Easy Strawberry Rhubard jam Summer cake

 

Cake base

  • 200 g oat or oreo cookies (1packet)
  • 70g melted butter

Cake filling

  • 200g heavy cream for whipping
  • 1-2 cups of strawberry flavored quark (1 cup is enough for 16cm Ø cake tin)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • About 5-6 tablespoons of homemade strawberry rhubarb compote/jam (can be store bought)
  • 4 gelatin leaves

Garnish: powder sugar, fresh lilac flowers washed

 

Directions (cake base 16cm Ø )

( The cake is served with homemade lilac honey, but this is something that can be easily left out. If you decided to do this, it needs to be done in at advance. See recipe from here.

Also, the homemade compoté can be made in advance by a week, so this saves time. This recipe takes minutes to make and highly recommend it as rhubarbs are is season right now. However, a store-bought jam/compoté will do fine as well! For the homeamade, see recipe here

The great thing about this cake is that you can make it the night before serving, as it sets overnight in the fridge. )

 

I prefer to use a 16cm Ø for the cake tin as this gives a smaller and taller cake. If you are using a larger base, you may need to add 2 cups of strawberry quark to elevate height. Otherwise, 1 cup is enough for the smaller base.

Place the cookies into a food processor and blend into a sand like consistency. Add in the melted butter. Spread the cookies on the base of your cake tin and refrigerate for 30min.

Place the gelatin leaves in cold water for 10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip the cream and sugar. Then fold in the quark and a few tablespoons of compoté.

In a small saucepan, heat the tablespoon of lemon juie. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin leaves and place into the lemon juice. Stir until they dissolve. Pour the liquid into the whipped cream mixture.

Take the cake tin away from the refrigerator. Spoon a layer of compote on top of the cookie base so it is covered. Then add the whipped cream mixture on top. Cover the cake tin with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours.

The following day, garnish the cake with lilac flowers and a dusting of powdered sugar. I don’t actually eat the fresh flowers of the cake even though they are eatable. However, I did serve it with homemade lilac honey if you want a little addition of summer sweetness.

Kakkupohja

  • 1 paketti (noin 200g) kaura keksejä (voi käyttää myös oreo keksejä)
  • Sulatettua voita 70g

Hienonna keksit monitoimikoneessa. Sekoita joukkoon sulatettu rasva. Levitä seos vuoratun irtopohjavuoan pohjalle. Laita jääkaappiin, sillä aikaa, kun teen kakku massan.

Kakku täyte

  • 200g vispi kermaa (1 purkki)
  • 1-2 purkki valion maku rahkaa (mansikan makuista) 16cm Ø kakkuvuokaan riittää 1 purkki
  • 2-3 ruokalusikallista sokeria
  • 1 ruokalusikallinen sitruunan mehua
  • Noin 5-6 ruokalusikallista omatekoista raparperi mansikka hilloa (Voit käyttää kaupan hilloa, jos et halua tehdä omaa)
  • 4 liivatelehteä

Kakkua voi tarjoilla syreeni hunajan kera, mutta sen osuuden voi hyvin jättää pois. Se pitää tehdä etukäteen niin maut ehtii tekeytyä.

Kakkuun tarkoitettu helppo hillo/compoté voi myös tehdä päiviä ennen kakun tarjoilua, niin säästät aikaa. Hillon voi aina ostaa kaupasta, jos ei itse halua tehdä. Kakussa on myös se hyvä puoli, että tämä kannattaa tehdä edellisenä iltana kun tarjoilet niin liivate asettuu kunnolla ja maut muhivat keskenään jääkaapissa.

Kakku ohje

(kakkuvuoka 16cm Ø ) Itse tykkään käyttää vuuaksi, pienempää ja korkeampaa niin saa kauniin muodon kakkuun.  Vinkki: jos käytät vähän isompaa kakku vuokaa, voi olla että kannattaa lisää toinen purkki makurahkaa kakun täytteeseen niin saat koreutta.

Pane liivatelehdet kylmään veteen pehmenemään noin 10 minuutiksi. Vatkaa kerma ja sokeri vaahdoksi. Isoon kulhoon sekoita yhteen vispattu kerma ja maku rahka. Tässä vaiheessa voit maistaa makeutta, jos se tarvitsee lisää sokeria. Lisää pari ruokalusikallista hilloa.

