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Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns

January 22, 2015 | 7 Comments

Ohhh, those delicious buns of delight and loveliness. It’s the season and we have a great recipe.

Lent buns (Semla for singular, Semlor for plural) are buns eaten leading up to and during Lent in Scandinavia. In Sweden the are most popular and bakeries start selling these already in January. Fat Tuesday – Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras – is the day when we eat at least one and maybe more of these buns. We basically fatten up before Lent.

You will never ever find Semlor buns sold outside the season – it is just not done. So, take advantage of the season now that runs until Easter and have a go at making these seriously rich buns at home.

Let us tell you that the little dollop of custard or creme patisserie makes all the difference. Thats just our little trick and hint for an extra delicious bun.


Love, The Kitchen People


Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns
Recipe Type: Baking
Cuisine: Swedish
Author: Bronte Aurell
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A delicious bun eaten for Lent.
  • 25g fresh yeast (or 12g active dry yeast)
  • 80g melted butter
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Approximately 300-400g plain bread flour
  • ½ egg for brushing
  • Filling:
  • 100g Marzipan
  • A good dollop of custard or crème pâtisserie
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. If using mixer, set it up with the dough hook attachment. Melt the butter and add the milk, ensuring a lukewarm temperature of around 37-38ºC. Add the fresh yeast and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add the ½ egg (preserve the other half for brushing before baking).
  3. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and then start to add more of the flour, bit by bit, until you have a dough that is only a little bit sticky. Take care not to add too much flour: you will get dry buns. Knead the dough for at least five minutes in the mixer, longer by hand. Leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until doubled in size (30-40 min).
  4. Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Take care that the balls are completely round and uniform in size. Place on baking tray with good spacing between buns. Leave to rise for another 25-30 minutes.
  5. Gently brush each bun with the remainder of the egg wash and bake in a hot oven (200ºC) for about 8-10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the tray with a lightly damp tea towel immediately – this will prevent the buns from forming a crust.
  6. When the buns have cooled down completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1½ cm from the top. Scoop out about 1/3 of the inside of the bun and place crumbs in a separate bowl.
  7. Mix the almond paste with the crumb until it forms a very sticky mass –add a dash of milk, custard or crème pâtisserie at this point to help it along. You want a spoonable, even mixture. Spoon the filling back into the buns, equally divided. Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar until stiff and use a piping bag to pipe cream on all the buns’ tops. Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust with icing sugar.
Shop all ingredients you need for Semlor here 

Recipe: Romkugler (rum flavour chocolate treats)

October 14, 2014 | Leave a comment


Back in the day, the Danish bakers needed to find a use for all the left over Danish pastry, seeing as they could never sell it on the second day. And thus, Romkugler (literally: Rum balls) were born.

Danes will often tell you this is one of those treats they miss most from home (in Sweden they are known as Arrakballs). We all used to pop by the bakers on the way home from school and get a few of these cheap but delicious treats. Its a taste of our childhood.

So, to make these, you need some leftover bits of cake and pastry.  When we made some today, we used 2 cinnamon Danish whirls, 2 raspberry crowns and 1 cinnamon bun. But you can use different things (although we have found that French croissants and pain au chocolate don’t work as well).

Blitz the day old pastries in a food processor, then add 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam, 2 heaped  tablespoons cocoa powder and then 2 tablespoons of rum essence (you can also use real rum, but because these are not cooked, the flavour will be strong and the alcohol will not evaporate).

Blend everything together until you have a smooth mass, then shape into golf ball sized pieces.  Roll in chocolate sprinkles or desiccated coconut.  Chill for a bit – and serve.

We recommend eating the day you make these, but they are probably good the day after, too. Its unlikely to be an issue, though… They usually don’t last the day as they are very moorish.


Shop around for more Scandi food…


A very Danish coffee time in South Jutland


by Bronte Aurell

I have family in the southern part of Jutland (the part of Denmark that’s connected to continental Europe),  and one of the most vivid memories of my childhood is hearing of the elaborate gatherings known as ‘Sønderjysk Kaffebord’ – literally, a ‘Southern Jutland coffee table’.

Danes love meeting up for coffee and cake of course, but in the south of Jutland, they take it to the extreme. There, a normal coffee time features  seven types of soft cake, and seven kinds of biscuits. Anything less just won’t do.

Such gatherings first became popular in the mid-1800s, when indoor ovens became increasingly commonplace (communal ovens were the norm in  villages and on farms). As home baking became easier, the availability of recipe books led to people experimenting more, and the variety of coffee-time goodies increased accordingly.

While extreme rationing during the First World War meant that southern Jutland’s coffee times were a more austere affair, they took on a new significance during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in the Second World War. The occupiers outlawed public meetings, but welcoming guests for (ersatz) coffee in the home was permitted. So what better way to discuss resistance than doing it while stuffing your face full of delicious baking at the same time?

