Category Archives: Cakes

The Land of the Midnight Sun

So…it’s been a while. I blame it on the summer holiday, or lack thereof. I’ve spent three months back home in Norway now and I’ve been working most of the time. I have cooked and baked, I just haven’t had the time to blog about it. I have just returned to New York and I have about a week off before school starts so I thought I would take the time to blog about at least one of the things I’ve made this summer. I went away twice this summer, a week in London and a week in the North of Norway. In the North I visited my grandparents who live in a small town right by the mountains and the fjord. It’s a really beautiful part of Norway, very different from Oslo. I was there in the middle of the summer when there is 24 hr sunlight. It feels very strange because the sun really never sets, it’s always light out which makes it really hard to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

I took this picture around midnight, from my grandparents’ garden.

But I really loved going there this summer, just to experience the nature, the sea, and of course to spend some time with my family. I always eat well when I’m up there. My grandmother bakes really good bread and she always has a couple of nice cakes ready to go. While I was there, the rhubarb in the garden was growing by the day, so I made rhubarb pies a couple of times. They were very good, but we Norwegians live for strawberry season so I knew I had to make something with strawberries. Then, I spotted this recipe in a magazine and I knew that this was the cake I wanted to make. It was really delicious, fairly simple to make, and very different from anything I’ve made before. I followed the recipe to a tee, but if I were to make this cake again I would make a few changes. Instead of using half of the oat crackers on top of the cake, I would mix in a couple more tablespoons of melted butter and made a firm crust under the cake instead. Also, I’m not a big fan of cognac, so I would just leave that out.

Here’s me with the cake, mountains and fjord in the background.

The top of my cake, my dad showed me how to slice the strawberries so they would look nice. (The one on the bottom, the one that doesn’t look so nice, that’s the one I sliced)

Frozen strawberry cheesecake

(yields about 12 slices)

300 g oat crackers (or Graham crackers)

3 tbsp butter, melted

3 eggs

250 g cream cheese

1.5 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar)

1 dl powdered sugar

1 orange

3 dl whipping cream

500 g fresh strawberries

4 tbsp cognac (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly butter a 24 cm spring form pan.
  2. Crush the crackers and add the melted butter. Add half of the crackers to the cake pan and press down with your hands so that all the crumbs are packed firmly (or add all the crumbs now, instead of using half on the top of the cake).
  3. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Mix the yolks with the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until the texture is creamy. Zest the orange and add the zest to the mixture.
  4. Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. In a separate bowl, whip the cream.
  5. Mix the cheese mixture with the egg whites and the whipped cream.
  6. Mash the strawberries with some powdered sugar and the cognac, if using.
  7. Pour half of the cheese/cream mixture on top of your cake base, and spread all of the strawberries on top. Follow with the rest of the cheese mixture, then the rest of your oat cracker crumbs (unless you used it all for the base of the cake).
  8. Cover your cake and place in the freezer for at least four hours. Take it out of the freezer and place on a serving dish 30 minutes before serving. Decorate with fresh strawberries.
  9. Enjoy!

Source: melk.no

Looks pretty good, non?

Another picture from my adventure in the North.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose between a brownie and a cheesecake? I have, many times, and I always end up with the brownie. Well, now you don’t have to make that choice as I bring you the Cheesecake Brownie! Seriously, this must be one of the top ten creations ever invented (at least in the cake world). What’s not to like? Brownie – mmm, Cheesecake – mmm, Raspberry whipped cream – mmm… This cake even looks as good as it tastes, with one brown layer, one white, and one pink. As usual, this recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I’m getting worried that if I reproduce any more of their recipes they might sue me, so I have decided not to print the recipe this time. What you do is make your favourite brownie recipe and pour it into a 33 x 23 x 5-cm baking tray. Top that layer with your favourite cheesecake filling (American style, not fridge-set style, a half batch is probably enough), and bake in the oven at 170°C (325°F) for 30-40 minutes. The cheesecake should be light golden around the edges. Leave cake to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight. I over-baked the brownie a little so be sure you check the cake after 30 minutes.