Kuumenna sitruunan mehu pienessä kattilassa. Purista liivatelehdistä ylimääräinen vesi pois ja laita kuumaan sitruunaveteen. Sekoita kunnes liukenee kokonaan. Kaada liemi kulhoon ja sekoita hyvin kermavaahto/rahka massan kera.

Ota kakkupohja pois jääkaapista. Lusikoi keksipohjan päälle kerros hilloa. Kaada rahkamassa tämän päälle. Peitä foliolla ja laita jääkaappiin yönyli tai vähintään 5 tunniksi.

Seuraavana päivänä, koristele kakku syreeni kukilla ja ripottele päälle tomusokeria. Voit halutessasi tarjoilla omatekoisen syreeni hunajan kanssa.

Omatekoinen raparperi mansikka comoté (see recipe here in english)

  • 2 cups pilkottua raparperia
  • 1 cup mansikoita
  • 1-2 ruokalusikallista sokeria

Kuori ja pilko raparperit & mansikat kattilaan. Lisää sokerit ja kiehauta. Anna kiehua, kunnes neste haihtuu ja massa paksunee. Jäähdytä ja lisää tiivistettyyn purkkiin. Säilyy jääkaapissa viikon.

Syreeni Hunaja (see recipe here, in english)

  • Syreeni kukkia (muista käyttää sellaisia missä ei ole myrkkyä)
  • Rakka Hunajaa

Laita syreeni kukat tiiviiseen lasi purkiin. Kaada päälle hunajaa niin että kukat peittyvät. Laita korkki kiinni ja anna tekeytyä pari päivää pariin viikkoon asti. Kun haluat käyttää hunajaa, kukat voi joko ottaa pois tai jättää ne hunajaan, koska ovat syötäviä. Itse teen aika pienen purkin syreeni hunajaa, koska se on riittoisaa.  Jos haluat eroon kukista: kuumenna hunaja hellästi ja valuta siivilän läpi purkkiin.

Citrus Pavlova & Apple Blossom Season

 

 

 

‘A weekend filled with blooming apple trees & a beautiful cloud-like citrus pavlova´

Apple Blossom Season is here to bring us joy from its speckles of white delicate flowers that light up the path of May. We took an evening route to our favorite apple orchard that are just bursting into bloom to capture a few memories as we do every year. Last year I was still able to lift Siena in my lap for some pictures but not anymore, she was outgrown in size for that already. Back home for the sake of the weekend, I decided to make a citrus pavlova for dessert. In this tiny elegant dessert, a crisp white meringue layer is filled with lemon infused whipped cream and decorated with little flowers.

I’ve learned that to keep your meringue from being flat, do not overbeat as this loses volume when other ingredients are added to the mixture. The key is to beat the whites stiff but not dry. Also, slowly fold in the sugar rather than dumping it all at a fast rate. Then beat into a thick white glossy mass. Make sure no yolks or grease gets into your whites, as this ruins the pavlova.

Base Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • About 2 tablespoons of sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius (200 Fahrenheit) and adjust the rack to the lower part of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Slowly add in the sugar while continuously beating with an electric whisk. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and cornstarch.

Spoon the mixture on the parchment paper and shape into a circle. You can make a larger flatter version or smaller and a taller version. However, keep in mind that if you are making a taller version, it cannot take any heavy filling on top as falls through the lightness of the pavlova.

Ready to bake: Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once ready turn the oven off and leave in the hot oven (with the door slightly open) and leave in for a remaining hour. It is in this hour that the meringue will dry out completely. Then remove from oven onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

While the meringue is cooling whip the topping: Whip some cream with the sugar. Once stiff, add lemon juice and lemon zest. Once the meringue is cool add the whipped cream on top. To decorate, add a little bit more lemon zest and little flowers on top.

