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World’s Best Cake


(Norsk versjon, følg linken: Verdens Beste)

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World’s Best, Norwegian National Cake

“World’s Best” is one of the most popular Norwegian cakes, and for good reason; it is – as the name indicates – the World’s Best Cake! Nope, there will be no arguing here, you will just have to try it. If my memory does not fail me it was declared Norway’s National Cake some years ago.

The recipe is not difficult, really, but there are several steps that can be somewhat troublesome, and the whole cake is definitely time consuming. But oh my – it is worth it!

I’ve baked this cake for Danes on a few occasions – and they are also beside themselves with excitement and praise. As it just happens, I am unable to find a decent pastry cream (or vanilla cream, or maybe we should call it custard cream?) here in Denmark, thus I have started making it from scratch. And guess what? The World’s Best is even better with the home made pastry cream! I will be honest here, and tell you that this is one of the steps that can go wrong. It might curdle, but it can be saved by adding a tablespoon whipping cream and whip it real hard until it’s a smooth cream.

You might be well advised to make the pastry cream the day before you need it in your cake, so it can sit in the fridge overnight.

Pastry Cream Ingredients and method:

  • 500 ml cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 25 g cornstarch
  • 125 g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (refrigerate the whites for later use)

Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and put both the bean and the seeds in a pot together with the cream. Bring to the boil and remove pot from the heat and remove the two halves of vanilla bean.

Put the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and quickly whisk to combine it.

Pour the hot vanilla cream little by little in the egg mixture while you whisk. Pour it all back into the pot.

Heat again, stirring constantly, but do not let the mixture boil or it may curdle. The pastry cream thickens as it gets warmer.

When the cream has thickened, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. Stir occasionally. When room temperature has been reached, put the cream in the fridge overnight. Cover with cling film so you don’t get skin on it.

Now that we have the pastry cream out of the way, let’s look into the cake. Start by setting your oven at 175 ° C.

Sponge, ingredients and method:

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    Smear thinly and as evenly as possible

    150 g butter

  • 125 g sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 egg yolks (save whites)
  • 5 tablespoons milk

Whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the flour, baking powder, egg yolks and milk and stir to combine.

Cover roasting pan with parchment paper and spread the dough over. This is easier if you get help to keep the parchment paper in place. It’s sticky and needs to be smeared evenly and thinly on the parchment paper. It is going to look totally weird, but fear not – the sponge is supposed to be real thin.

 

Meringue, ingredients and method

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    Straight out of the oven

    5 egg whites

  • 180 g sugar
  • 100 g chopped almonds

Whisk the egg whites until half stiff.  Add sugar in a thin stream while you whisk until stiff and glossy.

Spread the meringue over the sponge, and sprinkle on the almonds.

Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes. Leave it on the tray while it cools.

 

Pastry cream filling, ingredients and method:

  • The pastry cream that you made yesterday
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

Whip the cream and vanilla sugar in a bowl until stiff. Add the pastry cream and gently combine. Refrigerate for an hour or two before putting it on the cake. If you skip this step the filling may be too runny.

If you chose to go with the store bought pastry cream, then you’ll need aprox 500 ml.

 

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Rectangular cake

Now you have all the parts all ready, all that remains now is to assemble the cake.

Cut the cake into two equal portions and place one portion on a cake platter, meringue side up.

Spread the filling over the meringue with a spatula, and then gently place the other half of the cake on top, also with the meringue side up. (You now should have a rectangular cake with these layers from the bottom up; sponge, meringue, cream filling, sponge, meringue.)

Enjoy!

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Verdens Beste


(This recipe is written in Norwegian, to read it in English, follow this link: World’s Best Cake)

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Verdens Beste

Verdens Beste er nok en av de kakene man ser oftest på Norske kakebord, og det er slettes ikke uten grunn, den er jo – som navnet tilsier – Verdens Beste! Så vidt jeg husker ble den kåret til Norges Nasjonalkake av Nitimens lyttere for noen år siden.

