Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fastelaven Boller - Shrove Tide Buns

I love Norwegian baking traditions and this is one I've wanted to try myself for a long time. On the evening before lent in Norway you make fastelaven boller, or shrove tide buns as they're easily translated as. They don't have pancake day there (crazy - I know!) but they do indulge in these buns. Now boller, or buns in English is a bit of a national treasure and they come in all different ways, I have the best recipe for classic boller from my nan so I will try to get that up soon.  They also fill vases with birch twigs decorated with feathers which looks really nice and extremely Norwegian. I also received a great cake stand from my brother and his fiance which looks like a cute vintage birdcage (from John Lewis) and I absolutely love it so thought this would be a great reason to try it out straight away!

The tradition is to have these sweet yeast buns with whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar on top (I forgot to put the icing sugar on for the pictures so use your imagine), to make them a bit more indulgent I spread one some Nutella. While this was amazing I don't get to eat these boller a lot so I made my second helping with just cream so I could really enjoy it.

I wanted to make them last year but completely forgot until the evening so didn't have time with all of the proofing.  I only found out this morning that it was today so straight away made plans to get some fresh yeast. A lot of people don't know this but you can buy fresh yeast at most supermarkets in their own bakery counter, you do have to ask for it as it's where they make their own bread etc. You can get it on the shelves in Norwegian food shops but you do have to hunt for it a bit here but I so prefer it to the dried stuff as I've never got on with it. I would say though...don't freeze it...vom isn't even a strong enough word for the sludge you'll be met with when it defrosts!

I always worry about baking yeast buns as I'm scared they'll taste yeasty and I hate that, I'm also terrified of over baking things but I remembered what Paul Hollywood said to me (shameless name drop), to not be afraid of letting my bakes go really golden. And it worked, they came out beautifully golden and as light as air!


25g fresh yeast
40g butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
250ml whole milk
360g plain flour
250ml double cream
another 1 egg, beaten
icing sugar for dusting

  • Crumble the yeast in 1/3 of the milk and set aside.
  • In a saucepan gently melt the butter and add the rest of the milk, heating it until lukewarm and transfer to a mixing bowl. If it's too warm then just let it cool slightly to slightly warm and then add the yeast/milk mix.

  • Now add the first beaten egg, sugar, salt and half of the flour all together, add the rest of the flour and bring together until it forms a ball, you might need to add a little more flour I find these recipes sometimes need a little less/more each time!
  • Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to proof for an hour.

  • Make 9 small balls on a lined baking tray and leave to proof for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 225C(200 fan), brush the buns with the second beaten egg and place in the oven for about ten minutes. They'll rise really quick and go a stunning golden colour. They'll also be really firm when fresh from the oven but will soften up after a few minutes. Leave to cool.

  • While they're cooling whip the cream.
  • Cut the buns in half and spread Nutella on one half and a huge dollop of the whipped cream on the other and sandwhich together. 

  • Dust with icing sugar (unless you forget like me)
  • Eat and indulge...Nom!!

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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Purple Butterfly Birthday Cake - My 100th Post!

This is my 100th blog post! Yay, can't believe it's come so far :) Thanks to all of my followers and readers!

This weekend we're celebrating my sister-in-law's mum's birthday, and of course as you all know EVERYONE in my family gets a cake! I don't think she knows she's getting one hopefully it will be a nice surprise.

One great thing about doing cakes for family is that I get to try out new techniques and new looks without the pressure of mucking it up! As most of my family cakes I do I kind of make it up as I go, I should start sketching out some ideas beforehand I guess.

For this cake I got to use my new expandable cake tin I got for Christmas which I love. The next cake to make with this I think has to be a battenburg. I will admit I found it difficult to put together at the beginning and it was a bit of a pain to line...but then again lining tins is the most boring thing in the world to me so I guess it's not surprising that I didn't enjoy that part. But the actual method of baking two cakes exactly the same in the same tin was brilliant and will make future square cakes a lot easier.

