeds. With any luck the ruby jewels will fall into the bowl and not all over the floor.

If you’re making the simple syrup, place equal amounts of sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Voila! Keep it on hand in the fridge for instant cheer.

Place the seeds, ice, basil, gin, lemon juice and syrup into a cocktail shaker (Put on the soundtrack to 80s film classic Cocktail) Shake it like a Polaroid picture and you’re ready. Pour in to a glass of your choice and top with a dash of soda water, a slice of lemon and a couple of extra basil leaves.

Raise a glass and toast your achievements. Because everyone has something to celebrate.

Home Grown Pomegranate :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

Hoist the Flag to Runeberg

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

I have an addiction. An addiction to holiday food. It’s no secret I adore a recipe that’s made year in year out to mark a season, holiday or celebration. I’ll scour the pre-Christmas supermarket shelves for brandy custard as soon as Halloween is over and I’ll eat a hot cross bun on January 1 and feel no shame about it.

Right across Finland in late January and early February delightful pink and white iced cakes begin to appear. Stirring the national spirit and proclaiming winter is almost over! (That last bit I made up for effect, in February in Finland winter is nowhere close to being over, that’s happens in May)

Ingredients for Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

The cakes are actually heralding a lovely national flag day on February 5 celebrating Johan Runeberg, national poet and wordsmith of the Finnish national anthem Maamme.

How lovely to have a cake that celebrates a poet! Nice work Finland.

Made from almonds, eggs, butter and jam, these small cakes make for a delicious companion to a hot cup of tea and rousing discussion of the Fatherland while you watch the sun set… at 1pm.

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

Runebergintorttu

The Pantry

175 grams of plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 eggs

150 grams of golden caster sugar

200 grams of soft unsalted butter

90 grams of ground almonds

125 grams of fine fresh breadcrumbs (these can be made from day old bread)

75 ml of amaretto or other nut based liqueur.

Jam (raspberry or redcurrant)

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a food processor blitz the stale bread until it resembles… well, fine breadcrumbs.

In your mixer beat the eggs and sugar until ribbony, pale and thick. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the mixer and beat the butter until creamy. Add the almond meal and bread crumbs and beat until the mixture is well combined.

Baking :: The Scandinavian Baker

Re-incorporate the eggs and sugar mixture. Once combined gently stir in the flour and baking powder.

Scrape the mixture into a smallish 12 cup muffin pan or dariole moulds if you have them (who seriously has these) and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Test with a skewer if needed. Allow the cakes to rest in their tins until cold.

Once cool, turn the cakes out of their pans and brush liberally with the amaretto. If you don’t have this, rum works brilliantly as well.

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Icing

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 teaspoon of water

Rose food colouring

To make the icing place the icing sugar and water and colour in a small bowl and combine. You’re after quite a stiff icing that will hold its shape and set. If it’s too wet just top up with a few extra teaspoons of icing sugar.

Pipe or dollop the icing onto the tops of the cakes. Gently place a small amount of jam in the centre of the icing and before you can sing the first rousing line of the Finnish national anthem, they’re ready.

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

The only thing left to do is raise your flag, and a glass to the great Johan Runeberg and toast Finland, poetry and the eating of cake!

O our land Finland, our land of birth,
sound, the golden word!
There’s not a valley, not a hill
not a water, a shore more precious
than this northern homeland
the dear land of our fathers!

Runeberg Torte :: The Scandinavian Baker

This recipe is based partly on one from The Food and Cooking of Finland by Anja Hill

Harvest & Celebration

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

I adore cheesecakes. All varieties are delicious, but my true love lies with a continental cheesecake.

It was my birthday this week and cake was definitely in order. Given it’s still hotter than hades at The Scandinavian Baker HQ, I decided to abandon the oven again and adapt a Finnish favourite, the Rahkapiirakka – a baked cheesecake made from quark cheese – and give a tasty twist to a great summer standard.

Quark is big in Scandinavia – it’s a fresh, soft-set cheese that sits somewhere between ricotta, Turkish yoghurt and fromage frais and well and truly in the realm of delicious. It comes in all variety of flavours and is eaten as a snack as much as it is used in cooking.

The addition of the quark makes this cheesecake wonderfully light and cuts through the richness a little. You should begin the recipe the day or at least morning before you need it to allow enough time for it to set.