Jeg har bakt denne kaken til Dansker ved et par anledninger – og de er også fra seg av begeistring. Tilfeldigvis får jeg ikke tak i vaniljekrem som duger her i Danmark, og har dermed fått god trening i å lage min egen vaniljekrem. Og bra er det – for Verdens Beste blir faktisk løftet til nye høyder med hjemmelaget vaniljekrem!  Det er ikke så vanskelig, men det krever litt tålmodighet.

Lag gjerne vaniljekremen dagen før den skal brukes i Verdens Beste, så den får stått kjølig natten over.

Vaniljekrem ingredienser:

  • 5 dl kremfløte
  • 1 vaniljestang eller 2 ts vaniljeskstrakt
  • 25 g maisenna
  • 125 g sukker
  • 4 eggeplommer (lag en marengsbunn eller pikekyss av hvitene, eller oppbevar dem til senere bruk)

Del vaniljestangen i to, skrap ut frøene og ha både frø og de to halvdelene av stangen i en gryte sammen med fløten.  Gi det et oppkok, og ta kjelen av platen og fisk ut vaniljestengene.

Ha eggeplommene, maisenna og sukker i en bolle og visp dette lett sammen.

Hell den varme vaniljefløten litt etter litt i eggeblandingen, bland godt sammen, bruk håndvisp. Ha det hele tilbake i kjelen.

Varm opp på nytt under stadig omrøring, men du må ikke la blandingen koke for da kan den skille seg. Vaniljekremen tykner etter hvert som den blir varm.

Når kremen har tyknet, ta kjelen av platen og la den avkjøle. Rør i den av og til.

Sett så vaniljekremen i kjøleskapet – gjerne natten over. Dekk over med plastfilm for å unngå snerk.

Med vaniljekremen unnagjort, la oss se på selve kaken, start med å sette stekeovnen på 175 °C.

Kakebunnen, ingredienser

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    Smør ut i et tynt lag

    150 g smør

  • 125 g sukker
  • 150 g hvetemel
  • 1 ts bakepulver
  • 5 eggeplommer (ta vare på hvitene)
  • 5 ss melk (hel eller lett)

Visp smør og sukker til det er lyst og luftig. Ha i hvetemel, bakepulver, eggeplommer og melk.

Dekk langpannen med bakepapir og fordel deigen over. Dette er enklest om du får hjelp til å holde bakepapiret på plass. Denne delen er litt dillete, da deigen skal mer eller mindre bare smøres tynt utover bakepapiret.

Marengslaget, ingredienser

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    Nystekt

    5 eggehviter

  • 180 g sukker
  • 100 g hakkede mandler

Visp eggehvitene til halvstiv konsistens. Tilsett sukker i en tynn stråle mens du visper til massen blir stiv og blank.

Fordel massen over kakebunnen, og dryss på mandlene.

Stek kaken midt i ovnen i ca. 30 minutter. Avkjøles.

Kakefyllet, ingredienser:

  • Vaniljekremen fra toppen av oppskriften
  • 2 dl kremfløte
  • 2 ts vaniljesukker, eller 1 ts vanilje-essens

Ha kremfløten og vaniljesukkeret i en bolle og stivpisk. Bland kremen med vaniljekremen. La dette gjerne stå kaldt i en times tid før du har det på kaken for at ikke kremen skal bli for bløt.

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Nå har du alle bestanddelene klare, da gjenstår det bare å montere kaken.

Del kaken i to like deler, og legg den ene delen på kakefatet med marengssiden opp.

Fordel vaniljefyllet over kakebunnen med en slikkepott, og legg så den andre bunnen oppå – fremdeles med marengssiden opp.

Da er det bare å koke kaffe og servere.

Vel bekomme!