I made a vanilla sponge cake with rum buttercream (she loves rum), I did think about making it three layers but thought that might be a little too high. I went with the purple and white theme, I do so many pink cakes I thought purple would be a little different and she's not a ridiculous lover of pink so this kept it pretty but not overwhelming.

I love piping, and want to pipe like Cake Boss! So I need to get lots more practice in and I think it came out really cute, I did have open one of my Wilton Yearbook's for inspiration on the pattern which actually came from a wedding cake picture.

The detail on the top is the same, I added some fondant lilac butterflies to give some extra cuteness and to frame the top as it would look a bit empty otherwise. Now for the cupcake I actually completely stole this idea from The More Than Occasional Baker and I absolutely love it, they're actually meant to be gift boxes topped with meringues but I decided to make a plain chocolate case by brushing LOTS of chocolate into the inside of a silicone cupcake case, leaving it too cool in the fridge a few times in between layers. Instead of making it a box I filled and topped it with the rum buttercream and added a couple of purple fondant butterflies. I also piped on white bows round the cupcake case to make a cute pattern.

I love the idea of having a cupcake on the top of another cake...and nothing in the world is better than chocolate and buttercream...

I have to say, and I know I say this almost every time....but I do think this might be the cutest cake I've made so far...

Nom! Pin It Now!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes With Nutella Buttercream

This weekend I was in the mood for some proper baking, the snow is still hanging around and the thought of baking made me feel a bit warmer! I love baking for others but sometimes it's nice to have something to gorge on yourself, and it's what sundays are made for isn't it. 

We've been talking about baking with Nutella at work the last week or so, and we all looooove Nutella so I literally couldn't shift it from my mind and just knew I had to do something about it. I think it was the thought of eating a cupcake that tasted like a Ferrero Rocher was too much of a good idea to ignore.

I also thought it would be a great excuse to try out a new cupcake recipe, I was getting a bit bored of my standard one as it wasn't coming out as moist as I wanted and whenever I've seen Cake Boss I've noticed that the batter is a lot runnier than mine so thought I should experiment with a batter that was more wet. Whenever I think of amazing cupcakes I think Hummingbird Bakery, I bought the Cake Days book last year and hadn't got round to trying any of the cupcake recipes yet so I decided to try of their bog standard Vanilla Cupcakes recipe. As you can see I decorate them in two ways...mainly because I realised I was running out of the buttercream when I did the big style above, but I think the ones underneath do actually look like a Ferrero Rocher...

I thought it would be better to keep the cupcake vanilla and have the buttercream as the Nutella part, but I couldn't resist adding some Norwegian chocolate with pieces of hazlenuts to it, which I stumbled upon this morning so thought it was fate! I was fully in the baking zone today I even made a point of using some of my super girly baking accessories, pink cupcake spoon measures and heart cup measures too.  I got some really funky cupcakes cases as part of my secret santa present at work, animal print ones! Love them, so thought leopard was the natural choice for this session, of course.

I've kept most of the cakes for work but we did have to test one or two at make sure they were baked properly brother even said it was the best cupcake he's ever had so that wasn't a bad compliment after my first go with the new recipe. Mondays are never brilliant either are a completely indulgent cupcake should help start the day off.


240g plain flour
280g caster sugar
1tbsp baking powder (yep a whole tablespoon...I was scared too)
pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, softened
240ml milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large family bar of chocolate with hazelnuts


  1. Using a hand-held or free-standing mixer with paddle attachments, slowly beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until the ingredients are well mixed in and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix together the milk, vanilla essence and eggs by hand in a measuring jug.  With the mixer still on a low speed, pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.  Add the rest of the milk mixture and beat again, now on a medium speeds, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Spoon the batter into the cases, up to about two-thirds full.  If there is any batter left over, it can be used to fill up more cases, mine made 24 in the end.
  4. Drop in a cube of the chocolate on top of the cake, or a dollop of Nutella if you prefer.
  5. Pop into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponges feel springy when you touch them.  Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutella Buttercream Ingredients

¾ cup Nutella
¼ cup butter, softened
2-3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 bag chopped roasted hazelnuts

1. Beat Nutella and butter.  Add icing sugar, vanilla and whipping cream.
You can adjust the thickness with the cream or icing sugar.  