Wildflower Midsummer & Rhubarb Pie

‘Summer solstice is a time of magic and fairytale so it’s only natural to start the day by picking wildflowers and making sweet pies’

Rhubarb season is amongst us and what better way than to celebrate midsummer morning is with freshly baked pie and an array of wild flowers. Midsummer has been wonderfully relaxing, seeing friends, taking in the amazing weather and having slow ‘coffee in bed’ type of mornings. This rhubarb pie is extremely easy to make, if you are looking for a quick, no fuss tasty recipe. This batter should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen, as you can use the base for making other pies such as; blueberry, strawberry or whatever you like. Wishing everyone a peaceful midsummer’s day.

Easy Rhubarb Pie

Pie Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 3dl sugar
  • 5 dl melted butter
  • 4 dl oat milk
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 5 dl flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

On top

  • About 3-4 rhubarbs
  • ½ dl sugar sprinkled on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Prepare the rhubarb be slightly peeling (if needed) and chopping.

Prepare the batter: Break the eggs into a bowl. Whisk in the sugar so that it becomes slightly frothy. Mix in the butter and oat milk.

In another bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix together until everything is combined. Pour the batter into a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the rhubarb on top and sprinkle sugar on top. Place into the oven for about 45 minutes or until the batter is cooked.

Pre-Birthday Balcony Party

For the first time in a very long while, I organized a little pre birthday get together for a small group of girlfriends. We haven’t gotten together in quite some time, so it felt amazing to just eat some canapes, have girl talk and enjoy a little bubbly. It’s my birthday next week, so this time around I love to organize a little celebration. It was an amazing sunny day, so we spent the majority of the time enjoying the heat on the balcony amongst all my growing flowers.  Apple trees are in full blossom, lilacs are starting to bloom and peonies are looking their best. We have officially opened rosé season and summer is at it’s best. Spending time with these ladies is always amazing, but especially now after much isolation, getting together felt even more special.

Smoked salmon on a small “blini” with a sage cream cheese topping

How to make mini blinis

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • About 1 cup milk

Mix everything together until it forms a thick batter. Cook “tablespoons” of batter on a non-stick pan over medium heat until the surface starts to bubble. Flip over and voilá, little blinis are formed! Let them cool before adding the toppings. If the batter looks too thin, add more milk and if it looks too thin, add more flour.

Blini Toppings

  • 1 packet cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • Smoked salmon slices

For the topping, make a cream cheese filling. Basically, mix together some cream cheese, finely chopped sage and a tablespoon of pesto from the jar. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Add a slice of smoked salmon on top and garnish with baby arugula and black pepper.

Gratinated mussels with a garlic chili butter

Puff pastry shrimp cocktail

To make the puff pastry:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400F)

On a lightly floured surface, place the (defrosted) sheet of puff pastry om top. I used a rectangular shape puff pastry sheet (that has many sheets in the packet) that needs no rolling. 1 rectangle sheet makes 1 puff pastry.

You need 2 cookie cutters (one larger, one smaller). Using the larger one, cut out circles from your puff pastry. Using a smaller cookie cutter gently mark half of the pastry circles making sure not to cut all the way through. Brush the unmarked pastry circles with a beaten egg. Place the marked circles on top of unmarked circles and brush again with an egg. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 – 23 minutes until the puff pastry has risen and turned golden. Using a tip of a sharp knife, gently cut out caps from the pastry and dig out a little bit of pastry to make some room for the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup chopped shrimps
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • Pinch of Salt/pepper
  • Garnish: baby arugula and seaweed/ fish roe

Mix everything in a bowl and add a generous spoonful into each puff pastry as they have cooled down. Garnish with black pepper, baby arugula leaves and a spoonful of seaweed roe.

Ladies Crayfish Night

‘It was an epic party that lasted till 4am’

“Helan går Sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej”… as we toasted to the end of summer with our snaps!

A few Saturday’s ago we had such a fun crayfish party with some lovely ladies at our place! We decided that I would whip up the menu, so with the cray fish I served; beetroot canape with a limoncello ginger cocktail, an earthy black trumpet soup and a berry caramel pavlova with lemon cream. We had an epic night, one of our friends came all the way from London so it was lovely to just talk and dance the entire evening. We sang Helan går (swedish snaps song) with snaps and ended the night with dancing on the chairs! We had so much fun that we only left to town at 01.00 where the night continued till the early hours of dawn! What an amazing group of ladies! You know it’s a successful party when everyone accidentally coordinates on clothing hues that also match the colour of the wine. I thought I would share some of these easy recipes with you if you are planning on throwing a dinner or a crayfish party any time soon! Have an amazing weekend darlings!

limoncello spritzers cocktails

Lemon Ginger Concentration

  • chunk of Ginger
  • 2 juice of lemons
  • drizzle of cold water

Blend together into a liquid in a blender

To make the cocktail, add plenty of ice in a glass, some limoncello, a bit of the ginger lemon concentration & sparkling water. Garnish with thyme twigs.

