Posts Categorized: Celebration

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Just because Christmas is over (phew) doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating, right? Down here in the Southern Hemisphere it’s hot and bright and the heartily-warm comfort-food style Christmas desserts sometimes just don’t cut it on a breezy summer afternoon; we turn to our summer favourite, Pavlova… with a twist.

Classics and favourites exist like fairytales, we love them and bring them out time and time again to the delight of our wide-eyed guests. But once in a while a slight nudge in an unexpected direction reignites the passion and is as welcome as that summer breeze after a hot December day. It’s certainly clear that Pavlova is by far the fairest of them all, but who wants fair all the time!

I’ve posted about Pav before and this recipe is based on the classic. All that is required is a tweak, to the sugar and the vinegar. The addition of the golden brown sugar and dark vinegar transforms this classic from snow white to wicked queen but still maintains all the goodness.

Begin with the basic Pavlova recipe based on Stephanie Alexander’s from The Cook’s Companion.

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

4 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
200 grams of golden caster sugar combined with 50 grams of light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
A few drops of pure vanilla

 The Topping

250ml of thickened cream (for whipping)
250 grams of strawberries, hulled and roughly sliced
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
1/2 cup each of raspberries and blueberries

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat your oven to 180c. Beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the golden sugar a little at a time and beat until shiny and stiff (and no longer gritty). Add the vanilla, balsamic vinegar and cornflour and gently fold into the mixture until combined.

Transfer the glossy and wickedly-tinted meringue onto a prepared baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

Gently flatten the mound a little and smooth out the sides. Don’t worry too much about the look of it at this point as you’ll invert this one after cooking.

Place into the oven and reduce the temperature to 150c and bake for 30 minutes. Then reduce again to 120c and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Switch off the oven and allow the meringue to cool completely. I often bake it the night before the party and leave it in the oven overnight.

Two hours before you’re planning to serve, place the chopped strawberries, additional sugar and balsamic vinegar into a bowl and mix well to coat. Allow the fruit to steep in the vinegar mixture for at least 2 hours, longer if you have the time. This magically transforms the berries into a new taste sensation and transforms the vinegar into a delicious syrup.

Assembly required

Whip the cream to soft peaks and dollop onto the meringue base. Arrange the marinated strawberries on top, followed by the other berries. Drizzle the reserved vinegar syrup over the fruit for a delightful twist on the original.

If it’s terribly hot, pop the Pav back into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Enjoy with an evening breeze and a dip in the nearest pool.

Balsamic Vinegar Golden Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta, Sea Salt… and a ridiculous amount of herbs.

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta with Sea Salt… and a ridiculous amount of herbs. 

I was recently reminded of a much loved favourite. I used to bake it for all manner of parties with such success it started receiving invitations itself, and disappointed looks if it didn’t appear. Oh you brought cake instead… I’m sure it’ll be fine… 

It has been part of the repertoire for so long I can’t remember where it originated from. What I do know for sure is that it has certainly evolved into the mouth-watering punch in the mouth flavour-bomb  it is today.

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker

Last week an old friend asked me for the recipe and the on-line discussion thread developed with calls of glee from others at the same party (5 years ago!) at the memory of this now legendary delight.

For the life of me I can’t remember why I stopped making this extraordinarily simple but delightful dish.

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta with Sea Salt… and a ridiculous amount of herbs. 

The Fridge

1kg of fresh ricotta – from the deli not from a tub – tub cheese is way too soft for success
Sea salt crystals
Dried chili flakes to taste (trust me, err on the side of too much as the cheese will mellow the heat)
A few generous slugs of extra virgin olive oil
Great big bunches of oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme*

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a loaf tin and press the ricotta into the tin. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and the edges have the slightest hint of gold.

Allow the cheese to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes, in which time it will become firmer.

Meanwhile in a shallow baking tray make a bed of half of the herbs and dress with a little olive oil and set aside.

Once cool enough to handle, cut the loaf in half and invert onto the green bed of waiting herbs.

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker

Separate the halves slightly and drizzle with olive oil. Liberally sprinkle the crystalline flakes of salt over the two slabs. Don’t be shy, ricotta can handle the salt.

Follow with the chilli flakes and the rest of the herbs. Douse with olive oil and return to the oven to bake for a further 30-40 minutes.

After 15 minutes baste the cheese with the sizzling herb infused oil. Repeat every 10 minutes until the blanket of herbs are soaked and scorched and the cheese is a deep burnished gold.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving – just ever so slightly warm.

Sit back and let the praise wash over you between greedy mouthfuls.

Fiery Twice Baked Ricotta :: The Scandinavian Baker
* All available at Scarborough Fair (see what I did there)

Hot Cross French Toast

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker

Good Friday was always a day when our family stuck with tradition – fish for dinner and buns for breakfast. Until the now near constant supply of hot cross buns became too much for me to resist, these pillowy sweet buns had only one day to shine.

These days of course, HCBs are so easy to get hold of they’ve become a weekly-shop staple according to the big retailers. So why not give them the reception they deserve with a twist this Easter.

This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people and will transform your buns into exquisitely light and fluffy pillows of Eastery goodness (too much? Um, no)

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker

Hot Cross French Toast

The Pantry

3 hot cross buns, cut in half (super delicious Hot Cross Bun recipe here)

300 mls of milk

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom

Pinch of salt flakes

Knob of unsalted butter for frying

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker
The Topping 

1 tablespoon of caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

Cut the buns in half and set aside. Gently beat the eggs until combined, add the milk and spices and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into a large shallow dish and place the buns cut side down. Allow the buns to sit for a few minutes, absorbing as much liquid as they can. Gently turn the buns to coat the other side.