 

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A Svalbard Love Story


My nose and forehead was cold from being pressed up against the aircraft window as I was trying to catch a peak of what would be my home for the summer. I was 22 and held a freshly pressed diploma in my hand. And I had just landed my first real job, yanno, the full time job that was actually relevant to the letters on my diploma.

I wasn’t just excited to get a relevant job that quick, but at such an exotic location! I knew practically nothing about the place. I knew no one who had even been there. All I knew was that it was a Company town in the Arctic, and that they mined for coal. Sure I knew the dry facts, on how it was “No man’s land” or Treaty country – governed by Norway. I knew there were Norwegians and Russians and Polar bears.  But I had no clue what I was in for, didn’t know anything about work and life in the northernmost town in the world, Longyearbyen. I thought I had been quite daring

I strained my eyes to see through the thick layer of clouds that surrounded the plane as we had started our descend to Svalbard Airport, Longyearbyen. Finally a strange landscape revealed itself to me as we broke through the clouds. It was indeed a barren land. An inhospitable facade.  My nervousness increased as I asked myself, “What the hell is this place? How am I going to survive this cold, sterile, grey land?”

My new boss was chirping away about this mountain, and that fjord and coalmines and tourists and historic facts as we drove from the airport towards town. As we drove past the industrial area with rusty old rinky-dink containers and equipment lying about, my concern grew. What in the hell was this place? I remember thinking that I was a complete dingbat to accept a job up here without doing any research first. Surely this was information that I should have sought out on beforehand?

Boss lady was smiling and talking very enthusiastically as we approached town, giving me a guided tour. I felt my brain shutting down from the information overload provided by boss lady and all the visual impressions. I tried my damndest to respond to boss lady in a polite and positive manner, I really didn’t want to give her the impression that I was a complete nutter, however that was what I obviously was.

As I stepped out of the car and finally faced the view I had had my back against most of the way into town – or there had been stuff in the way blocking my view, that is when it hit me – and it hit me hard. I fell in love with Svalbard, with Longyearbyen. I finally understood boss lady’s enthusiasm. I got it. I really got it.

Svalbard really is The Greatest Place in the World

Mirror
Passionate

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Make your own Pumpkin Spice


(Norsk versjon, følg denne linken: Lag din egen Pumpkin Spice Mix! )

1-qzifxu7Have you ever been to Starbucks in the fall? Ever noticed that they sell Pumpkin Spice Latte and it smells divine? It makes me salivate, fer sure! The Karate Kid has hit each and every Starbucks in Copenhagen asking if they sell pumpkin spice syrup, and they don’t. I think the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks are so sickening sweet that I won’t even go near them. And that is why I figured that there has to be a way to make Pumpkin Spice at home, so you can add to your latte – separate from the syrup! That way, the Kid can have his sickening sweet Pumpkin Spiced Latte, and I can have mine without the sickening part, but still get the flavor. Yup, I’m a super smart cookie!

 

3-14517530_10154250709506622_438629650482205424_nSo, here is the recipe for the spice mix:

  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1,5 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1,5 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix it all together and put in a jar with a tight lid.

Then what you do, is simply add ¼ teaspoon of the spice mix to your latte, along with the normal amount of syrup, sugar or sweetener that you always use – or leave the sweet stuff out of it if that is what you prefer and you still get the Pumpkin Spice taste that we are all so passionate about!

1-pumpkin-flavor-pumpkin-flavor-everywhere-funny-pumpkin-meme-imageI don’t care how expensive the capsules for your espresso machine are – I still saved you a whole bunch of money now that you don’t have to run to Starbucks every time you crave a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Wasn’t that generous of me? You are welcome!

The cool thing here is that now you also have a jar of readymade pumpkin spice to put in your fall baking. Yaaaaaaay! Knowing me, and the Kid, Imma have to make the spice mix several times before fall is over.

 

Relevant recipes:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin puré

No Fail Flaky Pie Crust

Pumpkin and sweet potato soup

Pumpkin Pie

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Lag din egen Pumpkin Spice Mix!