2. Fill into a piping bag and pipe high onto the cupcakes and top with the chopped hazelnuts
3. Eat! Nom!

I also got to use my new cupcake carrier that I got for Christmas finally! Of course I made so many I had to put some in a normal tin as well but they're so convenient I'm tempted to get another one :)

On a side note, as much as I love the snow I can't wait for spring to come, it always makes me want to make scones and cakes with cream! I know you can make them all year...but it just tastes nicer in the spring doesn't it :)

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Friday, 10 February 2012

Happy Birthday Amanda!

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages, it's been crazy here so I'm glad I have something good to show you. If you remember at Christmas I got a Wilton cupcake cake tin, and I've been itching to use it! It's different from my normal giant's flat! Well...ish, it's still big :D just lying down.

Today is also my friend Amanda's birthday....happy birthday! She's a proofreader at our work and ridiculously good at her job...she's probably finding loads of mistake in this post as we speak (stop it! :) ) and she needed a special cake of course. It seems to be a bit of a tradition now that the girls in my section all get a cake on their birthday so there'll be many more of these over the year I'm sure.

I thought of course they funniest thing to do was to do a spelling mistake on the cake, with a big red circle around it just like she does. I couldn't help myself I had to. She's got the same humour as me so it went down really well luckily! It's also worth noting that I did have nicer reflective paper to have the cake on...but I left it in the Tesco trolley grrrrr!

I thought I'd still keep the cake really cute though in the pink and white theme that is so popular, and as it is a cupcake it still had to look cute. She loves chocolate so I used a chocolate sponge recipe and covered it all in pink buttercream. The case part of the cupcake I covered in white fondant and the top I did my now trademark rose swirl buttercream piping.

For the writing I rolled out some more white fondant and wrote Happy Birthday on it....incorrectly. My handwriting isn't the best unless I'm concentrating, actually she says it resembles a dead spider...quite accurate really. So I used my iPad to enlarge 'Happy Birthday' in a nice font on for me to copy. I did this with a black pen especially for writing on fondant with and then circled it with another in 'Cherry Red' colour. I then cut it with a quilting tool for the ribbon effect and laid it on the icing in a wavy scroll fashion to give it some depth. I then dotted lots of coloured sugar balls all of the top for the classic cupcake with sprinkles look.

And of course all of my cupcakes have a ribbon. I made one out of pink fondant that I coloured with a bit of Claret Sugarflair colouring paste, again cutting with the quilting took for a bit more texture making the ends of the ribbon really long to drape over the sides of the 'case' part.

I was a bit worried about the actual bake of the cake as the top of the cupcake part of the tin was so deep but luckily it came out really nice and moist. I love giving cakes as presents as you can really make them personal and everyone likes cake on their birthday :) Pin It Now!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Oslo In Photos

I've just come back from spending the weekend in Oslo visiting family.

You'll all be pleased to know I managed to get the lemon drizzle through security but they did check it thinking it was a bomb! He was really good about it actually and said if it was a chocolate cake then he'd have to confiscate it! Everyone at my nan's home loved it too so that was a nice bonus :)

It was -18 when we got there and slept in three layers! It did warm up slightly but the snow was immense I loved it, although now I'm back I can see the snow's hit here too, it was a bit touch and go if I was going get home today as so many flights were canceled but I got away with it yay.

I'm just going to upload photos in mass basically lots of snow and some amazing Norwegian food. The buns featured are chocolate buns, a staple in Norwegian diet and I must learn to master them! I also have a house obsession there I looooove some of their houses!

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