It was another warm and sunny day here on the Northern beaches of Sydney yesterday. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch on our balcony with my husband's parents and I had made this retro cake for dessert. My mum used to make these types of cakes for every birthday (or any other celebration) and I remember how much I loved them back then.
This cake, known simply as "täytekakku" (täyte=filling, kakku=cake), is made of a sponge cake, cut in layers, filled with fruit and topped with whipped cream and fruit (mum would sometimes use lollies for kids' birthday cakes). Like most Finnish desserts, it is not overly sweet and despite the cream topping, it's not heavy at all.
As you can see, I went all out with 80's style fruit decorations and even added a colourful tray. I am definitely not one to make fiddly fondant decorations, but cutting up fruit and sticking them in cream even I can handle. This cake was as tasty as I remembered from my childhood and a perfect dessert for such a nice day.
4 large eggs
185g caster sugar
130g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 big tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1 x tin pineapple pieces
1 x tin sliced peaches, cut in small pieces
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/4 teaspoons ground vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fruit of choice for decoration
1. Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and add to egg-sugar mixture through a sieve. Gently stir to combine. Pour the mixture to a greased and floured tin and bake in 175C for 25-30 minutes.
2. Cut the cooled down cake in 3 layers. Moisten the first two layers with apple sauce and pineapple juice mixture OR with plain milk. Top these two layers with mashed banana, pineapple and peach mixture and place the final layer on top.
3. Sweeten the cream with sugar and vanilla and whip until soft, but stiff enough to stay on the cake. Spread the cream all over the cake and decorate with fruit. Store in the fridge before serving.
I finally had a chance to try lemon and olive oil marinated fennel, highly recommended by a friend who also happens to be one of my favourite bloggers. I love fennel as it is, but the simple marinade of lemon and olive oil truly take it to a whole new level. I whipped up a quick lunch by adding baby spinach leaves (but you could use rocket, if you have it), thinly sliced pear and macadamia nuts to fennel I had marinated for a couple of hours in the fridge.
Marinated Fennel and Pear Salad
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pear, thinly sliced
baby spinach or rocket leaves
macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1. Add fennel, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl. Toss to combine and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
2. To serve, simply toss the marinated fennel with the rest of the ingredients.
Next week, Finland (and many other countries, for that matter) is celebrating May Day or vappu, as we call it in Finnish. I've written about this spring carnival before, here. This year I didn't make sima (mead) or doughnuts, but another traditional vappu treat, tippaleipä ('drop bread' also known as funnel cake). These pastries are actually much like deep-fried pancakes and not very sweet at all. They are relatively quick to make and end up being quite light despite being deep fried in oil. For someone like me, who is terrified of deep-frying and only ever makes (or eats) deep-fried anything once or twice a year, tippaleipä is an easy and safe option. A word of warning, however, these are as quick and easy to eat as they are to make!
Hauskaa vappua! Happy May Day!
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pure ground vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
260g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 litre canola oil, for frying
icing sugar, for serving
1.Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk into a smooth dough.
2. Heat oil in a pot and place a metal ring (or you can use a deep ladle) into the oil. Scoop the dough into a piping bag (you may have to work in two batches).
3. Once the oil is hot, pipe the dough into the ring making little figures of eight. Fry for a minute or two on each side, until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak the extra oil. Dust with icing sugar before serving.