Princess Anna

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So now my little Freyja has turned 2 years old! Our little birthday-girl loves Frozen so I took the opportunity to make a dollcake as princess Anna. This is the second time I make a dollcake and also the second time I make anything challenging using sugarpaste. Last time, the cake was crap – it was easy to handle but it was wildly unpopular and I was myself really unhappy with the taste. This time, the cake was delicious but I made a mistake I won’t be repeating. I put a merengue between two layers of chocolate mousse (delicious by the way!) which made the merengue melt away and the cake to bulge where that layer was – also, the load on top of the mousse-merengue layers was too heavy.

Also, making a detailed drawing of the cake and decorations is a good idea, a very good idea. I made drawings as I planned this cake and they were very helpful! However, I didn’t plan the decorations and I never handle a pencil (haven’t done so on a regular basis for about 17 years!) and I truly regretted just diving in like that. Just making a drawing on a paper and or practicing on a piece of sugarpaste cut in the right shape would have been a quick and clever thing to do.

Icelandic Bun’s Day (Fastelavn)

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Tomorrow it is Bolludagur (Buns’ Day) in Iceland, so now Icelanders will be stuffing their faces with chaux pastry buns like these this week! Filled with whipped cream, jam, pudding, bailey’s cream or however you like. Actually, this day is celebrated around this time in all the Nordic countries (except Finland?), with various kinds of buns.

Choux pastry originates almost 500 years ago and is the basis of various European delicacies. I’ve made chaux pastry buns (or as they are called in Icelandic vatnsdeigsbollur=water’s-dough’s-buns…) only about half my life, and to begin with they ended up sad and soggy the day after, instead of the puffy, crispy and tall buns you’re supposed to get. Anyway, that is history, now they’re perfect each time as I follow this bulletproof recipe:

400 mL water
260 g butter
½ tsp salt
240 g flour
7 eggs

Melt the butter in the water and heat until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat, add the salt and the flour, mix it together using a wooden spoon; return to the heat and beat until it releases the sides of the pot and is shiny and smooth. Allow to cool slightly, if too hot when the eggs are added … well, you know what happens when egg get to hot. Set the oven to 180°C (fan) and line two plates with baking paper. Beat the dough and add the slightly beaten eggs to the dough slowly and make sure to mix well between additions. The dough is supposed to be stiff enough for a wooden spoon to stand in the middle, if too soft, the eggs have probably been added to the mix too fast. Pipe the dough or use spoons to form 24 large buns (or many small ones). Bake for 35-40 minutes and don’t open the oven the first 20 minutes, otherwise the buns can collapse. When the time is up, remove from the oven, cut open and return to the oven; turn off the oven and allow the buns to cool in the closed oven.

Crunchy Nut Cornflakes’ Cookies

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We made the mistake to buy the cereal Crunchy Nut from Kellogg’s – I’m not really saying that it’s not good, it just wasn’t to our taste. But it’s a shame to throw away unspoiled food so I made these and some other cookies, using this particular cereal. I’m sure using regular Kellogg’s Cornflakes is even better, since I like them better, but here goes:

175 g melted butter
200 g Cornflakes, crunched with your hands
2 dl oatmeal
1 dl raisins
2 dl self-rising flour
1 dl sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp desiccated coconut (I simply had that much left in the bag, that’s way so little)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar (again, that’s all that was left, hence the odd quantity)
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan!) or 180°C. Mix the ingredients all together in a bowl, using a wooden spoon. Spoon small heaps of dough on the baking trays that have been lined with baking paper, perhaps 10 on each tray and the recipe makes up for about 40 cookies or so. Bake for about 10 minutes (I didn’t measure it actually!) or until the cookies are golden brown as the ones on the following picture.

And by the way, I thought they were quite alright and my son (8) who’s very picky when it comes to cakes, cookies and the like, thought they were fantastic.

Caramel Popcorn

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I never much liked the idea of caramel popcorn. And even though in Iceland we like all that is big and grand and American, this treat has yet to become very popular – despite it having been around in America since the 1890s. But then I saw how terribly simple it is to make it, in a Swedish cooking show called “Leila Bakar”.

You simply cover a frying pan with sugar, let it melt (don’t stir!), add a piece of butter and stir it in. Then you add the popcorn and a another small piece of butter. The popcorn obviously needs to roll around in the caramel before you pour it out of the pan and onto a baking paper. Just make sure not to put too much caramel or too much popcorn on the pan.

Very, very easy and it tastes much better than I thought it would!

Doll Cake

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I made a doll cake for my daughter’s 4 years birthday in 2014. Such cakes have been terribly popular or at least they were in Iceland around the time when I moved out of the country 5 years ago. My youngest will turn 2 years old in a few weeks, might just have another go at this since frankly, it was wonderfully fun and not at all difficult! …considering I really didn’t know what I was doing.

Now I’ve read up (better late than never) and I know more or less what I should have done differently – we’ll see if that’ll translate into the next attempt”