Tag Archives: cake

Raspberry and Almond Cake and Cherry Bakwell mini-cakes

29 Jul

Pop the kettle on…

 

It’s been forever since I shared a recipe with you and I hope you aren’t too miffed. My time was swallowed, almost in it’s entirety, by my wedding which took place in June.  The last months have been hectic. There were playlists to compile, bunting to sew, table names to cross-stitch, vows to practice, flowers to pick, dresses to squeeze into, booze to buy, invites to post..  and thank goodness it was all worth it. What a day – I’m still on cloud nine. Following a mini-moon on the Isle of Wight, where the food was local, sustainable and delicious by the way, we’re in the middle of few weeks wait until we head off, in August, for a mega-moon roadtrip in the USA. It’s going to be epic… and very tasty. I’ll let you know what I eat!

In the meantime, here are a couple of easy recipes for cake that goes nicely with a cup of tea. The best kind of cake, right? I baked them this weekend in between walking my Godmother’s dog Lucy along with my Mum, Godmother and new husband (still feels weird) in the beautiful countryside; and after a long walk in the hills and sunshine this cake will recharge your batteries.

Almond and Raspberry Cake (serves 8 – 10)

You will need:

* 140g ground almonds   * 140g unsalted butter, soft   * 140g caster sugar   * 140g self-raising flour   * 2 large eggs   *1tsp vanilla extract   *250g raspberries   *2 tbsp flaked almonds

Lovely Lucy

To make:

1. Heat the oven to 180Oc/ 160Oc fan/ gas mark 4 and line a deep 20cm cake tin.  In a food processor, by hand or by a hand-held whisk combine the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and eggs until well-combined.

2. Spread half of the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top.  Scatter the raspberries over the mixture and then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and spread to cover the fruit. I used my fingertips to do this.

3. Scatter flaked almonds on top of the cake and then bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is golden and doesn’t wibble if you shake the tin.  Cool and remove from the tin. Enjoy.

 

Cherry and Almond Mini-cakes (makes about12)

* 60g ground almonds   * 75g butter   * 75g sugar   * 75g self-raising flour   * splash of milk   * 2 large eggs   * a couple of handfuls of glace cherries   * small splash of vanilla extract   *12 flaked almonds (optional)

Dinky little cake.. so why stop at one?

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190OC/ 170oC fan and pop your paper cases on a tray.  Combine the flour, ground almonds, flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, milk and butter and whizz with an electric whisk, by hand or in a food processor.

2. Tip the finely chopped glace cherries into the mixture and give it a nice stir before dolloping the cake mixture evenly into the cake cases.

3. Pop in the oven for around 10-15 minutes until the cakes are golden, have risen and are springy but cooked through.  Leave to cool or heat whilst still warm with a cool glass of milk or a big mug of tea.

 

Recipe: Catherine Berwick’s Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake

27 Mar

The new carrot cake?

It’s been a while since I’ve been here to say hi and I can only apologise profusely and point my finger of blame at all the wedding planning which has consumed my life for the last, um, year.. but I could write a whole blog* on that so I shall just move on quickly to a rather unusual cake I made for a friend’s birthday which I think you should try.

When I served it to guests I asked them all to guess what it was.. “it’s fruity”, it’s got “nuts in it”, “I can taste the maple syrup” the adoring crowds replied. But none of them could have guessed it was a cake made of parsnip! And lo I laugh like a maniacal loon… but seriously, it was really unusual, very moist and sweet. As ever I found it on the unimpeachable Good Food website and they billed it as the new Carrot Cake. (Not that I think there is A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G wrong with the old Carrot Cake!)

To buy:

*175g butter, and extra for greasing   *250g demerara sugar   *100ml maple syrup   *3 large eggs   *250g self-raising flour   *2 tsp baking powder   *a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon  *250g parsnips, peeled and grated   *1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated   *50g pecans, roughly chopped   *zest and juice of one small orange   *icing sugar to serve   *250g mascarpone   *3-4 tbsp maple syrup

To make:

Golden Brown, texture like sun.

1. Heat the oven to 180Oc/ 160Oc fan/ gas 4 and grease 2 x 20cm round tins.

2. Melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over a gentle heat and then cool slightly.

3. Whisk the eggs in the mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice.

4. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the sponges are cooked through and springy to touch.