‘Amuse-bouche, beetroot blinis topped with spicy beetroot humus’

Beetroot Paste:

  • 2 beetroot (pre cooked)
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 onion
  • drizzle of cream
  • butter/salt/pepper/chicken stock cube

Garnish: beetroot humus, lemon zest, sesame seeds

Add some butter into a saucepan. Add the roughly chopped beetroot, garlic and onion and let it gently cook for about 7 minutes. Add a bit of cream and part of a chicken stock cube and let it cook so the cream reduces a bit. With a hand-held blender, blitz the mixture into a soft paste. This part is optional, but I still strained the paste through a sieve to make it totally smooth. Let it cool.

Make the blini batter:

In a large bowl, add 4 egg yolks (I only used yolks, since I used the whites already for a pavlova base), 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking power, a pinch of salt and mix it all together with the beetroot paste. The batter should be quite dense and leave it to rest for an hour or so.

Ready to fry: Add little dollops of butter onto a non-stick pan and cook a few minutes on both sides. The texture should be airy and fluffy. Let it cool. Once the blini is ready to be served, add a dollop of beet humus on top, add chili, sesame seeds and lemon zest.

Find the recipe for the beetroot humus here

Cooked cray fish delivery arrived home in this dill salt water bucket: Beautiful +13cm sized crayfish with lovely large claws! yum!

‘Earthy Black Trumpet mushroom soup’ (serves 6)

  • 1 litre of black trumpet mushrooms
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6dl cream
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • salt/pepper/ oregano

garnish: toasted cashew nuts, parsley, black pepper

Begin by finely chopping the vegetables (carrot, parsnip, shallots, garlic). In a heavy saucepan, add a generous amount of butter. Let it heat and add in the roughly chopped black trumpet mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes so they release some juices before adding the vegetables. Cook gently with the lid partly on for about 10 minutes. Add the cream, chick stock, salt, pepper and a few twigs of oregano. Let it gently simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and blend the soup with a handheld blender into smooth brown texture. Place back on low heat and add the parmesan. Check for flavour and reheat once ready to be served.

For toppings, I toasted some roughly chopped cashew nuts and sunflower seeds in a bit of salt, added more black pepper and sprinkles of parsley/lemon zest.

 

 

‘Summer Berry Pavlova with lemon cream & salty caramel’

Pavlova base

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 6 drops of red food colouring

Pre heat oven 125c (circulation air mode)

Whisk the egg whites and salt together with an electric whisk until small peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar until the mixture turns a white glossy colour and becomes stiff. Mix together the cornstarch, food colouring vinegar and vanilla extract and gently fold it into the merengue. Scoop the merengue into a circular shape onto a baking tray with baking paper on it. (I made a circle of 20cm and made the merengue quite thick) Place into the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once ready, turn the oven off and leave it to rest in the oven for a remaining 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

Caramel Filling
  • roughly 180 ml cream
  • 100g butter
  • 330g regular sugar
  • 125ml water
1. Add the butter and cream into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Place the sugar and water in another small saucepan over high heat and bring to boil. Boil WITHOUT stirring until the mixture becomes a deep golden colour. Be patient and keep a close eye to it, you can begin to smell the caramel, the deeper the colour the more intense the flavour. However, make sure if does not burn as this gives a nasty flavour to the caramel. Some use a candy thermometer for this, but I did not have one and played by eye and it worked perfectly.
3. Remove from the heat when the colour is golden and immediately add the butter/cream mixture in a thin steady stream. Place the pan back onto the stove and stir for another 5 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Then pour it in a bowl and leave it to rest so it cools to room temperature.
Lemon Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

With an electric mixer, whip the cream until it thickens. Gradually mix in sugar and lemon juice and beat until soft peaks form. Fold in lemon zest and refrigerate for up to a few hours.

