I’m obsessed with everything Scandinavian (some of you may know that I’ve just written the recipes and contributed some of the food photography for a book called Nordic Style for Viking Cruises along with Liz Jarvis and Sara Malm – super proud!). I especially love how the Scandinavians do Christmas, and, knowing that Homesense often have extra special bits and pieces from around the globe, I headed to my nearest store to find some inspiration for a Scandi Christmas, and a few bits for some special Scandi Christmas cookies.
As you might remember, I’ve got a bit of a ‘thing’ for Nordic Ware. My love affair started with my heart shaped tin and has since progressed to individual present-shaped tins, and of course the ‘holiday tree’ pan used in Nigella’s wonderful ‘spruced up vanilla cake‘ from her Nigella Christmas book.
I should really save this recipe until Christmas because it would be perfect baked in the next tin I’ve got my eye on, the Nordic Ware Yule Log Cake Pan. Still, watch this space – I might still resurrect it.
My lovely Dutch friend Bee (you can find her wonderful Family Food Blog here) is something of an expert on Bundt baking. She gave me the recipe that this cake was originally based on, taken from a cute little book she has called ‘Kiss My Bundt’ by Chrysta Wilson. Bee says ‘I’ve played around with it quite a lot so far – I’ve added rose water, strong coffee, almond extract, Earl Grey Tea – and most recently, Frangelico and hazelnuts‘. Basically, she says, when you come to add the boiling water, this is where you can add whatever you like as long as it’s liquid, and you keep the amount the same.
I’ve adapted this recipe to UK measurements (and fiddled with it a tiny bit) and have made it LOADS. It always comes out well as long as you remember the golden Bundt rule: you must COPIOUSLY spray the tin with cake release spray (or butter it really well), then coat in a layer of cocoa powder (you can use flour but it shows up on the finished cake – hence the hasty drizzle of melted chocolate on my one, above), turning it and tapping so that it coats the whole can, then tipping out the excess.
You’ll be surprised how liquid the batter is, but that’s the thing with Bundt tins: becuse they’ve got that big hole in the middle, the cake cooks really evenly. If you don’t have a Bundt tin, try using a large round cake tin and upending something like a ramekin in the middle.
You will need:
300g caster sugar
180g plain flour
50g good quality cocoa powder
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 rounded tsp baking soda
1 level tsp salt
100g butter, melted, or 125ml rapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water (or other liquid)
First, preheat the oven to 180/gas 4 and prepare your tin as above. Stand it on a baking sheet and check that it will fit in the oven.
Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
In the food processor, mix the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla well together, then add the dry ingredients slowly, a spoonful at a time. Lastly, mix in the boiling water. Give it a final stir to make sure there’s no thick batter left at the bottom, then pour into the prepared tin (sit the tin on a baking sheet first so it’s easy to manoeuvre it into the oven)
Bake for 45 minutes and COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE REMOVING IT!! Pop a plate over the tin and tip over with one strong, confident movement.
Serve as it is (it’s lovely and rich) or cover it with foil and warm it gently, then serve it with pouring cream as a dessert. Yum scrum.
So recently, my Mum asked me if I’d make a cake for her church fete. It’s been a while since I’ve cracked out my favourite heart shaped Nordic Ware bundt tin (I love Nordic Ware – remember Nigella Christmas and the pine forest cake?). This is the easiest cake to make. It also has the advantage of being egg free, plus it’s lovely toasted and buttered once it’s past its best.
If you don’t have a fancy tin, just use a small loaf tin.
85g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tbsp treacle ( you can use golden syrup if you don’t like treacle)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g self raising flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4. Liberally spray your tin with cake release spray, or you can use butter.
Measure out the butter, sugar, milk, ginger and treacle. Melt them gently in a saucepan. When it’s all melted and there’s no grittiness left from the sugar, stir in the bicarbonate of soda. This will make it froth up in a delightful fashion. Now stir in the flour and mix really well until it’s all combined. Plop it into the tin.
Baking time is a bit of a gamble, frankly… In the heart tin it only takes 15 minutes as the thick metal is a brilliant heat conductor. In a loaf tin it might be more like 30 -40 minutes. Check by poking a sharp knife in and seeing if it comes out clean.
Wrap cake and bid a sad farewell as it goes off to the church fete. Then roll up your sleeves, go back to the kitchen, and make another one for yourself…
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