5. Cool the cakes for a while in their tins before turning out onto wire racks and cooling entirely.

6. Just before serving, blend the marscapone and the maple syrup, spread onto one sponge and then sandwich the cake. Sprinkle with icing sugar. EAT.

* My friend and fellow-bride-to-be Laura and I were going to do a wedding blog called “Right Said Wed” but needless to say we’re too lazy and busy planning the shin-digs right now! Oh what could have been..

Recipe: Chocolate Cat Cake. It’s purrrrrfect, etc.

2 Dec

We need to talk about Kevin

My boss turned 40 this week and it was only right that this happy day was marked with a cat-shaped chocolate birthday cake, right?  Our chum Laura christened him Kevin and at a cake-fest in the office, Kev bravely gave his life for the enjoyment of us hungry office-workers.  Way to go Kevin.

This cake is very simple to make and keeps for a few days if you don’t hoover it up before then.

To buy:

For the cake –  *200g plain flour   *200g caster sugar   *1 teaspoon baking powder   *half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda   *40g best-quality cocoa (I used Green and Blacks)   *175g soft unsalted butter   *2 large eggs   *2 teaspoons real vanilla extract   *150ml soured cream

For the Icing –  *150g icing sugar  *100g  soft unsalted butter   *1 teaspoon vanilla extract   *a few teaspoons of cocoa   *splash of milk

For the topping –  *Bassets Licorice selection

To bake:

1.Take all of the cake ingredients out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180oC / 160Oc fan and butter 2 20cm sandwich tins.

2. Now, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream.  Use a food processor or a hand whisk and beat until it’s smooth and thick.

Feline hungry?

3. Divide the mixture between the two greased tins and spread flat.  Bake until a skewer comes out clean but the cake has a springiness to it.  Will take around half an hour or so but check regularly.

4. Remove the cakes from the oven and press and tap out onto a wire rack and cool entirely.

5. Place one of the cakes on a drum and cut 2 triangles out of the other cake.  Using cocktail sticks fasten the triangles (ears) to the other cake (face).

6. To make the icing combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla and a splash of milk in a bowl.  Leave a small amount of the white icing in one bowl and transfer the  lion’s share to another bowl and add cocoa to taste to this batch of icing.

7. Using a palette knife cover the cake with the chocolate icing.  Then add some of the white vanilla icing to the ears and the middle of the cat’s face.

8. I used licorice to make the cat’s eyes, heart-shaped nose and whiskers.

9. Ice a birthday message onto the drum if you like.  Add a few candles and say a special wish for the birthday boy or girl. x

Coca Cola Cake

26 Jul

It's the real thing

Because I’m off on a Deep South roadtrip in a few week’s time (calling at Atlanta – the home of Coke, Savannah, Charleston, Charlotte to watch NASCAR, a night in the Smoky Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, Clarksdale, Natchez, New Orleans, a little town in Alabama and then back to Atlanta!) where I will be pulling much pork and sipping sweet cola; I decided tonight to bake my first ever Coca Cola cake.

I baked it, however, for Josh to take to work where they are holding a bake-sale to raise money for the DEC East African famine appeal and so I am yet to try it and decide whether or not it is tasty… fingers crossed.  I will let you know how it goes!

To buy (for one cake and at least six cupcakes):

Cake – *125g unsalted butter (and some to grease the tin)   *250g self-raising flour   *200ml Coca-Cola   *3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda   *1 tbsp cocoa, sifted   *300g golden caster sugar   *2 medium eggs   *125ml buttermilk   *1tsp vanilla extract     Icing – *3 tbsp Coca-Cola   *50g unsalted butter   *1tbsp cocoa, sifted   *225g icing sugar, sifted    Topping – *stars

1. Grease a couple of tins or 1 tin and pop a few cupcake cases in a tin whilst you bring the cola to the boil with the butter, and once this has melted stir in the bicarbonate of soda, which will fizz.  Set aside for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 190Oc/ 170Oc fan/ Gas mark 5.  Combine the flour, cocoa and sugar in a large bowl, add the coke mixture and beat until smooth.  Whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla extract, then whisk this into the cake base.  Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and give it a couple of taps to bring up any bubbles.