Garnishing for Pavlova

  • suffeli cookies
  • gooseberries
  • blueberries
  • lemon zest

Ready to make the Pavlova: On top of the base, drizzle some caramel, crunch in some of your favourite cookies or chocolate, I used airy waffle chocolate cookies (suffeli) and add the lemon whipped cream on top. Garnish with lots of blueberries, gooseberries and lemon zest.

 

 

Vegan Ice lollies

‘pomegranate raspeberry & coconut vanilla flavour’

These ice lollies are a healthy options and suitable for many diets that make the most of hot weathers! You can enjoy these if you are dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, paleo-friendly and free from refined sugars. The creamy vanilla coconut flavour works beautifully with the acidic raspberry and pomegranate making it an easy and great summer treat!

 

 

Ingredients for white filling:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or cream
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Berry filling:

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

With a handheld blender, pulse the coconut cream, syrup, vanilla extract and banana together so it forms a thickish liquid. In your blender, add a cup of pomegranate seeds and the raspberries and pulse until it forms a liquid/paste. You may need to add a small splash of water or juice if the mixture does not pulse enough, depending on your blender. It does not matter if the texture is a bit rough as this leaves a little bit to it!

To make the popsicle: first add the coconut vanilla cream in the bottom and then add the red juice on top. Freeze until solid.

 

 

‘Birthday Treats’

 

 

‘A June party requires wild flowers or a great set of peonies & homemade treats’

What an amazing birthday it was this year! First my hubby and I celebrated traditionally in Southern Finland in Hanko and on my actually birthday my day started with a delivery of my favourite flowers, aka peonies and an espresso in bed. Flowers make me so happy, its ridiculous. I later collected a bunch of wildflowers from meadows and had a little rosé party for my closest girlfriends. Of course I made another semi-naked cake (find recipe here)  although this time it had more layers and the filling was a mixture of white chocolate, raspberry curd and butter cream frosting. I attempted to make macarons 3 times, meaning that I possibly made 100 pieces and failed every single time! Although all my friends said they tasted purely amazing, visually they did not look like macarons. I have a feeling the problem was that I did not have a scale and perhaps my eggs weren’t aged enough. Or then I over whipped or under whipped the meringue but never managed to get the feet on them. I will share this recipe later on as they tasted super anyways.

The day was spectacular, surrounded with friends in a glorious white jumpsuit and lots of great moments throughout the day. June is at its end, garden parties and picnics are big at the moment, midsummer is in a few days, so I wanted to share some easy delights with you. If you are celebrating midsummer, the cake will be spectacular front and centre in the table while the little canapes are always welcome at any given party. The salad cups are perfect for a picnic that can be washed with homemade Bellinis. In June, pick a lot of wild flowers that are in full bloom at the moment or treat yourself to an amazing bouquet of peonies, as they are in season. Serve pale rosé from Provence, use a touch of highlighter to extenuate your sun-kissed skin and move your party outdoors, when ever its possible!

 

ps. the little tassels on the right are from Venice, just had to sneak in a picture of them as they are so beautiful

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bday canape1 (1 of 1)

 

bday canape2 (1 of 1)

Find the Thyme Bellini recipe here

Canape Recipes

Parma ham Peach puree  Canape

  • parma ham
  • tiny green mimosa leaves
  • peach puree (I used the excess puree from the bellinis I made but of course you can buy store-bought)
  • salt/pepper
  • capers
  • herb flavoured cream cheese

Caramelized apricot Paté Canape

  • caramelized apricots (dollop butter, teaspoon rosemary, 1 grated garlic, 1-2 tablespoons honey)
  • paté of choice
  • tiny green leaves
  • salt/pepper

For the base for both canape: slice some rustic baguette into thin slices and fry on a pan with some oil. Sprinkle with salt while still warm and leave to cool on a kitchen towel. This can be down a day before if you are limited to time.

