Runeberg Cakes

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In October I went to Finland to visit my close friend, Heleen. We spent time in Helsinki, Turku and Porvoo, and I had an absolutely wonderful time with her and our Swedish friend Jess, who took the boat out to hang out with us for a couple of days :) It was ice-cold, we walked around lots – but sought shelter for freezing fingers and tired feet more. We had yummy food, cooked in hostels, drank lots and lots of tea, and just enjoyed each other’s company :) it was great.

In Porvoo Heleen told me to get a Runeberg cake, because it was a local baked treat. And I’m happy I did! It was so yummy, and not really like anything we have here in Belgium. The cake was moist, drenched in a clear liquid (sugar water, I found later), it was nice and fragrant with spices like cinnamon and cardamon. It was extremely yummy. I decided to bake it myself a couple of weeks back – and while the cakes came out great, the pictures aren’t my best.

I’ve found that a set of below-average pictures can really bring my enthusiasm for blogging about my adventures in the kitchen down. I like to put out beautiful, awe-inspiring pictures that make people really excited about eating and baking. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but oh well :) maybe with my little break I’ll have some new visual inspiration for next time!

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I found the recipe here on the Desserts For Breakfast blog. I changed some things – I didn’t use ground up cookies but instead added more flour and ground almond to make up for the mass, and added more ginger and cinnamon for the flavors. Sadly enough I only had baking-rings that were larger than the ones you should use. My cakes turned out quite, uh, big. A little bit too much for one brave person to deal with on their own, tbh. But yummy, none the less! And this way I could share :)

What you need

2 + 1/2 cups of all-purpose  flour
1+ 1/4 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 of cup milk
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of (dark) brown sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of (maple) syrup
3 eggs

What to do

01. Combine the flour, almond powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cardamon, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
02. Combine the milk and orange juice. Set aside.
03. Cream your butter with a handheld mixer or kitchen robot. Butter should be at room temperature (but never melted) and mixed for a couple of minutes until it’s creamy. Add your sugars and mix until the sugar has been incorporated and you have a creamy butter. Add your honey and syrup and mix until that’s part of the butter mixture.
04. Add your eggs to your butter mixture, one at a time, mixing well after every addition.
05. Now you’re gonna alternate between adding some of your dry ingredients, then some wet, some dry again. (Dry in three batches, wet in two.) Don’t mix this in with your handheld mixer but use a spatula to work it into your batter.
06. These cakes ask for 3 by 3 (inch) molds – butter and flour them, making sure you remove all excess flour by slapping the molds on your counter. Place your molds on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Fill them for 3/4th. Bake in a preheated oven of 175°C for about 25-35 minutes.
07. Once you’ve removed them, let them cool for a little before removing the molds. Then you’re gonna glaze them.

What you need for the glaze

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1-2 table spoons of amaretto

What you’re gonna do

Poor all the ingredients in a pot, set on the stove and bring to a simmer. No need to stir, just let the sugar dissolve and let the sugar water reduce. I kinda went with my gut and let it bubble away for a little while. It shouldn’t be too thick – but not too runny either, you know?

Cut a hole in your cakes and remove some of the cakey inside before glazing your cakes. Be careful not to touch the crumb with your glazing brush because it will be full of crumbs and it’ll make for a messy 10 minutes!

Now we’re gonna fill the cakes with a raspberry or strawberry jam. I made this myself by boiling some strawberries with sugar and making a jam like I’d usually would. Let it cool a bit before filling. Finish with some royal icing :) My homemade royal icing had a bit of a reaction to my strawberry yam :D which was unfortunate to look at, but it tasted great :)

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These little cakes are really yummy. I love spices like cinnamon and cardamom in cakes – love it! The cake isn’t too sweet either, and the combination with the yam and sugary icing is really amazing :) these are traditionally eaten on February 5th (my brother’s birthday!) and, another bit of trivia, apparently named after a poet who really loved them. Enjoy!

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