Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beautiful Cake

We went out for sushi for Vesa's birthday, and ended the meal with a Finnish fruit and cream cake that I made this afternoon. Since the kids were napping when I made it, and I'd promised M she could help, I took some photos to show her that I had put in the strawberries, blueberries, and mangoes that I'd promised. Luckily, she woke up right when I was finishing up the final touches — "Wow, Mama, that cake is looking so beautiful!"

The sponge cake is the best recipe I've used, from the Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas:

Cake Layers for Finnish Birthday (or other Celebration) Cake

4 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour, sifted with
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Beat eggs until light and fluffy, add sugar gradually while beating until thick and creamy. Sift flour into bowl with other dry ingredients and fold carefully until incorporated. Pour batter into prepped pans and bake for about 30 mins. Cool on rack, then cut each layer in half. "Moisten" layers with juice from macerated, sliced fruit (like strawberries) or vanilla custard (Bird's works great), and layer with fruit, 1 pint whipped organic cream (stiff, add 2 Tbs. pwd. sugar per cup of cream, 1 tsp. vanilla per cup and 1 tsp. cream of tartar. And, to "set up" cream well you can add 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin to cream too).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April Showers...

The weather today (and the fact that I had leftover grilled potatoes and grilled onions) begged for meatballs. Plus, Mom & Vesa just replenished our lingonberry stock from IKEA. So, here's Lora's fabulous recipe:

Swedish Meat Balls

1 lb. hamburger
1 beaten egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch nutmeg

1 3/4 c. beef stock

Combine all ingredients, roll into balls, let stand for 5 mins. Brown in skillet, then simmer in 1 3/4 c. beef stock for 30 mins. Remove meatballs and add 2 T. flour and 2-4 T. minced onion to stock to make gravy.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mmm... Rum Cupcakes!

My friend Amanda made these "rum cakes" for a work Christmas party years ago, but she cut a whole angel food cake into small cubes, frosted five sides and rolled them in chopped walnuts. Tasty, but really messy (to make and eat). I made them that way once, then converted over to the excellent form of the cupcakes. I split the frosting now to make 1/2 the batch without rum, but the sprinkles needed to be added. I mean, who doesn't love sprinkles?

So, in honor of Amanda, here's the recipe:

Midgett Rum Cakes

1 box angel food cake mix
3 cubes butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar (or more - taste and feel the buttercream)
3-5 Tbs. rum (or 2 Tbs. milk and some almond extract)

Mix up a boxed angel food cake, and bake in 24 cupcake liners instead of tube pan. Let cool.

Beat the butter and sugar on high in Kitchenaid mixer, then add rum (or other liquid) to taste. Adjust frosting with added sugar or liquid, then pipe or spread onto cupcakes, add sprinkles, and enjoy!!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Goin' Bananas

My mom's banana bread recipe is excellent. My earliest memory of these is eating them warm from the oven, slathered in butter, when I was three years old. Just smelling them baking is reassuring and feels like home.

I couldn't find my white recipe binder tonight (shocking because it's huge...), but Mom & Vesa were over (helping with dinner, and playing and cleaning) and Mom of course knew the recipe by heart so scribbled it down on my fridge notepad. Erik, the little monkey, couldn't resist scrambling up to investigate as soon as I moved these from oven to cooling rack. I warned him they were hot — he knows that word well now, but touched one anyway. Sure enough. "Hot Mom-mee!" and here he is signing Hot to me too.

Monkey Muffins (aka Grammy's Banana Bread)

1 stick softened butter
1 -1/2 c. sugar
5 T. sour milk (4 T. milk + 1 T. citrus juice)
2 eggs
3 mashed (very ripe) bananas
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
(1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional)

Bake in muffin tins for about 17 mins. Makes about 22 muffins.


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