Swedish Sockerkaka

First week back and boy do we feel it.

I’ve overslept twice for starters. Tuesday, when my parents were flying back to Sweden and I was meant to wake them up (!) and then on again on Wednesday. (Luckily I got the kids to school in time!). I wrapped that up nicely with falling asleep at 8pm whilst putting the toddler back to sleep last night!!

We’re all tired though I think and it’s January. We’re allowed to be a bit out of sorts. It’s grey and slow and a bit eurgh right?

I’ve been doing a lot of “freezer cooking” this week – stews, tarts, pies – that sort of thing. But obviously missed my baking so decided to bring out the easiest (and tastiest) recipe there is.

I made a delicious Swedish Sockerkaka. It’s basically a Vanilla Sponge cake made in a pretty Bundt mould.

It’s one of the first things I ever made on my own. (yeah okay, bar chokladbollar, but they don’t require cooking so don’t really count!)

* A note about the Crumb mix though…

Like a said – it’s essentially a vanilla sponge cake. However; it’s all about the crumb. A lot of the taste and consistency lie in the crumb. If you have access to a Scandinavian shop I really recommend you get a Wasa Breadcrumb mix. It’s got a bit more ”umph” and flavour – it’s really worth it. (It’s a mixture of wheat and rye bread crumbs)

Ingredients:

• 3 eggs

• 3 dl caster sugar

• 3 1/2 dl plain flour

• 2 tsk baking powder

• 1 1/2 dl milk

• 50 g softened butter

How to:

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 155°C).

⁃ Thoroughly grease a 2 litre or 24 cm sockerkaka mould and sprinkle with *Wasa breadcrumbs

⁃ Beat the eggs and sugars with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

⁃ Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and then carefully fold into the mixture.

⁃ Melt the butter and then add the milk. Bring to a boil and then add to the mixture, beating on the lowest setting until evenly mixed

⁃ Pour the mixture into the mould and then bake at the bottom of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the mixture begins to pull away from the mould.

Sockerkaka

Enjoy!

Love, Jess ❤️

Black Forest Gâteau Trifle

Every year I say to myself “this year will be different. I’ll be ready with all my Christmas prep far in advance and it will all be a breeze.”

Yes… But that just isn’t possible with three kids, cake sales, PTA stuff, teacher’s gifts, Christmas baking, cooking, parties, work and everything in between. For me anyway!

But I do love Christmas. And I love Christmas food! But it can get stressful, particularly if you’re catering for a big family and friends. So I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are super yummy but also quick and easy.

So this is where the Black Forest Gâteau Trifle comes in to play.

Last year a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe, hands down the best trifle ever. It’s rich, sumptuous and above else, so easy to make.

The original recipe is by the Hairy Bikers! I have made this making my own custard, but honestly, using good quality shop bought quality custard works just as well!

Recipe:

For the chocolate custard

• 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

• 300ml whole milk

• 300ml double cream

• 1 vanilla pod, split

• 6 egg yolks

• 100g caster sugar

• 2 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1 tbsp cornflour

For the trifle

• 500g chocolate cake or brownies

• 50g black cherry or Morello cherry jam

• 100g kirsch or cherry brandy

• 300g pitted black cherries

• 200g amaretti biscuits

• 500ml double cream

• Chocolate curls, to decorate

Option 1:

1. First make the custard as this will need to chill before you make up the trifle. Melt the chocolate – either in the microwave or very carefully in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Leave to cool.

2. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod and bring to just-below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until cooled slightly.

3. Put the egg yolks, caster sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour into a bowl and whisk, preferably with electric beaters, until the mixture is very well aerated, pale and stiff enough so that it keeps shape when you trail the beaters through it.

4. Pour the slightly cooled milk and cream mixture over the eggs, mixing as you go, then stir in the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly, then rinse out the saucepan and return the custard to it. Cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens – this can take anything between 10 and 20 minutes depending on how high you dare have the heat. Do not have it on too low a heat as it will not thicken, but make sure you do not let the mixture boil and keep stirring.