3. Bake for around 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Run a knife around the egde of the cake tin, pop onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

4. To make the icing, place the cola, butter, and cocoa into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking until smooth, then stir in the icing sugar.  It sets very quickly so carefully drizzle over the cakes before decorating as you like.

Let’s hope that this sweet and sticky cake raises oodles of money for a very worthy cause.

Recipe: Teeny little cherry scones

10 Jun

Teeny weeny (can't say no) scones

Ahhh summer, my dear old friend.  You are good for so many things.  In no particular order, I love you, summer, for the following: *the smell of sunscreen at the cricket ground  *the first sip of a cold beer on a sultry afternoon  *watching new freckles growing on my nose  *laughing when boys talk tactics at the barbecue  *nibbling ice cream and getting it all over my chops  *when I accidentally get a bit hammered on jugs of cocktails  *dancing at sweaty summer gigs  *falling asleep in the park in the sunshine  *plump, juicy summer fruit  *getting to wear tee-shirts and sweet summer frocks   *flowers bursting into bloom   *trips to the seaside and *scones. Scones, piled high and served with dollops of cream and smudges of strawberry jam!

Yes scones. Aren’t they gorgeous?  Freshly baked so they make your home smell quite ridiculously lovely, this recipe (adapted from a goodfood one) makes a batch of about 14 teeny little scones – perfect when you just want a bite of something sinful.

To buy:

*350g self-raising flour (and extra for dusting)   *1/4 tsp salt   *1tsp baking powder   *85g butter, cut into cubes   *4 tbsp golden caster sugar   *90g glace cherries   *150g pot of natural yogurt   *4 tbsp full-fat milk   *1 tsp vanilla extract   *1 egg beaten

Jamtastic

1. Preheat oven to 220Oc/200oC fan and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm up.

2. In a big bowl use an electric whisk to whizz up the flour, salt, baking powder and butter until it blends together.  Add the sugar and blend again.

3. Chop your cherries roughly and add to the bowl and then make a well in the mixture.

4. Either in the microwave or in a saucepan warm the yogurt, milk and vanilla until it is hot.  It make go a bit lumpy.  Tip into the bowl and quickly work into your mixture using a knife and as soon as it’s in stop mixing.

5. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands fold the dough over a few times.  Press out so it’s a few inches thick and use  a small biscuit-cutter to stamp out your scones.  Squash the remaining dough together, roll out, stamp out more scones, until the dough is all used up.

6. Brush the scones with the egg, then scatter the flour over the baking sheet and back for about 12 minutes.  They will be golden brown and will have risen beautifully.

7. Best eaten whilst warm and with lashings of jam and clotted or really thick double cream. Yum.

 

Recipe: Right Royal Knees-Up Cake

30 Apr

Let Them Eat Cake

There will have been – I predict – a gadzillion words written, a googol of photos published and an acre of bunting produced for Wills and Kate’s nuptials (there are about 50 articles on the Daily Mail website this morning just for starters) and aside from presenting an opportunity to examine and review what the Monarchy means in Twenty-First Century Britain, the relationship between the Church and State, on power and democracy … it was also a chance, as it always is, to eat cake.

I held a Right Royal Knees-Up at my flat yesterday with a bunch of friends where I live streamed* the Royal Wedding coverage, served Pimms, played ‘Pin the Crown on the Corgi’, continued to fill out my Panini Royal Wedding Souvenir Sticker Album, and lay on a spread.  (*Put the BBC news channel on my telly).

The centerpiece of my spread – just typing those words makes me giddy – was this Union Jack Cake, a jammy Victoria Sponge with a soft-cheese frosting and gorgeous summer berries on top.  It was a teeny bit fiddly to decorate but easy to bake and would would feed a couple of cricket teams with ease.  It is also, I can report, a marvellous pick-me-up breakfast if you have spent the night air-punching to power ballads as I did at Ultimate Power in Scala last night.  Food for thought, I am sure.