I made this cake for a dinner party last week, but unfortunately the party was cancelled so Brittany and I were stuck with all this deliciousness all to ourselves. We gave some away, but we still had this for dessert basically every day for a week. The dinner party was actually back on this week so I made a new dessert, will post it in a couple of weeks. While we are on the subject of this dinner party I want to say thank you to all of Brittany’s amazing friends (you know who you are) who have welcomed me into their group. It has been so nice to get to know you all and I am looking forward to many more dinner parties and other events to come. It makes me really happy when you say that you enjoy my baking so you can expect more where that is coming from!

I will definitely make this cake again and again. It looks really fancy and the taste is unbeatable, but it is also simple to make.

What else is new? Well, I haven’t done much out of the ordinary lately. Studying, eating, sleeping, exercising, relaxing, drinking etc. We are getting ready for Halloween now and I am so exited for my first Halloween over here. I think we have decided on a pretty fantastic theme for our costumes; we’re going as different drinks you would find in a liquor cabinet! I will try to post some pictures some time in the near future. Until then, enjoy the fall colours and make yourself a treat! Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

To make the raspberry frosting you need:

300 ml whipping cream

100 g icing sugar

150 g raspberries

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until firm but not stiff.

Spread over the cake and decorate with extra raspberries. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cake

When I was younger I used to go out in the forest and pick wild blueberries with my parents. We would freeze some of them so that we had blueberries throughout the winter. Yummy! When I moved to London I was really surprised to see that I couldn’t buy wild blueberries in the supermarket. I could only get those huge blue things with a whitish flesh which don’t really taste much at all, certainly not of blueberries. This is why I was so happy last week when I realised they sold wild blueberries at Whole Foods Market here in New York. I bought a box and had them with yogurt and oats for breakfast throughout the week. As the weekend approached I wanted to make something special with blueberries, I browsed my recipes and settled on this fabulous cake from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (of course!). Imagine my disappointment when I went back to Whole Foods and they didn’t have any more wild blueberries! I had to settle for the boring kind, but the cake still turned out really good. I just can’t help to think how amazing it would have been with proper blueberries! I don’t really have any comments on this recipe besides how good this cake is! I made it a week ago and I finished the last piece yesterday, a little dry now but still good. The recipe calls for a 25 cm ring mould but I only had a 24 cm. I didn’t think that would make much difference, but I had so much batter I ended up with TWO cakes and two cupcakes! I think making half is sufficient if you only want one cake, but why not just freeze one? It can be frozen unfrosted and will probably keep for three months.

So, try to get your hands on some wild blueberries before it’s too late and make this cake, which not only tastes great but looks very pretty too!

Recipe (makes 2 cakes)

350 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

350 g caster sugar

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

450 g plain flour

2 tbsp + 2 tsp baking powder

280 ml soured cream

250 g fresh blueberries, plus extra to decorate

Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease and dust a 25 cm ring mould.
  2. Mix sugar and butter and cream until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time while mixing well, be sure to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract, flour and baking powder until well mixed.
  5. Add the soured cream and mix well until everything is combined and the mixture is light and fluffy (at this point the batter was so delicious I ate about 2 tbsp right there and then).
  6. Gently stir in the blueberries by hand until evenly dispersed.
  7. Pour the mixture into the ring mould (about ¾ full) and smooth over with a palette knife or a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. When the cake is cold, cover the top and sides with Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate with more blueberries. A light dusting of icing sugar also looks nice on the blueberries.

Cream Cheese Frosting (for 12 cupcakes, or 1 cake)

300 g icing sugar, sifted

50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

125 g cream cheese, cold

Directions:

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter on medium- slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It can become runny, so do not overbeat.

Source: the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Zebra Cake

One of my good friends was celebrating his birthday this week in London, so as always I offered to make a cake. For his actual birthday I made a strawberry cheese cake which was good, but not great. When it came to the actual birthday party I decided to make something that looked fun. I had wanted to try something from Annie’s Eats for some time now. That is definitely one of my favourite food blogs and her cakes look amazing. Since this was my second cake of the week I opted for one that looked pretty quick and simple to make, but would still require some attention. The Zebra cake looked absolutely amazing in her pictures; I think she had a better outcome than me. But I am still quite happy with what I managed to make. I followed the recipe as best I could although I didn’t have any almond or vanilla extract. I just omitted the almond altogether and substituted vanilla extract for vanilla sugar.