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker
Once most of the mixture has been absorbed, heat a frying pan and gently melt the butter over a medium heat until frothy. Gently place the buns cut side down in to the pan and fry for a few minutes until golden. Turn and fry on the other side.

Hot Cross French Toast :: The Scandinavian Baker
Remove from the pan and allow to cool for a minute or so, while you mix the sugar and spices together. Sprinkle this mixture over the buns and serve with some fresh autumn or spring fruit.

Happy Easter x

October Sun Plum :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

3.14 and Peach Pie

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

It’s March the 14th – International Pi-e day 3.14.15 (at least it is in countries that read the date in that format). But hey, I love a food themed day so I’m marking the occasion with the best the last days of a sub-tropical summer have to offer – Peaches, and lots of em!

This delightful recipe is adapted from one of my favourite American cooks – Joy the Baker. When it comes to pie, hers are tried and true and a slice of little ole American heaven.

You may have missed Pi day – but at The Scandinavian Baker HQ every day is pie day, so get baking!

Summer Peaches :: The Scandinavian Baker

Peach Pie

The Pastry

2 1/2 cups of plain flour

2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

225 grams of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (this adds an amazing tang to the pastry)

Summer Peaches Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Filling

1.5 kg of ripe yellow (kissed-by-the-sun) peaches (6-7 large)

1/2 cup of golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (what the? – yep, coriander, it’s super tasty)

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoons of corn flour

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten and 1 teaspoon of water, for egg wash

2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, combined.

Makes one 23 cm pie

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

Throw the flour, butter and sugar and salt in to your food processor and blitz to combine. Add the cold butter and blitz again until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Combine the water and vinegar and gradually add until the pastry begins to come together and forms a ball.

Turn the pastry out onto the bench and gently kneed into a ball. It will be quite soft and smooth. Cut in half and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.

Slice those sun-kissed peaches and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon juice. Whisk together the sugar, spices and  two flours and pour the mixture over the peaches. Gently toss with a wooden spoon to cover. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the pastry out. The flour mixture will absorb the peach juices as they bake and transform your pie into one any classic small-town American diner would be proud of.

Peach Pie :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

On a floured surface roll out the first pastry disk to slightly larger than your pie dish. It may crack a little around the edge; gently persevere until you have your round pastry.

Gently lift the pastry into your pie dish and press into place leaving the overhang – you’ll need this to join the top o the bottom. Pop this one into the fridge to rest.

Repeat this process with the second disk. Once ready, place the fruit filling into the waiting pie dish and gently place the top disk of pastry on top. Using your thumb or a fork, crimp the edges together to form a seal.

Using a sharp knife, make five slits in the top of the pie to allow any steam to escape. Trim the remaining pasty from around the edge.

Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at 200c and then reduce the oven temp to 185c for 55 more minutes. The pie will be ready when the crust is a dark golden brown

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving with far too much double cream. How delicious is Maths!?

IMG_8869

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffin

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffins :: The Scandinavian Baker

I’ve always been the kind of baker who’s drawn to the hand-made, rough-around-the-edges, but still thoughtfully crafted pudding, cake or loaf. For me, it’s the story behind the recipe that drives me to recreate much-loved recipes in my own kitchen and, in turn, add my own few sentences to the chapter.

When it comes to more-famous-than-me type bakers and cooks, I adore those who can slap together a delightful treat without too much pomp and don’t shy away from licking the beaters fervently while no one else is looking – or if you are the ever-delightful Nigella Lawson, while the whole world is looking and falling in love with you just a little bit more – swoon.

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffins :: The Scandinavian Baker

Plus, let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a super easy, no fuss recipe that’s sure to please? Especially when you can eat cupcakes for breakfast – (everybody cheer) – alright they’re muffins and there is certainly a difference, but let’s not beat around the bush. It’s the Christmas season, friends are inviting themselves around for brunch like nobody’s business – so let them eat cake.

Fresh Oranges :: The Scandinavian Baker

So, today I pay homage to a great influence of mine – Nigella Lawson. This is her recipe that has got me out of tight nothing-to-serve spots on more than a few occasions and satisfied cravings for cake at breakfast time on a few other occasions.  Ms Lawson, to you I tip my hat.

The Homage Orange Breakfast Muffin

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffins :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

75g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
250 grams of self-raising flour
25 grams of ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
75 grams golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
100ml full-fat milk
1 egg
12 hole muffin tray lined with paper cases

Orange Zest :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Combine the orange juice and milk into a jug and whisk in the egg and the cooled, melted butter. This mixture will split and look curdled as the milk and orange juice combine, but never fear, this concoction has extraordinary powers.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. The batter will be beautifully. Mix until only barely combined and never over mix – the odd lump is perfectly fine.

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffins :: The Scandinavian Baker

Enter the much talked about powers – When I first made this recipe I marvelled at the instant reaction between the acid from the juice and the raising agents. In the time takes to set out your muffin cases the mixture begins to transform into a cloud-like fluffy delight.

Spoon out the mixture equally into the muffin cases and cook for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove, in their paper cases, to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before devouring – with butter, or clotted cream, or jam or a little of each. Makes 12

Homage Orange Breakfast Muffins :: The Scandinavian Baker

 

Recipe adapted from Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson

 

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