Pin the Crown on the Corgi

To buy:

*340g unsalted butter   *340g caster sugar   *340g self-raising flour   *6 eggs   *1 tsp baking powder   *1 tbsp hot water   *A jar of strawberry jam   *110g butter   *110g low-fat Philadelphia soft-cheese   *1 tsp vanilla extract   *fresh strawberries   *frozen or fresh blueberries and redcurrants   *white chocolate drops

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease your baking tin.  I only have one big square tin, so I had to bake the cakes in batches.

2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl.

3. Break the eggs, one at a time, in a jug, beat, add to the sugar and butter and beat the mixture.  Add all of the eggs and then sift the flour, baking powder into the mixture.  Add the hot water and beat well.

4. Either divide the mixture between your tins or add half to your tin and bake until golden brown and cooked throughout.  This will depend on how deep your tin is.  My tins were very deep so it took about 25 minutes.  Simply check by piercing the cake with a knife or stick – if it comes out clean then is cooked.  If the cake is still wobbly then don’t even think about it!

Great British Bake

5. Turn out the cakes, once baked, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

6. Sandwich the two sponges with plenty of lovely strawberry jam.

7. To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to combine the cream cheese, the icing sugar and the vanilla extract, until it is smooth and peaks slightly.

8. Cover the cake with the frosting and use a palette knife to smooth and even it out.

9. Score the Union Jack into the frosting (I actually had to look at a flag I had bought to wave during the wedding as I am too much of a dimwit to remember what it looks like but I am sure you’re not such a thicko) and then use the fruit and chocolate to cover the cake.  This is fiddly work but not too tricky.  If you’re using frozen fruit then leave it to defrost in the fridge the night before hand and rinse well before placing on the cake as the juice could stain the frosting.

10.  Whether you’re a Republican, a Royalist or just plain greedy: tuck in.

P.s. thanks to Becky for creating the A-MAZ-ING Fat Corgi and Crown game.  He is lovely.

Guilty Pleasure: cakes that make you go “oooohh!”

31 Jan

Crack Fox Cake

It is not exactly a secret that I love cake.  I think the news may just –  just – have slipped out.  But this is not a shameful confession, this is no love behind-closed doors, this blog post shouldn’t really be titled “Guilty Pleasure”…  because we can all love cake.  Whether it’s the shop-bought Jamaican Ginger cakes that I used to scoff with lashings of Birds custard or the first fairy cakes that I baked with my granny, birthday cakes with candles I found impossible to blow out, or a hefty slice of victoria sponge and a piping hot cup of tea on a tiring day out, cake, for me, is kind of a big deal.

But not all cakes are baked equal.  Whilst I love them all, pretty much, there are some that inspire the same cooing noises as bonfire night fireworks and the same longing stares as a picture of Robert Pattison biting his lip and looking moody.  These are cakes that practically force you to go “oooooooh” and I adore them.

Here are three examples of cakes that made me gasp, one of which, excuse me for blowing my own trumpet, I baked myself.  The first cake was baked by friend and natural-born-foodie Laura, for a birthday bonanza and is of course, the crack fox from Mighty Boosh. And just who wouldn’t love a crack-fox for their special day? It is hard to explain quite how big this cake was, just how gorgeous it smelled or how perfect the sugar craft is.  Laura, I applaud you, you are a chef-extraordinaire.

These woolly little cakes may not taste entirely amazing but WOW!  They are so cute and so inviting.  They were knitted for me by Mother-in-Law-to-be, Leonie, and every single time I see them they make me smile.  Each cake is different and perfect in it’s own way – complete with a knitted cherry and knitted hundreds and thousands.  Utter, wonderful, knitted yumminess.

Woolly cakes

The only possible downside of having these woolly cupcakes in my lounge is that they remind me, on a daily basis, that I am a shockingly bad knitter and it has taken me two years and counting and I still haven’t finished knitting my fiancé’s scarf.  Not that he’d ever want to wear such an itchy, holey old rag, but still!

And finally, this tower of chocolate psychedelia is a cake I baked for my boss’s leaving do last Friday.  It was pretty tall, a bit odd and covered in all manner of chocolate drops, sprinkles and giant buttons and once cut revealed rainbow layers of e-number ridden sponge.  From carrying it into work and hearing passers-by yell: “nice cake love!” to the grinning school boy who sat next to me on the bus and gave me a would-you-mind-awfully-if-I-had-a-teeny-bite-smile the cake was giving off oooh and aaaahhh vibes all day long.  It even helped spawn a new word – a cake-o-tunity: an oppurtunity to eat cake – a wonderful word if ever there was one.