(This post is written in Norwegian, to read it in English, follow the link: Make your own Pumpkin Spice )

1-qzifxu7Har du vært på Starbucks om høsten? Har du lagt merke til at de selger Pumpkin Spiced Latte (Gresskarkaffe) og det dufter alldeles himmelsk? Duften får i alle fall meg til å sikle. Karate Kid’n har spurt i samtlige Starbucks i København om de selger Pumpkin Spice Syrup, og det gjør de dessverre ikke. Jeg synes nå at sirupen gjør Latten kvalmende søt at jeg må dessverre avstå fra dem. Og det var derfor jeg tenkte at det må da kunne gå an å lage kryddermiksen selv, som man kan ha i latten – uten det kvalmende søte! Det viser seg at det er fullt mulig, ja! Nå kan Kid’n få sin kvalmende Pumpkin Spice Latte – og jeg kan få smaken uten den kvalmende delen. Smart, ikke sant?

 

3-14517530_10154250709506622_438629650482205424_nHer er oppskriften på kryddermixen:

  • 2 ts malt ingefær
  • 1,5 ts malt allehånde
  • 3 ts malt kanel
  • 1,5 ts malt nellik
  • 2 ts malt muskat

Bland alt sammen og oppbevar i et glass med lokk.

Nå kan du da lage deg en latte på vanlig vis, tilsette ca. en kvart teskje med Pumpkin Spice sammen med sukker, sirup, suketter eller utelate det søte helt om det er slik du foretrekker din latte, smaken får du likevel.

 

1-pumpkin-flavor-pumpkin-flavor-everywhere-funny-pumpkin-meme-imageSom en liten bonus kan jeg opplyse om at uansett hvor dyre kapslene til espresso maskin er, din er det allikevel billigere å lage sin egen Pumpkin Spiced Latte enn å renne på Starbucks.

Vel bekomme!

Du kan selvsagt også bruke kryddermiksen i bakverk og kaker for en ekstra touch av høstsmak. Kjenner jeg Kid’n og meg selv rett, så må jeg lage flere omganger av Pumpkin Spice Mixen før høsten er omme.

Relevante oppskrifter:

Ristede Gresskar Frø

Gresskar-Pai

Gresskar puré

Paiskall med Rømme

Gresskar- og søtpotetsuppe

 

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Light


“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ― Francis of Assisi

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3-days-3-quotes1

I would like to thank Michelle Mac (Southern by design) for thinking of me as a prospective participant in the «3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge». Michelle not only masters the art of poetry, but also writes really good thought provoking personal pieces. She has also been known to snap some really good photos! So don’t hang around here – go check her out!

Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

Day 3 Nominees:

I urge you all to check them out, you will not be disappointed!

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Clouds
Graceful

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Cabin fever?


«If you’re going to have a cabin fever, have a big cabin, you know.» – Joe Cocker

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The Karate Kid on his way to the cabin

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Looks small underneath the mountain

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Glorious view

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Just a little hike

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Please excuse the clutter behind the outhouse, it was the maid’s day off…

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I miss this place!

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Not fancy, but comfortable

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Not my fav color on the furniture, but they worked just fine

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What is better than being IN the cabin? Playing outside of it!

Yes, we are still on Svalbard, and still in September 2006. We sold the cabin before we moved to the mainland, and I miss both Longyearbyen and the cabin immensly. I am not going to pretend that this is a huge, fancy cabin, but it was perfect for us. Also not a huge quest to get there, just perfect for a five-year-old to hike to.

3-days-3-quotes1

I would like to thank Michelle Mac (Southern by design) for thinking of me as a prospective participant in the «3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge». Michelle not only masters the art of poetry, but also writes really good thought provoking personal pieces. She has also been known to snap some really good photos! So don’t hang around here – go check her out!

Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

Day 2 Nominees:

I urge you all to check them out, you will not be disappointed!

 

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Nordenskiold Glacier


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Above the yellow building, you and Lenin see the Nordenskiold glacier

In my post a couple of days ago, I presented the world’s northernmost Lenin statue (see this post: Lenin’s Arctic View), and more importantly – his views. Now what exactly is he looking at? Yes, a glacier. This glacier, Nordenskiöldbreen, is located at Svalbard at the bottom of Billefjorden. It is named after a Finnish and Swedish baron, geologist, mineralogist and Arctic Explorer; Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (1832 – 1901). He led the Vega expedition along the northern coast of Eurasia in 1878-1879 – which was the first complete crossing of the Northeast Passage.

Now, there are far more impressive glaciers on Svalbard than this one, but this is one of the more frequently visited ones. I have crossed it several times on snowmobile and sailed close to it on ships. Whenever I see a glacier I can’t help but think about the great Arctic explorers of the past, and the words of Roald Amundsen (first to reach the South Pole) comes to mind:

“Adventure is just bad planning.”

I am way too safety conscious to go on a quest the South Pole, but I do agree with Amundsen. In my travels I do find that not planning everything to the tiniest detail, does allow me to experience my own adventures, however small they might be.


I would like to submit one of my photos of the Nordenskiold Glacier for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Two different things or the number two.  Being a smart chick here (Please do not argue, let me just pretend to be a smart cookie – it’s just easier and less painful that way) – I would like to point out that my picture contains two references to the number 2: It is water in two forms (solid and fluid)and the chemical formula contains the number 2. Yanno, H2O! So I am giving you two diffrent forms of the same substance –  H2O! See? Can you say «Nerd Much?»

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I would like to thank Michelle Mac (Southern by design) for thinking of me as a prospective participant in the «3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge». Michelle not only masters the art of poetry, but also writes really good thought provoking personal pieces. She has also been known to snap some really good photos! So don’t hang around here – go check her out!

Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

3-days-3-quotes1Day 1 Nominees:

I urge you all to check them out, you will not be disappointed!

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Want to see more pictures from Svalbard? Then check out the category above under English posts: Svalbard
H2O

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Handegg (and why Sir Nerdalot is in the dog house)


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have praised my Sir Nerdalot on many an occasion on my blog. This is not one of those times. Because, what is almost as bad as the Man Flu? Yup, you got it: Handegg-season!

fb_img_1465235134972Now, what is so wrong about Handegg-season, and why do I have a problem with it? Oh, let me count the ways (brace yourself):

funny-american-football-demotivational-posterWe are Norwegians. We live in Denmark. Handegg games come on in the middle of the night over here, because what’a-ya-know; we don’t play that stupid sport over here! Thus, we have to wait for the Americans to wake up, have their coffee, and start their game – and by then it is evening and soon night over here in the “Old World”

Who in their right mind would choose the poor copy, when we can have the real deal in our own part of the world? Why does the good ol’ Nerd not follow Rugby? It’s right over there in the UK! He can get a cheap airplane ticket and go see a game live if he wants too!

american-football-name-fail

There are no motorcycles in Handegg! Yes, you read me correct;

There. Are. No. Motorcycles. In. Handegg!

Shocking, isn’t it? They wear crash helmets, but at no point in the game will there be even one measly little motorcycle!

funny-upset-american-football-player-bad-names-pics

b71c2e9542729837482bd07c30a61085afa821ed5682db1b17a5b0a3944be3a5For the sake of communication, our relationship, love, respect and blah blah blah, I have asked the good Nerd exactly what he likes about Handegg, what is it that gives him pleasure to watch this strange game – to which he gave me a lengthy lecture that made absolutely no sense and bored me to sleep. When I woke up, I asked him to sum his long rant up in one sentence (ten words maximm), or – if possible – into one word. “Tactics”, he said.  He must think I’m stupid. This is “tactics” displayed in Handegg: Run a yard – and everyone in a pile. Run another yard – everyone in a pile. Run another yard, and I’m out like a candle in a windstorm. Pfth! Tactics Schmactics!