5. When the custard has thickened to the point of thick double cream, transfer to a jug and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin from forming. When cool, transfer to the fridge – the custard will continue to thicken while it chills.

Option 2:

1. Gently heat your shop bought custard with the melted chocolate and let it rest.

2. To make the trifle, cut the brownies or chocolate cake into fairly thin slices and spread with the jam. Sandwich together and arrange in the bottom of a large trifle bowl. Pour over the kirsch or cherry brandy, then sprinkle over the cherries.

3. Put a layer of the amaretti biscuits over the cherries, then pour over the custard in a thick, even layer. If you have time, place in the fridge until almost ready to serve, again covered in cling film.

4. Whisk the double cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks, then smooth this over the custard. Decorate with chocolate curls.

Enjoy!

Jess ❤️

Syltgrottor/Thumbprint cookies

I love baking and my kids love baking.

I don’t however always love baking with the kids. Often it can be stressful, messy and chaotic.

But it CAN be enjoyable. What you need is some fool proof easy recipes and you’ll be ready for anything. Well, most things.

I go for recipes that are straightforward and that requires some kind of decorating part later. Kids are particularly ace at this part!

(Unless you’re a perfectionist like me and do find it mildly stressful too. You learn to breathe through it.)

I recently found this recipe in a Swedish magazine and it’s a winner. It’s definitely fool proof and your cookies will always turn out well! Your kids will love making these too, adding the jam and whatnot.

So as part of my Swedish, easy to make, kid friendly recipes, I’m going to kick things off with Syltgrottor (I hear they’re similar to Thumbprint cookies? Can anyone confirm?) .

Syltgrottor are a mixture between a shortbread and a Viennese type biscuit.

This recipe is a winner, and has never let me down.

***The key here is to not overwork the dough and chilling the dough before baking***

• 4 1/2 dl flour

• 1 dl caster sugar

• 1 tsp bakingpowder

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 200 g butter (room temp)

For the filling:

Your favourite type of jam. Recently we used Cloudberry and Wild Strawberry jam.

Recipe:

Turn your oven to 200°C. (180c if fan assisted)

Cream your butter and sugar. Once creamed, add your vanilla extract. Mix your dry ingredients in separate bowl.

Now quickly mix the ingredients until it all just comes together. (Don’t overwork the mixture!)

Let your dough rest in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a cylinder and then pinch off and roll each small piece, (about the size of a walnut), into small balls.

Now place the gently into fairy cake tins. Make a hole in the cookie using your thumb and add your jam. Pop into your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Take the cookies out and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy. ❤️

Love, Jess

Walnut and Coffee Birthday Cake

We had an amazing day yesterday celebrating Brooks’ birthday.

We ventured to a new restaurant at The Grove, Hertfordshire on the Saturday (a review to follow) and on the Sunday was spent in our local park.

All in all – a lovely birthday weekend.

We’re so lucky to live in the beautiful countryside with so many parks and lakes nearby. We used to live in London for years, but once we had Jackson we decided to move further out.

It’s honestly been the best decision for us as a family. (Albeit I miss London terribly of course! Luckily it’s only a 20 minute train ride away!)

Anyway. Cake.

I tried a new cake recipe! Brooks’ favourite cake is Coffee and Walnut cake so that’s what I made. The result was super tasty and I’ve shared the recipe here:

Ingredients:

• 225g butter

• 225g caster sugar

• 4 eggs

• 50ml strong espresso coffee

• 225g self-raising flour

• about 75g walnuts

For the buttercream topping

• 125g unsalted butter (room temperature)

• 200g icing sugar

• 50ml strong espresso coffee

Decorations:

Walnut halves and any chocolate bars you like. I used Wispas, Mini Fudges, Minstrels, Ballerina cookies (Swedish cookies – similar to a Chocolate Jammy Dodger), Mini Reese’s Cups, KitKat.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and pale.

3. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well to completely incorporate each egg before adding the next egg.

4. Add the espresso to the mixture and stir well.

5. Add the flour and walnuts and stir well to completely combine.

6. Spoon the cake mixture into two lined and greased 20cm/8in cake tins.

7. Transfer to the oven to bake 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden-brown.

8. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

9. For the buttercream topping, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a small bowl until pale and light.

10. Add the espresso and mix well.

11. Spread the buttercream over the top of each cake, then place one cake on top of the other.

12. Decorate the top of the cake with walnut halves as well as all the favourite chocolate bars!

Jessica’s Tiger Cake

I’m obsessed with cake tins. I must have about a dozen already.

I’m prepared for any kind of Cake Tin emergency. You name your party and I bet I have a tin to match.

Some tins are perhaps more obvious than other.

Like my super cute gingerbread man tin and the equally adorable snowman tin. I also have Halloween covered with my Skull and Pumpkin tins.

I also have a Swedish Dala Häst tin, a Crayfish tin, a Darth Vader tin and a Spider man tin.

I also have more “traditional” shaped Socker Kaka cake tins.

Us Swedes do love a Socker kaka. And who can blame us, they’re delicious and easy to make. And goes so well with coffee.

A triple threat type of cake.

A traditional Socker Kaka was one of the first cakes I learned to make.

Speaking of tins, I recently acquired this beauty. How gorgeous?! It’s from the American company Nordic Ware.

But it’s no use having lots of tins if you’re not going to use it so today I tried making a Swedish classic sponge Cake, a Tiger Kaka.

I added some home made hazelnut butter too. We don’t buy the ready made kind… (I’m sure you’ve all seen the super cute banner advert. If not, here you go)

Anyway, adding the hazelnut butter made it even more scrumptious.

Here’s the recipe:

Jessica’s Tiger kaka

4 dl flour

2 1/2 dl caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Dash of vanilla extract

50 g margarine

1 dl milk or single cream

2 tbsp cacao

2 tbsp hazelnut butter

Heat your oven to 160°C (fan assisted)

Butter your cake tin and add the bread crumbs.

Whisk your butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add your eggs, one at a time.

Mix the dry ingredients, add the milk and gently fold into your butter and sugar mixture.

Put a 1/3 of your batter into a bowl. Mix in the cacao.

Add vanilla to the other batter mix.

Put the vanilla batter into your tin. Add the hazelnut butter into little chunks. And finally, pour over your cacao mixture. Using a fork, gently mix the two different batters and nut butter together. It doesn’t have to be precise.

Put your cake in the bottom part of the oven for about 45-60 minutes.

Check with a cake stick, if the batter comes off the stick then it’s done!

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes inside the tin.

Take the cake out of the tin and let it cool on a rack.

Once cooled you can dust some icing on top or just leave it as it is.

Enjoy. ❤️

Love, Jess

Holy Mackerel – Alfie’s Party

Holy mackerel. What a party! 💙 Today we celebrated Alfie with lots of our family and friends. 

As usual I was running around all over, (#threekids) but we all had such a lovely time.  The kids had decided we should have a Under the Sea theme. 

I love a party theme.

To be fair, I love a party. In fact, if you know me well you’ll know not only do I love a party, but I particularly organising and planning a party. Any kind of party! 

The morning was spent sorting out the party food and decorations. 

Ocean Blue Scallop square dish
Ocean Blue Scallop dish

Honeycomb decorations
Honeycomb and Fan decorations

 

 

I got most of the decorations and balloons from eBay and some of the helium balloons from Morrison’s. Their party section really is excellent and good value too. 

I’m in love with these honeycomb decorations. And you can order a set in a colour scheme which is so handy too. I chose blue green and then bought some Aqua blue shade fans to go with it. 

We put popcorn in little buckets and added a sprinkle of mermaid glitter. 