Of course, there was also an element of out-doing the neighbours. At communal coffee times at a village hall, each wife would bring her cake. But maybe Gerda would bring two different cakes, while Katrine down the road might attempt to outdo her with four types of biscuits. A bake-off gone nuts.

These days,  a typical Southern Jutland coffee table is served in hotels and restaurants, and also sometimes at weddings, christenings and funerals. In fact, the other day I called my dad, who was on his way to Sønderborg with my uncle. He told me that a distant relative had sadly passed away, and they were attending the funeral. I offered my condolences – to which I heard my uncle chirpily reply in the background : “Ah, but there’s a full coffee table afterwards!”.

How to do it – the original way

Present seven types of soft cakes and seven types of biscuits or hard cakes.

People gathered around the table to take one portion or slice of EACH soft cake on your plate AT THE SAME TIME. Yes, really.  You don’t have to do that any more, but that is the tradition. The reasoning was that if you got full up and hadn’t yet tasted Helle’s delicious strieftorte, it just would not do.

How to serve?

Start with the soft cakes, followed by the hard cakes. Always. Never the other way round.

There is a huge list to choose from – some that probably wouldn’t appeal to our pallets these days. The popular ones will always be layer cakes of all shapes and sizes, from strawberry with crème pâtisserie, to ones made with berries from the garden. You will probably always have someone attempting a rye bread layer cake (it’s an interesting thing). Kartoffelkage  is another good one – literally ‘potato cake’, but it has nothing to do with potatoes. And then are are tarts, kringles – and so it goes on….

The hard items include fried wheat biscuits known as ‘klejner’, as well as the more familiar  butter cookies.

My very favourite kaffebord item is a  biscuit called ‘Ingenting’ which literally means ‘nothing’.

Ingentings are the last biscuit served. A host would ask a guest what more they could eat, to which they would answer ‘ingenting’. And so the guest  be offered precisely that – one of these deliciously light, soft meringue biscuits. Because there is always room for nothing.


How to make Nothing.

Makes around 30 biscuits

Author: Bronte Aurell
  • The biscuit:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • Lemon zest
  • The topping:
  • 2 egg whites
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Optional: 3 tbsp finely chopped almonds
  1. Method:
  2. In a food processor blitz the ingredients for the biscuits (if you don’t have a processor, crumble the cold butter into the flour, then incorporate the rest of the ingredients). Do not work the dough too much. When it is smooth, pop it in a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
  3. Meanwhile, make the meringue topping. Whisk the egg whites with a teeny pinch of salt. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla sugar, bit by bit, and whisk on high speed until you have a shiny, glossy, firm mixture that forms sharp peaks. This will take quite a while. At the end, add the vinegar and – if using – the chopped almonds.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the same height as a digestive biscuit. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits and place on a baking tray. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  5. Either spoon out or use a piping bag to get the meringue mixture on to each biscuit. I like quite a thick layer (so the meringue stays gooey in the middle), but if you prefer less, this also works.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven at 150 degrees for around 15 minutes until the base is cooked. I usually leave mine in the over with the door open for a further fifteen minutes,but this is optional.
  7. Variations: add colouring, different flavours and experiment. This really is a lovely light treat and worth the effort.


Prinsesstarta (Princess Torte)

September 5, 2014 | 2 Comments

Prinsesstarta (Princess Cake) is the most famous cake in Sweden. The Swedes love it so much, there is even a Prinsesstarta week.

Traditionally a celebration cake, Prinsesstårta  is a layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge, raspberry or strawberry jam, patisserie cream, and a thick layer of whipped cream. This is topped with green marzipan, sprinkled with powdered sugar with a pink marzipan rose on top. If it’s your birthday, you get to eat the rose. It’s the law.

This recipe is easy to follow and it’s definitely worth trying. Even if you don’t have time to make this yummy cake from scratch you can still impress people with our cheat’s version (see the bottom of the page). It is quick, simple, but oh so delicious.