Have you got a cake that always makes you swoon? Have you been baked a cake as trippy as the crack fox?  Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love Jamaican Ginger Cakes? Seriously?

ker-razy cake.

Recipe: Mango, Banana and Coconut Cake

5 Dec

Totally tropical

When a couple of friends came round for dinner last night I decided to attempt a Thai-inspired menu, instead of just throwing together an incoherent mess of flavours, and hoping I could call it “fusion” and that this would cut the mustard.  This, I can only think, is progress. So after we had scoffed ginger and garlic chicken skewers with satay sauce and hoovered up a beef massaman curry I served up a mango, banana and coconut cake for puds.

By the time we got round to this part of dinner I was so food-drunk that I could barely breath, let alone taste the cake, but on further inspection (a slice with a cuppa today to recover from decorating our new Christmas tree) it turns out it was rather good.

Packed full of fruit and incredibly moist, I rather like the idea of getting some of my five-a-day this way.  I asked my boyfriend for a review and he said that it was both: “Somewhere between sweet and savoury” and “an interesting taste, ’cause of the mango I presume”  and I can’t argue with that.

The key I think is in the ripeness of the fruit – for a lipsmacking flavour, a juicy soft texture and to make the whizzing up of the ingredients an easy process. So it would be perfect for bananas that you have that are just about to turn. It should make about 10 decent slices.

To buy:

* 1 medium ripe mango   *2 ripe bananas   *1 tsp vanilla extract   *225g butter, softened   *140g light muscovado sugar   *2 eggs, beaten   *50g dessicated coconut   *225g self-raising flour   *half a teaspoon of bicarb of soda   *a pinch of nutmeg   For the filling:   *200g full-fat soft cheese   *2 tsp lemon juice   *25g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting).

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 160Oc/ gas mark 3/ fan oven 140Oc and grease two 20cm/8inch sandwich tins.

Will make your man-go wild.

2. Peel, stone and chop your mango and then purée the flesh (if you’re making this in a rush you might want to get a few slices of chopped mango so that it is soft enough).

3. Mash the bananas and mix in half the mango purée and the vanilla extract.

4. Beat together the butter and sugar until it is creamy and light, then add the beaten eggs slowly.

5. Stir the banana mixture and the coconut into the mixture and then sift the flour and bicarb in and fold lightly.

6. Divide the mixture between two tins and bake for half an hour or so – until the sponge is firm but springy.  Cool in the tins for a while and then pop them onto a wire rack and leave to cool entirely.

7. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together (I always use an electric whisk for this) until it makes thick peaks in the bowl.  Stir the remaining mango into the icing gently.

8. Finally, spread one cake with the mixture and then pop the other one on top.  Dust lightly with  icing sugar and relax with a self-satisfied grin.

Recipe: Carrot Cake

19 Sep

24 Carat-Cake

Making this carrot cake for a colleague’s afternoon tea, I got to thinking about office-life. The good, the bad and if not the ugly, then the tedious.  Sure, work can be annoying: from the shrill alarm call on a Monday morning after a brazen booze-fest on Sunday night, dealing with the David Brentoids that populate every company on earth, to the indignity of sharing bathrooms with your colleagues and all of the ensuing toilet-tension, but I maintain a fond spot for the world of work. The snatches of gossip whilst the kettle boils, the frisson of excitement that jolts through the office when the new girl/boy turns out to be a fitty, the shared exasperation at the Everest of emails crammed into your outlook after a week’s holiday. And my favourite moment – when a colleague, nay a saint, a hero – whips out the biscuits and chocolates they bought on holiday, or the leftover cake from their weekend’s baking, for everyone to share.  The sheer, unadulterated thrill of the office sugar-rush is pretty hard to beat.

This cake is fairly decadent, but being filled with carrot and nuts, you can almost kid yourself that it is, vaguely, maybe, sort-of healthy. It takes a couple of hours to make but feeds at least twelve greedy people and looks very -OOH, WOW! – with all of it’s smooth, creamy folds of frosting.

