One of the things I love about living in a country with distinct seasons is how the food that we eat changes as we move from one season to the next. In summer it’s all about fruit, salads, seafood, barbecues and chilled rose wine, preferably enjoyed al fresco with the warm sun beating down. As the weather gets colder I start to crave richer and heavier foods like casseroles, lasagne (with or without the pasta), apple pie, and look forward to sipping hot chocolate or red wine in front of an open fire.
I’m sure my waistline would benefit from living in a warmer climate but my taste buds would definitely miss the autumnal fare. I am starting to draw up a list of recipes that I want to try this season but in the meantime this lemon and white chocolate cake is perfect for the Indian summer we’re having at the moment when it’s still warm enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake out in the garden.
- 100 g butter
- 100 g white chocolate
- 2 egg
- 200 ml sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250 ml plain flour
- Grated zest from one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy
- Melt the butter and stir in the chocolate. Add to the bowl
- Stir in the flour, lemon zest and juice
- Pour the batter into a greased loose base cake tin
- Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven at 200 degrees
- Sift over some icing sugar and serve with raspberries and whipped cream
I made this cake for the annual Mother’s Day tea party at Casper’s Beaver Scouts group this afternoon. It is such a lovely occasion; the boys are all dressed in their uniforms and look so proud as they show their mums to the tables and ask if they want tea or coffee, milk (skimmed or semi skimmed), sugar (how many) and what type of cake – lots of questions for a seven-year-old to remember! Casper did very well, especially as he had not only me to attend to but also his brother and sister who were both eager to get stuck into all the lovely cakes. At the end, all the mums were presented with a small bunch of daffodils and a homemade card with a picture of their son inside. So sweet!
Personally I’m not a big fan of chocolate cake but ask Casper what his favourite thing in the world is and I guarantee that he will say ‘chocolate’. So you can imagine his delight when I suggested that we make this gooey chocolate cake with a chocolate fudge topping AND Smarties for the tea party!
Gooey Chocolate Cake
100 g melted butter
230 g caster sugar
100 g flour 40 40 g cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
A generous handful of chopped Daim
100 ml double cream
40 g caster sugar
50 ml golden syrup
50 g dark chocolate
50 g butter
Smarties, mini marshmallows or other sweets
Turn the oven to 175 degrees. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the melted butter and finally the eggs and combine thoroughly. Stir in the Daim pieces and pour the batter into a prepared loose bottomed cake tin.
Bake in the middle of the oven for around 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the tin. The cake should not be completely set in the middle. Let it cool down completely before you make the fudge topping.
Combine all the ingredients for the topping, apart from the butter, in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes until it thickens (make sure it doesn’t burn!). Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the butter until you get a smooth fudge mixture. Spread the topping over the cake and let it cool slightly. Scatter Smarties, mini marshmallows or other sweets over before the topping sets completely. Put the cake in the fridge, ideally overnight, before serving.
I realise this is a bit of a departure from my previous healthy living post but I just downloaded last week’s photos from my camera and wanted to share this recipe with you. Sockerkaka (meaning: Sugar cake) is incredibly popular in Sweden and it is the perfect cake to whip up when you have unexpected company as it’s so simple to make and pretty much all the ingredients are cupboard staples. I made this last week when my friend and her daughter came over, it took me no more than ten minutes to mix up the batter once the kids had gone to school and then I could get on with my work while it was baking in the oven. You could add other flavours such as cocoa powder or lemon juice and zest but this is the original (and in my opinion the best) recipe:
180 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
50 g butter
100 ml milk
220 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla essence until white and fluffy. Melt the butter and stir in the milk, then add that to the mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and carefully fold into the batter. Pour into a prepared ring cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Christmas for me is all about traditions – carrying on old ones from my childhood as well as creating new ones just for our family. Despite having lived in the UK since the age of ten, when I was growing up we always celebrated a traditional Swedish Christmas (with a few English twists). Much of the festive season revolves around food and in Sweden saffron is synonymous with Christmas. For St Lucia Day (read more about it here), which falls on December 13, it is customary to serve bright yellow saffron buns studded with raisins. While the buns are rather time consuming to make as the dough needs to rise (but they are oh, so worth it, I will share the recipe when I do make them), this cake takes hardly any time at all. My eldest son has inherited my love for saffron so I made it for his birthday earlier this month and I’ll make another one for the first of advent to serve along with Glögg (similar to mulled wine) and gingerbread biscuits.
100g unsalted butter
100g white chocolate
0.5g saffron (if you’re near a Scandinavian food store you can usually buy the saffron powder in tiny (but expensive) bags)
1 tsp vanilla essence
130g plain flour
Melt the butter together with the white chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the saffron and put to one side.Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until white and fluffy. Add the chocolate and butter mixture and stir until combined. Sift in the flour and carefully fold it in. Pour the butter into a prepared spring form cake tin. Bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on the desire texture (I like the cake to be slightly gooey in the middle). Allow it to cool before serving.
Autumn means apples are in abundance and, whether they’re from your own tree or from the greengrocer, it’s the perfect time to make apple pie and apple cake. This recipe is by children’s cookery writer Annabel Karmel but, as my husband can’t eat wheat, I substituted the flour for a gluten free alternative. Apart from how simple it is to prepare, the beauty of this truly delicious cake is that it will stay moist for at least a week, because it is made with sunflower oil rather than butter.
5 Granny Smith (or other) apples
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
450g (15oz) granulated sugar
375g (12oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond essence
2 tsp vanilla essence
250ml (8fl oz) sunflower oil
icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- Peel and slice the apples thinly and place in a bowl. Toss with the cinnamon, orange juice and 100g (3 1/2 oz) of the sugar.
- Ina separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and the remaining sugar). Add the eggs one at a time, then add the almond and vanilla essences along with the oil.
- Grease a deep ring tin or other decorative moulded cake tin, such as a Cathedral mould. Pour in a third of the batter, then half the sliced apple mixture, then a third more of the batter, followed by the rest of the apple mixture. Finish with the remaining third of the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When mostly cool remove from the pan and cool further.
- To serve, dust the top of the cake with sieved icing sugar.
For Clemmie’s birthday party last weekend I made a gluten free chocolate cake in lieu of a traditional birthday cake so that my husband, who suffers from coeliac disease, could have a slice too. The cake turned out really well – nice and gooey on the inside – and tasted delicious with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream.
- 100 g margarine or butter
- 3 eggs
- 250 g caster sugar
- 90 g gluten free flour
- 5 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
1. Melt the butter or margarine over a low heat and let it cool
2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy
3. Combine the gluten free flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and carefully fold into the sugar and egg mixture
4. Add the melted butter or margarine and stir to combine
5. Grease a springform cake tin and coat it with cocoa powder before pouring in the batter
6. Bake in the oven at 150°C for 25-30 minutes.