For the parma ham canape. Begin by making the peach puree. I actually was making home-made bellini’s and during the sifting process you are left with a “mush of thyme peach puree”.  I saved the mush for these canapes. Find the recipe here: Peach puree form Bellini. Once the puree is cooled, begin by assembling the mini toast. Place cream cheese on the bottom, add a slice of parma ham and a little spoonful of peach puree in the centre. Garnish with tiny green leaves and grind black pepper on top.

For the paté canape: Begin by making the caramelized apricots. In a heated pan add a bunch of halved apricots, finely chop rosemary, grated garlic and a dollop of butter. Cook gently so all the juices are released and add a few tablespoons of honey. Let them caramelize and once ready, leave to the side to cool. sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. To make the toast, spread some pate first. Add an apricot on top, some black pepper and little green leaves.

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Find the recipe for these mini blinis here

Country salad in a glass

  • shaved zucchini ribbons
  • arugula and green leaves of choice
  • white asparagus
  • basil leaces
  • new potatoes
  • radish
  • pesto

Pre boil the new potatoes until aldente for about 10 minutes. Once cooled, sauté in a pan with some butter, garlic and thyme. Add in the halved radishes and the roughly chopped white asparagus (remember to remove wooden ends) and cook gently for a few minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and let it cool.

In a bowl, mix together the green leaves and the cooked vegetables with a few spoonfuls of pesto. Add some chopped basil and place into glasses. Lastly, add raw shavings of zucchini that are rolled up on top as garnishing.

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‘Easy Summer semi-Naked cake’

‘The perfect pretty summer cake’

The world is dressed in green, birds are nesting, the sunshine is like powdered gold and the world smells of roses, it’s June, the official month of summer“So let’s celebrate with the prettiest cake”, I say!

By far, these rustic stripped down semi-naked cakes are visually my favourite. The delicate minimal look is simply perfect at every level. I love all the flower decorations that you see on pinterest or ones that are topped off with berries, olive branches, herbs or some drizzle. They offer texture that frosting can’t replace and the exposed layers and soft garnishes look stunning and chic. Semi-naked cakes are perfect for garden parties, baby showers, tea party’s and of course weddings. I love a cake that is quite tall and narrow in diameter giving it a delicate shape. Today, a naked cake is a staple in trends and it leaves room for playing around with flavours you like, making it adaptable to so many seasons and events.

First-timer & succeeded! Even though I’m not much of a baker, I have been wanting to learn how to make a ‘naked’ cake for some time now. I finally took the challenge up and was pleased with the end result! This means, you can do it too! The cake does require a bit of organizing as it has so many components to it. The great thing is that some of the parts can be made in advance, which saves so much time, mess and hassle on the actual day of the party. The lemon blueberry curd can be made well in advance and it just intensifies in flavour after a few days. Also, the cake layers can be done before as they need to be placed into the freezer prior to the assembling process. Because I only used one cake mold, the baking process took a bit longer as I made 3 layers, which meant I had to bake 3 times. Of course, a more time efficient solution would be to have several cake molds in use.

“It’s all about the flavour”, they say. I wanted a cake to reflect the beautiful colours of the blooming lilac trees, something fresh but luxuriously sweet. The intense deep blueberry curd combines beautifully with the creamy butter frosting creating a vibrant hue around the outer layers. To keep it a soft white outer layer just making sure the blueberry does not spread out from in between. Do this by creating a frosting rim around the cake layer and spoon the blueberry inside, this way it is sealed. The layers are infused with vanilla and the rich buttercream frosting binds all the flavours together.  While eating a slice, I scooped more lemon blueberry curd on top as I couldn’t get enough of it! For decorations I wanted a natural feeling to it; blueberries, mint leaves and a few lilac flowers created a beautiful crown to the cake.