Popcorn in a bucket y’all
Mermaid sprinkles. What’s not to love?
A banner just for Alfred

We had personalised Alfred banners and Blue 1st birthday balloons. (You can never have too many balloons in my mind) 

I love serving salads at parties as it’s simple to make for big numbers and easy to individualise by adding a few ingredients here and there. 

Also. Salads mean I can have lots of cake for dessert. Win – win.

Today was no different and this is one of the salads on the party smorgasbord.  

Roasted pumpkin and sweet potato salad

This super yummy (and healthy!) salad is made up with green leaves, spinach, roasted pumpkin, roasted sweet potatoes, walnuts and pomegranate. 

Drizzle some balsamic glaze over and you’ll be all set. 

Another popular salad is a broccoli coleslaw salad with roasted cashew nuts and dried cranberries from Costco. It’s simply divine and a firm staple on all our party tables.  

Sandwich cutter – dolphins and ❤️

As well as some good old sausage rolls I also made ham and cheese sandwiches in the shape of dolphins for the kids that all went down very well. 

Under the Sea Quiz. Kept the adults busy for ages – result

Alfred’s granny had made all the cakes and they looked and tasted amazing!

Cupcake Fish Cake
Vanilla sponge cake
Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing and edible sea creatures on top

And how about this weather we’re having?!We were sitting outside, in the sunshine, whilst the kids were running around playing in the garden in October!

We couldn’t have asked for a better set up. 

That sky…

Now it’s time to put my feet up, have some bubbles and catch up on Strictly. Happy Saturday everyone! 

How to make Swiss Meringue Raspberry Buttercream Icing

Söndagsbak.

It all starts off so harmoniously and zen.

You and your Child relaxed and ready to do some baking together.

Bonding time.

The Child gets to stir and mix the batter and help pour the batter into the cake tin. Most of the precious cake batter ends up on the floor and although you flinch involuntarily, you’re still pretty zen and it’s okay because, you know, it’s baking with Child time. But then halfway through, whilst stirring your Swiss meringue icing thinking why on Earth you decided to attempt a **Swiss Meringue, you realise that – No! You’re not actually that relaxed about the whole baking with Child thing and “No! you can’t pour oregano into the egg whites!!”

Still.

It was lovely to eat the cake in the end. And the icing was to die for.

Here’s the icing recipe I used:

Swiss Meringue Raspberry Buttercream

I started with my raspberry coulis. I heated the raspberries on a gentle heat in a pot until they were breaking down.

Once cooled, I ran it through the food processors and finally through a sieve to remove the pips.

Onto your icing. Your eggs should be at room temperature. Leave those bad boys out early on so they’re ready for baking time.

Whip your egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. The bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Keep whisking continuously. You need to keep going until it turns silky and smooth. The mixture will turn thinner and frothier as you go on.

A good tip is that if you rub the mixture between your fingers and if it’s grainy then KEEP GOING. (It took about 10 minutes of continuous stirring to get to this point). It’s really weird because I kept thinking it’s neeeeeeveer going to turn and then suddenly you end up with a silky and smooth texture.

The next step is important. Make sure your mixture is cool completely before you start adding your butter!

It’ll end up a runny mess otherwise – take my word for it! Ahem…

Once the mixture is cool, start whisking until stiff peaks. (Coincidentally this is a good time to reintroduce Child to the baking process. Try the old “I will flip the Meringue mixture over my head to see if it’s set.”)

Anyway. The result is amazing. The icing is so silky and luxurious!

Now you add your butter. It should be room temperature but still be able to hold its shape.

Add about a tablespoon at a time, and keep mixing.

Once I had added all my butter I mixed in the raspberry coulis, a pinch of sea salt (balance is everything right?) and stirred.

The result was absolutely fantastic! I’ll definitely be using this frosting/icing from now on. So tasty and not too sweet. Just spot on.

*Do not worry if your mixture is too runny. It’s still salvageable. I put it back into the fridge to cool down for twenty minutes and it was good to go.

**It really wasn’t that much extra work. It sounds like a palaver but it’s not. Trust me.