nfl-replacement-ref-meme-4_display_imageNow, I could live with all of the above – if the Nerd had his priorities straight. You see – and this is the clincher, really – the other night, the Nerd was all engulfed in a NFL thingy. Yanno, wearing his jersey and being all “handegg-nerdy”. I was craving some attention, as I hadn’t seen the Nerd all friggin day. I tried to strike up a conversation, but he was not really listening to me, and only granted me answers in one syllable grunts. Figures, eh? So I opted for my go-to-move in situations like this; I started to take my clothes off all seductive-like. Yanno, batting eyes, pouty lips, wriggling slowly out of my clothes. I was down to my undies and socks, and still no response from the Nerd. I asked him, quite annoyed, was he unable to see what the heck I was doing?

«Yea», he responded grumpily, «why can’t you sort the laundry somewhere else?»

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Care to join us at the #WeekendCoffeeShare ? Then go to  Parttime Monster Blog and join the link up!

Want to see my previous contributions to the #WeekendCoffeeShare? They are funny, I promise:

The Doc’s in!

Fall Folly

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An Irishman goes into a bar…

Once in a lifetime

Sausage much?

Brexit explained

The Nerve!

Brexit Tea

a_poem_for_coffee_mornings_funny_coffee_mug-rb5e2b1950a14407495aa8191f1caeef5_x7jgr_8byvr_324Choices

Trouble is my middle name

We should not sleep away the summer night

Diet much?

Wolf Whistle much?

An eggy conundrum

Happy Mother’s Day!

#WeekendCoffeeShare

Nice to meet you

Coffee and taxes

read my blog

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Lenin’s Arctic View


Pyramiden is an abandoned Russian coal-mining settlement in Billefjorden, Svalbard – named after the pyramid-shaped mountain adjacent to the town. Unfortunately, on this day back in Sept 2006, the mountain giving the name to the settlement was wrapped in clouds. This abandoned settlement is still generous with photo ops.

In 1910, the Swedes founded the village that they later sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. Owned and run by the Russian mining company Trust Arktikugol, Pyramiden once had over 1000 inhabitants. The coal mine was shut down in 1998 and the last permanent resident left 6 months later.

If you want to visit Pyramiden, it is reachable from Longyearbyen by boat in the summer and by snowmobile in the winter. There are no limitations to visiting Pyramiden, so you can go individually, but I still recommend to go as a part of a guided tour, unless you really know what you are doing – which most tourists don’t.

Remember that you are not allowed to enter any of the buildings even if they are unlocked. If the buildings are left alone and not broken into and vandalized, it is predicted that the major buildings will still be visible 500 years from now, all due to the low rate of decay in this frigid climate.

The Swedish singer, Tove Styrke, was allowed to film scenes for her music video for her single “Borderline”, and is showcasing quite a few interior shots from Pyramiden.

Of course, on Svalbard you will find several claims of things being the world’s northernmost, and in Pyramiden you find a few:

  • The world’s northernmost grand piano
  • The world’s northernmost swimming pool.
  • The world’s northernmost monument to Vladimir Lenin

Since 2007, Trust Arktikugol has been maintaining the ghost town and repurposing it as a tourist attraction, by upgrading infrastructure and renovating the hotel – which they reopened in 2013. Go here for booking: Tulpan Hotel Pyramiden

So how’s that for travel goals, eh? Go to a Russian ghost town in the arctic and spend the night!

Want to see more photos from Svalbard? Check out these previous posts:


Welcoming the sunset back

It was home

Blue much?

Showing some super S’es

Arctic Camping

Arctic Tundra – a sparce landscape

Evening at Borebreen

Snow car much?

Arctic Autumn

Skansbukta, Svalbard

Resilient