Basic facts about naked cakes to make your lives easier: Firstly, you need to freeze the cake layers before you assemble them together as this ensures no crumbs breaking off into the frosting. Generally, a good 6 hours of freezing is good. I did mine the day before and froze them overnight which saves an amazing amount of time on the day of the party. However, make sure the defrost a bit before cutting. To help cut even layers, I measured all four sides with a ruler and placed toothpicks on them to help keep the cutting straight. It helps to have a sharp serrated knife to level off the layers of the cake so they are perfectly even. Lastly, if your naked cake is tall with many layers, it needs a built in support. I’ve made a 3 layer cake and this works perfectly without support.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for cake base (x3)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1dl sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dl + 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla powder

* oil for lining the cake tine / milk when assembling the cake

Ingredients for Butter frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Ingredients for Blueberry Lemon curd ( makes 1 jar)

  • 200 g frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • about 100g salted butter cubed (room temperature)
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 3-4 egg yolks

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DIRECTIONS

Cake Base Directions (cake tin 16cm Ø )

Baking the cake layers:

In a bowl, add together the dry ingredients (minus sugar). In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy with the help of an electric whisk. Through a sieve, combine the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture. Gently fold the batter together.

Pour some oil into the cake tin so the bottom and sides are coated, pour excess out. Pour batter into the cake tin and place into the bottom part of the oven for 40 minutes at 175 °C. Check the cake by inserting a tooth pick into the centre and if it comes out clear, it is fully cooked. Cool in cake tins on a heat rack (about 10 minutes);  remove cakes from tins and cool completely on wire racks for about an hour.

Repeat this process 2 more times to form three cake layers.

Freeze Cake layers:

Freeze cakes once cooled, as this process makes the assembling much easier. Wrap each cake layer individually in plastic wrap and freeze for 4-6 hours. This part is optional but it ensures that crumbs don’t break into the icing, so if you are short in time, freeze at least for an hour. If you freeze them overnight, give them a bit of time to defrost as they are hard to cut otherwise.

When you are ready to frost the cake, remove layers from freezer and unwrap. Level the layers with a serrated knife to make sure the surfaces are straight. I removed the top half of the cake layers as they were dome-shaped.

Now the next part you can do 2 ways: Either slice your layers in half so you get 6 layers in total. Or then just keep the 3 layers as they are. Of course the more filling you have, the more moist it will be. However, I wanted to keep just 3 layers and keep the cutting minimal.

Frosting and Blueberry curd:

Blueberry Lemon Curd Directions 

In a saucepan, add the frozen blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer so that the blueberries become very soft. Mash lightly and press through a sieve into another saucepan. Place back onto low heat; add lemon zest, cubes of butter and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and add the beaten egg yolks. (First I added 3 but ended up adding one more as the sauce was not thick enough) Stir continuously until the liquid begins to thicken (may need to raise heat but make sure eggs don’t scramble) If you are having problems with it thickening, you can always add a little bit more butter. But be gentle, it can take 10-15 minutes. Once thick, remove to another bowl to cool. Once cooled, place into refrigerator to intense in flavour and to set even more. Store in a jar, up to a week.

Butter Frosting Directions

With a handheld mixer, whisk the butter on high-speed until a pale colour and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula twice while beating.

Turn mixer into low-speed and gradually add the sieved sugar. When combined scrape the bowl again. Slowly drizzle in the milk and vanilla. Scrape bowl again when combined.

Whisk on high-speed for about 10 minutes until the buttercream is extremely fluffy.

READY TO ASSEMBLE

Assemble the cake

Use your “ugliest cake bottom” for the base of the naked-cake. Save the prettiest bottom for the top part. Place a bit of frosting on your cake plate and place the first layer on top. This keeps it from moving. Moisten each layer with a bit of milk.

Fill each layer with buttercream frosting and blueberry curd. I made a rim around the edges with buttercream and placed the blueberry curd in the centre to keep it sealed. Repeat this process until the top and place the last layer “with the bottom half of the layer facing the surface” so it looks flat this way. Add buttercream frosting around the edges of the cake and scrape to almost bare with a sharp knife. Place into fridge (or freezer) to set the frosting before decorating.