Prinsesstårta (Princess Cake)
  • 75g raspberry jam
  • [b]For the vanilla patisserie cream[/b]
  • NOTE: Needs to be cooled before using in the cake or the cream will split.
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 45g corn flour
  • [b]For the cake layers[/b]
  • 5 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla sugar
  • [b]For the Whipped Cream[/b]
  • 700ml whipping cream
  • 2tbs icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla sugar
  • [b]To garnish:[/b]
  • [url href=”http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/product/odense-fardigt-marsipanlock-200g/”]1 marzipan lid[/url] or 300g marzipan and green food coloring
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • [b]Marzipan Rose[/b]
  • 40 g marzipan
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • 1 drop green food coloring
  1. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add to a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil. Take care not to burn and turn off heat as soon as boiling point is reached.
  2. Whisk egg yolk and sugar until it goes almost white, then turn off the whisk and add the corn flour. Turn the whisk back on medium and slowly add the hot milk to the bowl, whisking continuously.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute to thicken. Turn off, sieve the mixture into a bowl, cling film and cool down completely in the fridge before using.
  4. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  5. Trace 3 identical circles onto baking paper – approximately 20-22 cm diameter. Place baking paper onto flat baking trays.
  6. Whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. The key here, is to whisk for a long time to incorporate as much air as possible as there are not raising agents in the mixture.
  7. Sift flour and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold, very carefully, until completely incorporated. Preserve as much air as possible, so fold carefully but thoroughly.
  8. Carefully divide the batter between the three circles and ensure batter fills the circles all the way around, neatly.
  9. Bake in the oven until just golden brown and done – this will depend on your oven, but 5-6 minutes is usually fine.
  10. Remove from and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Very carefully remove the baking paper – if it sticks, wet the back of the paper a little bit and it should come off with more ease.
  11. On high speed, whisk all ingredients for the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. The cream needs to be quite firm to hold when decorating the cake – but take care not to over whip.
  12. Divide the cream into two equal portions. Fold one half of the whipped cream together with the cold vanilla patisserie cream until completely incorporated (The other half is used to decorate the final cake).
  13. Place the first layer cake on the plate you wish to serve on. Spread a nice layer of raspberry jam, follow by a 1cm thick layer of the patisserie cream / whipped cream mixture. Add another cake layer and repeat over again and then add the final cake layer on top (You may have a bit of excess custard cream left).
  14. On the top sponge layer, carefully add the whipped cream in a “dome” shape – you will need to use a spatula here to get it quite smooth all over. You’re looking for around 3-4 cm “top” on the cake. Then carefully place the marzipan lid on top and over the edge of the cake, making sure the sides are completely covered and smooth.
  15. Garnish:
  16. Add the marzipan lid.
  17. If you make your own marzipan lid, add the food colouring to the marzipan and roll it out into a round plate which you then put on the cake.
  18. Sift powdered sugar on top.
  19. Use a piping nozzle and any leftover whipped cream to pipe rosettes of cream around the edge to hide the bottom of the marzipan and any folds.
  20. To make a rose: add few drops of food colouring to the marzipan – add icing sugar if it gets too sticky. Roll out a 1 mm thick piece, 2 cm wide and around 10 cm long. Roll it up loosely, nip the bottom together, spread the leaves a bit and voila: A marzipan rose to the top of your cake
  21. This cake greatly improves after a few hours in the fridge so all the flavours are soaked into the cake layers.


Princesstarta – Cheat’s version
Author: Bronte Aurell
  • 1 pack [url href=”http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/?product=karen-volf-lagkagebunde-3-pack-2″]lagekage bunde [/url]
  • 1 pack [url href=”http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/product/maizena-kagecreme-vanilje-180g/”]kagecreme[/url] (crème patisserie)
  • 1 pack [url href=”http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/product/odense-fardigt-marsipanlock-200g/”]Odense green marzipan lid [/url]
  • 1 Tillmanns raspberry jam
  • 700 ml whipping cream
  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • Some marzipan to colour for a red flower
  • Few drops of red food colouring
  1. Whip the cream together with a few table spoons of icing sugar. Whip it to hard peaks (not soft)
  2. Make the Creme patisserie: 1 sachet of kagecreme powder mixed with 500ml whole milk. Whisk well and chill for 15 minutes in fridge before using.
  3. To assemble the cake:
  4. Remove packaging from sponge cake layers. On your chosen tray, add first layer of sponge. Add on top a thin layer of raspberry jam, then add half the crème patisserie evenly all over. Add sponge layer and repeat. Add top lid.
  5. On the top sponge layer, carefully add the whipped cream in a “dome” shape – you will need to use a spatula here to get it quite smooth all over. You’re looking for around 3-4 cm “top” on the cake.
  6. Once you are happy with the whipped cream, add the green lid. This is the tricky bit. Carefully unwrap the lid and line it up to go on the cake. You only have one shot at this as it is hard to move. Once placed, carefully press the sides down around the cake. Some cream may seep out, so use a spoon to wipe any excess so the lid will fit snugly
  7. Use a piping nozzle and any leftover whipped cream to pipe rosettes of cream around the edge to hide the bottom of the marzipan and any folds.
  8. To make a rose: add few drops of food colouring to the marzipan – add icing sugar if it gets too sticky. Roll out a 1 mm thick piece, 2 cm wide and around 10 cm long. Roll it up loosely, nip the bottom together, spread the leaves a bit and voila: A marzipan rose to the top of your cake

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