Across Scandinavia in December you will likely be offered a saffron-flavoured Lucia bun in honour of the Feast of St Lucia. We also make this beautiful, light saffron cake with pears – it’s a perfect autumn and winter cake with warm flavours.
• 30g breadcrumbs
• 50g butter
• 100ml whole milk
• ½g ground saffron
• 2 large or 3 small pears
• a little lemon juice
• 325g caster sugar
• 4 eggs
• 300g plain flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp of salt
• 50g Greek yogurt
• icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Grease a 25cm bundt pan or ring pan and dust it with the breadcrumbs, tipping out the excess.
Melt the butter and add the milk and ground saffron. Stir to combine and set aside to infuse.
Peel and core the pears and cut into bite-sized chunks. Add a dash of lemon juice, stir and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until thick, light and fluffy using a balloon whisk or a hand-held electric whisk.
Mix the remaining dry ingredients together and sift into the egg mixture. Fold in until incorporated.
Add the Greek yogurt and saffron-milk mixture and fold gently until completely combined.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Add the pieces of pear – these will sink down during baking.
Bake for around 30–35 minutes in the preheated oven or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the pan before turning out onto a serving tray. Dust with icing sugar and serve, sliced, with a good dollop of whipped cream.
Norway has lots of great cakes – but we think that Verden’s Bedste really is one of the best ones. Perfect for Norway Day on 17th May.
Calling something the ‘world’s best cake’ is quite a statement, but not something taken lightly by the Norwegians. This cake contains the most delicious whipped cream, sponge, pastry cream and meringue – it’s everything you could ever want wrapped up together in one bite. This cake is so seriously good that it is often labelled the national cake of Norway. It is also known as Kvæfjord cake. Kvæfjord is a municipality in Tromsø in northern Norway, an absolutely stunning place with picture-perfect rolling green hills, rocky fells and deep blue fjords . To eat this cake in that setting: it doesn’t get better than that, at least not in our mind.
Recipe taken from ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Bronte Aurell (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99) Photography by the amazing Peter Cassidy.
150 g butter
130 g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
150 g plain flour or cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar OR extract OR use the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
100 ml whole milk
150 ml whipping cream
1/2 portion of Pastry Cream (you can use ‘Kagecreme’ – powder stirred with milk – ready in 5 mins – or make your own).
5 egg whites
A pinch of cream of tartar
250 g caster sugar
75 g flaked almonds
a 35 x 25-cm/14 x 93/ 4-inch rectangular cake pan, greased and lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.
In a stand mixer (or using a hand-held electric whisk) cream together the butter and sugar until pale and light. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating to ensure everything is well incorporated. Sift in the plain or cake flour, baking powder and vanilla and fold in. Lastly, add the whole milk and fold again until fully combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly and set aside aside for a moment.
Next make the meringue topping. Using a completely clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the sugar very slowly, bit by bit, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Spread the meringue mixture on top of the cake mixture. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the meringue is firm. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan then turn out carefully, so the meringue is still on top. Leave to cool completely.
Whip the cream until stiff and fold together with the pastry cream.
To assemble, cut the cake into two halves. On one half, spread the pastry cream mixture, then carefully layer the other half on top. Leave to set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. The meringue will stay mallowy and the base soft.
250g ‘Pepparkakor’ ginger thins (or other Nordic style ginger biscuits)
75g whole almonds
1 x 400g tin of Carnation Caramel/Dulce de Leche
100g light brown sugar
Maldon sea salt flakes
300ml whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla sugar or extract
25g chopped dark chocolate
In a food processor, blitz the almonds until finely chopped (but not ground). You can do this by hand, but make sure you chop finely. Add the biscuits and give it a few pulses so they crush and mix with the almonds.
Melt the butter and add to the biscuits and combine well. Press the mixture into the tart tin and set aside.
In a saucepan, add sugar and butter and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the caramel and stir until combined, then take it off the heat and pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Scatter a small amount of salt flakes across the caramel filling before placing in the fridge for at least an hour (or even over night).
To finish the pie, whip the cream and vanilla until peaks form. Slice the bananas, toss them in a bit of lemon juice to prevent them from going brown too quickly, and arrange the slices on the top of the caramel base. Top with the whipped cream, neatly spread across the cake – and finish with finely chopped dark chocolate.