I want to point out that I found it to be very important to use big tablespoons when measuring out the batter. Preferably use proper measuring spoons, if you add too little batter at a time, you will end up with too many rings and when cooked just a light brown cake instead of white and dark brown. I had to make the cake twice to end up with a proper zebra striped cake. I took Annie’s advice and frosted with a thick layer of Hershey’s perfectly chocolate frosting. In the end, after two attempts, the cake ended up just as I thought it would! It looked amazing and was very moist and tasty. And what’s more, my boyfriend did the decorating for me J I think he did a very good job, don’t you?

As you can see from this picture the top of the cake cracked quite significantly. I didn’t mind though, once I had frosted the cake it didn’t look so bad. My boyfriend used regular store-bought icing tubes to make the stars and the writing. My hand writing is really awful so the cake would never have looked this good if I had decorated it myself!

I was pretty happy with my stripes, but they do not compare to Annie’s! I have no idea how she got her cake to look so good…

Recipe (serves 12)

4 large eggs

2.5 dl sugar

2.5 dl milk

2.5 dl vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 tsp vanilla sugar)

1/8 tsp almond extract (this can be omitted)

5 dl all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 ½ tbsp cocoa powder (I used a little more, about 3 ½ tbsp)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 23 cm round cake pan with a circle of baking paper. Lightly grease the sides of the pan and dust with flour.

  1. Mix eggs and sugar until light and creamy and the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  2. Stir in milk, oil, vanilla and almond extracts. If you use vanilla sugar this should be added in step 3.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  5. Measure out half the mixture, about 6-7 dl.
  6. Sift cocoa powder over one of the bowls and stir to combine.
  7. Put three tablespoons of the white batter into the centre of the pan and let it spread. Add three tablespoons of the brown batter in the centre of the white batter. Continue like this until you have used all the batter and you have some nice alternating brown and white circles.
  8. Bake for 38-42 minutes (my cake took a little longer, about 45 minutes) until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Chill for 15 minutes in the pan, then move it onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
  10. Frost if desired. I made one portion of Hershey’s perfectly chocolate frosting, which turned out to be way too much. 2/3 of the recipe would probably be sufficient for this cake.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Baking Bites

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

My second time making the cake

My second time making the cake

I thought it was only suitable that this should be my first post. This was the first recipe I discovered when I started looking at food blogs. After spending hours looking through photos at Food Gawker and Taste Spotting, this was the recipe that caught my attention again and again. The recipe has an incredible 1285 reviews (and counting) on Epicurious, which I took as a good sign that this would be an amzing cake. Take a look yourself, most of the reviews basically say that this is the best chocolate cake ever. I couldn’t have stumbled upon this recipe at a worse time. I was in my last month of completing my Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and I had three exams, a coursework and the final dissertation to do! But, in between all the reading and writing I had one thing to look forward to; my friend Sarah’s 21st birthday party. Weeks in advance I had offered to make her the perfect cake. As the party grew nearer I think I spent about half my waking hours doing actual, necessary work for uni, and the other half reading reviews and taking notes on how I would perfect this cake! And it was all worth it. Everyone loved the cake and my exams went well. No wonder I decided to make it again for my friends back home in Norway for Tine’s 24th birthday party!

The recipe was originally published in Gourmet, March 1999, but can be found freely on Epicurious. I did not have any problems making the cake, it was actually quite easy and straightforward. I did not have the cake tins recommended and ended up using one 22 cm and one 23 cm. It looked a bit funny and uneven when I assembled the cake, but I just filled in the extra room with chocolate ganache. I mean, you can’t really have too much chocolate? Even though I am a big fan of chocolate I feel that it can be too heavy sometimes. For this reason, I decided to fill and top the cake with raspberry whipped cream both times I made the cake. Not only did it look great with the pink cream and the dark chocolate colour, but it tasted great as well. Because I filled the cakes with the cream, I ended up with way too much ganache frosting. So, for anyone else using another filling instead of the ganache, I would recommend reducing the portion by a fourth. That should make for sufficient frosting to cover the entire cake.

The original recipe states that this cake serves 12 – 14. I don’t know how big pieces you serve over in the US, but both times I made this cake for birthday parties I was left with about half a cake! This cake is so rich it could probably serve 30 people for dessert.

Serving my cake at a 21st birthday party

Serving my cake at a 21st birthday party

For all the chocoholics out there: this is the cake for you!