When working with fresh flowers

Add the garnish closer to the party, especially if you are working with flowers that don’t hold their shape for long, like lilac. For this cake, add blueberries on top, the ends of mint leaves and the little flowers of lilac. If you plan to decorate with lots of fresh flowers like roses for example, it would be best if they do not come into contact with the cake. YouTube is very helpful for this, but basically just add toothpicks to your rosebud ends and wrap the stem with a bit of gardening tape. Press this into the cake. For delicate flowers like baby’s breath, they can just be loosely set in between other garnishes. Roses, some carnations, olive branches and baby’s breath hold their form very well! Figs and herbs are an elegant choice as well.

semi naked cake11 (1 of 1)

 

After we indulged, I allowed the remaining cake to rest overnight in the fridge and it held its shape perfectly and actually tastes even more moist this morning. So I would not see it as a problem, to make the cake in advance (minus decorating) if you are short on time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Pretty Cherry Grapefruit Popsicles’

It’s friday and I have a batch of delicious popsicles all set for the weekend. My hubby is coming home today and I thought it would be nice to have a healthy treat when watching movies in the evening. These popsicles are a pretty addition to a summer party, a baby shower or a ladies brunch just because you can dress them up to look super cute. This time, I made a blueberry smoothie base with greek yogurt to get the sliding colour effect that has grapefruit and cherry bits to it. The bottom has some sweet crunch from oven baked honey granola that I made a few days ago. However, if you don’t feel like making the granola from scratch, any granola will do as long as you bash it into smaller pieces to fit the mold. You could also use flavoured yogurt for the base if you don’t want to make a smoothie base, even though it only takes a few minutes. I strongly suggest making it yourself though, as the flavours are more intense with less added preservatives or sugar. Lastly, garnish each popsicle to your liking, I used these little blush flowers from oregano that are just darling. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

popsicles8 (1 of 1)

Blueberry base

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana

Mix in a blender until a smooth paste

Berry Popsicle

  • 1 grapefruit (chopped into smaller pieces)
  • 1/2 cup cherries (chopped into smaller pieces)
  • 1-2 cups Greek yogurt

Garnish: cherries, little oregano flowers & its petals

Popsicle direction

Take your popsicle mold and scoop some blueberry mixture into each one. Then for the next layer, add some greek yogurt until it almost fills the top. Place the sticks in and top with a tiny bit of granola. Place in the freezer for about 3 hours until set. To remove each popsicle, place them under hot water for a bit.

Oven baked honey granola

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 almonds
  • 1/4 cashews

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nuts of choice (I used cashews and almonds). Heat 1/4 cup of honey in a microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in olive oil to this.

In a glass measuring cup, warm honey in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add olive oil to the honey and stir. Combine the honey-oil with the dry ingredients and spread over a baking sheet paper that is brushed with oil. Bake for about 20-30 minutes stirring the granola once in between. Leave to cool once ready.

For the popsicle: Place a bit of granola in a ziplock bag and crush the mixture into smaller pies with a rolling-pin.

 

 

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Summer Berry Pavlova

A showstopper rustic berry dessert with that marshmallowy centre and slight citrus taste…

This berry pavlova tastes like roasted marshmallows as the inside is soft and gooey with a slight crunch to the surface. This was my first time making pavlova and it did not work the way I intended it to, but after a few altercations the end result tasted phenomenal. In the beginning the base turned out uncooked with not enough rise as apparently I did not whip the egg whites into a solid enough mixture and the oven was not in the correct mode that circulates the air. So, in the end I actually flipped the meringue over and cooked it a bit more and it turned out great despite the rustic shattered look of it. So when you do this, make sure you whip a solid enough meringue and place your oven in the right mode! The pavlova is topped with a lemon zest whipped cream and lots of freshly picked berries from the forest. This sweet sensation is an explosion of delicious summer flavours with its first soft bite.

 

Ingredients

Pavlova base

  • 4 egg whites
  • 2dl sugar
  • 1tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Toppings

  • 3dl whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • Wild strawberries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • thyme or mint

Directions

Preheat oven to 130 celsius ( circulated air mode in oven/kiertoilma vaihde uunissa in finnish)

Whip the egg whites in a large bowl until firm. Mix the vanilla sugar, corn starch and sugar together and then combine it to the egg whites a little bit at a time continuously whisking. Add in the vinegar.

Add the whipped meringue onto a baking tray that is lined with a baking sheet. Place the baking tray into the oven for 1 1/2. Let the cake cool down.

Make the whipped cream (cream, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest) and spread it on top of the pavlova. Garnish with lots of berries of choice. I used wild strawberries, blueberries and regular strawberries and a few twigs of thyme for a bit of green.

 

 

 

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