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

375 grams of cream cheese – softened

250 grams of quark

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

200 grams of digestive biscuits

75 grams of unsalted butter

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

1 heaped teaspoon of ground cardamom

1 pomegranate

Home Grown Pomegranate :: The Scandinavian Baker

Combine the roughly broken biscuits, ground cardamom, half of the lemon zest and softened butter in a food processer. Blitz until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Press the biscuit mixture into a lined 23cm spring form cake tin. Place the tin into the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Filling

This couldn’t be easier. Place the softened cream cheese and quark in to a stand mixer. If you have a beater with a spatula edge, use it to cut down on the times you need to scrape the mixture down from the sides.

Mix on a low speed until well combined. Add the lemon zest and condensed milk. Pour in the lemon juice and beat until creamy and smooth.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, cover with cling film and return to the fridge overnight for at least 6 hours to set.

Digestive Biscuit :: The Scandinavian Baker

Prior to serving cut the pomegranate in half and over a bowl using the end of a wooden spoon beat the skin to remove the seeds. With any luck the ruby jewels will fall into the bowl and not all over the floor.

Sprinkle the seeds on top of the cake and present to your wide-eyed guests, basking in the accolades you’re sure to receive! Enjoy

(If worst come to worst and it’s too hot even for cheesecake this recipe would also make a great base for ice cream with the biscuit base crumbled though – tasty!)

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Spice Route

Finnish Spice Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

When it comes to mouth-watering offerings from the bakeries across Scandinavia, spice often trumps sugar. Subtlety is King and the subjects fall in line to taste gently warming flavours that shine through in many recipes and this recipe is no different.

Some of the things I love most about Scandinavian cooking is the ease at which everything comes together and that most of the ingredients are household staples – fair enough, unless you’re me you may not have multiple types of cardamom in your pantry, but apart from that the recipes are based on wholesome, simple ingredients that are readily at hand.

Spices :: The Scandinavian Baker

One rule for this recipe is to be generous with your spices. If you love ginger, then up the amount. I quite like adding some freshly ground black pepper to mine for an unexpected spicy punch to shake up the Scandinavian subtlety just a little.

Fresh Orange Zest :: The Scandinavian Baker

Finnish Spice Cake – Pehmeä maustekakku

The Pantry

4 eggs

225 grams of soft unsalted butter (melted)

225 grams of raw caster sugar

250ml of full fat sour cream

3/4 of a teaspoon of bi-carbonate of soda

225 grams of flour

Two teaspoons each of ground ginger, cardamom and mixed spice

(A few grinds of black pepper if you’re game)

Zest of one orange.

Sour cream :: The Scandinavian Baker

I stumbled upon a new variety of sugar at my local supermarket this week; Panela which is evaporated cane juice. Isn’t that just sugar…I questioned. Well yes it is, but this brand states that it is simply the result of evaporating the liquid from organically grown cane with no other refining process. Fair enough – in the trolley you go my sugary friend.

Health claims aside, it has a lovely caramel flavour and ultra-fine grain so I gave it a try in this recipe and it worked a treat. It added a deeper caramel flavour to the cake and really set off the spices. I can’t vouch for the nutrient factor, but give it a try if you see it.

Whisk :: The Scandinavian Baker

Pre heat the oven to 200c.

Using a whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. You really want to get a fair amount of air into this.

Once whipped add the melted butter. If you’re using a stand mixer with multiple blades, switch to your regular cake batter blade now for the rest of the recipe. Add the spices and orange zest.

Mix the bi-carb soda into the sour cream and then add to the mixture and beat until combined.

Add the flour and mix well. The batter is forgiving but try not to over mix as the result can be a little too bouncy.

Kugelhopf Pan :: The Scandinavian Baker

Pour into a greased pan. Traditionally a kugelhopf pan is used, but it will work just as well with a ring pan or angel food tin. Failing holey tins you could use a regular 20cm cake tin and adjust the baking time a little to allow the centre to cook through. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. The cake is cooked when gently browned and a skewer comes out clean when testing.

Once baked allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out. If you can resist the extraordinary spicy aroma emanating from your cake allow to cool completely and dust with icing sugar. Or if you’re like me and lacking in willpower take devour a warm slice now and dust whatever’s left for everyone else.

Best easten warm - before anyone else notices...

Best easten warm – before anyone else notices…