To buy:

*300g plain flour   *2 tsp cinnamon   *1 tsp baking powder   *1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda   *200g soft brown sugar   *4 eggs   *250ml oil   *1 orange zested   *1 lemon zested   *200g carrots, finely grated   *150g walnuts, chopped    and for the cream cheese topping:   *125g unsalted butter at room temp   *50g icing sugar   *250g cream cheese (I used full fat Philadelphia)

To make:

Yum

1. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2.

2. Line or grease a really deep tin – I used a square one but bear in mind, that if it is deep rather than large and shallow, that it may take longer to bake.

3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and stir in the sugar.

4. Beat the eggs with the oil and citrus zests. Stir in the carrots and fold everything into the flour mixture. Fold in the walnuts.

5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. My cake took at least another twenty minutes, so just keep your eyes peeled.

6. Cool the cake thoroughly on a wire-rack.

7. For the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar together until soft and then beat in the cream cheese.

8. Chill the mixture until it’s thick but spreadable. Spread a thick layer on top of the cake, making sure the side of the icing is flat and continues upwards from the side of the cake.

You may wish to add currants to your cake and I think I would probably add even more carrots next time but whatever you like. I sprinkled some ground ginger on top of the frosting to give it a bit of a zing but you could do whatever you liked. I was sorely tempted to fashion the whole cake into a giant carrot, maybe next time.  As ever, this recipe was on the indomitable Good Food website.

Review: Nordic Bakery

18 Sep

Tosca Cake and Coffee

14a Golden Square, London, W1F 9JG

T – 020 3230 1077

E – http://www.nordicbakery.com/

I spent last new year –  teeth chattering, bones chilled to the marrow- in beautiful Helsinki, the year before I was shivering in Stockholm. A few years ago, I camped out in a Norwegian forest a few miles out of Oslo, amongst the pine-trees and besides a tranquil lake.  This new year I’ll be with the great Danes boozing it up in Copenhagen.  Fingers-crossed before too long I’ll be dipping into the Blue Lagoons in Iceland.  There is something about the Nordic countries that makes me want to return again and again. For one thing, I know it’s not the exchange rate.

See, despite the insane prices and the fact that Scandinavian people are so ludicrously beautiful that they make my inferiority complex hit the roof, I love these places. Liberal and peaceful, with epic countryside and stunning cities, it doesn’t surprise me that they are regularly among the countries with the best quality of life and lowest mortality. Although if I lived there I’d likely die of smugness. 

Getting wrapped up and marching through the woods, the air crisp and clean, the snow crunchy underfoot, and my cheeks burning pink and red makes me feel so vital. The sleek Swedish bars and cosy Danish pubs are really very special. The church spires that punch the skyline and twinkly lights bouncing off canals and seas are so romantic.  And then the food. Oh the food. Light and airy princess cakes and swirly cinnamon buns.  Juicy pickles, pungent dill, heavy smoked salmon and dark rye breads. Strong coffees on a cold day, berries and tarts, vodka and schnapps.  Sausage and beer. Sour apple cider. What I would give to walk along the cobbles on Gamla Stan and stop for a latte and a cocosball or a reindeer steak, potatoes and lingonberries on Suomenlinna.

Unfortunately, I am not a millionaire. So asides from a vacation once a year, I keep myself content with trips to the food market in my nearest Ikea, dinner at my Swedish friend’s house and coffee and cake at the Nordic Bakery.  And I feel very lucky.

Tea and Pancake

 Tucked away in a quiet square in Soho, with outside-seating and sleek benches inside, the Nordic Bakery is a joy.  With calm staff and high ceilings, the decor is sparse and relaxing.  Good coffees and juice to drink, and then stacks of cinnamon buns (£2 for a huge portion), coffee cakes, tosca cakes, cookies and pancakes to scoff. The sandwiches and savory snacks look really tasty but as if I would ever pass up the chance to eat cake? I also adore the simplicity of the crockery. The simple deep mugs and the unfussy design of the trays. The food, not the plate, does the work.

It’s rumoured that a second branch will open in Autumn. Please let it be in sunny South London. Please.