Posts tagged cake
Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta
Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta


10 years ago, 3 days after graduating high school, I packed up and moved to Sweden. I wanted to understand where my grandmother - who had died the summer before - had come from. I found a farm via the WWOOF website and after spending a few days with my grandmothers childhood friend, Kajsa, I made my way to the farm. It was two weeks before Midsommar, an celebration I had never heard of. When I asked Erik, the farmers son, what Midsommar was he explained it like this : "you have a big dick made out of poles and covered with flowers then you stick it into the ground to represent a new season". I was naturally very confused, but I had a big crush on him so I just went with it. (We ended up dating for a year-ish after that conversation. I fall hard for goofy awkwardness, I guess.) I found out that he wasn't too far off with his description. Midsommar morning, we decorated a large pole with flowers, plopped it on a tractor and began our sing song journey to the school yard near to the farm. (See the polaroid to the far left below) But first, as with any good celebration, was the food. 

Food in Sweden is possibly my favorite thing in the world. When I'm there, my digestion is better and I just love a good caviar in a tube with cucumber and flatbread. I'm such a sucker for all of it. It makes sense though, my grandmother moved to New York from Sweden in her early 20's so I grew up eating this sort of food. It's a major part of my history, both belonging to me and my ancestors and it feels very natural for me to love this food. I came across a recipe for a Midsummer Cake and I knew I had to make it. 

Elderflowers are one of the first tastes that come to mind for me when I think about Sweden. It reminds me of sunny mornings harvesting the flowers and making large buckets full of elderflower cordial to sell at the shop. It's one of my favorite flavors and anything with elderflower will instantly enhance my mood. I've heard of cake soaking before this, so I wanted to incorporate this classically Swedish flavor in with this cake. The rose buttercream was a last minute addition with the rose water I have tucked away in my kitchen. Plus, flowers are fantastic so why not add more, ya know?

Photos from my first Midsommar in Sweden, 2008



4 eggs, separated
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp water


8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbs milk or cream
1 tsp rosewater
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


1 cup strawberries, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup raspberries, cut in half
1 cup sugar

Set aside fresh, uncut berries to top the cake. 


1 cup elder flower (I had to use dried because we don't have elderflower in Montana, so I hear. Just fishy smelling lookalikes.)
1 cup chamomile
3 cups boiling water. 
Half a lemon, sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar

For the syrup, use these measurements and follow these instructions HERE . Or you can buy a pre-made elderflower cordial at Ikea or online. This is my favorite kind.


Preheat the oven to 350 and line two 7 inch cake pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place egg whites and salt in a medium size bowl with an electric whisk. Whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks, then set aside. In a separate bowl, mix yolks, sugar, water and vanilla extract with whisk until batter has become light and doubled in size. Gently fold in the egg whites, then sprinkle in flour 1/4 cup at a time. Once mixed, pour batter into lined tins and place in oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are a golden color and the cake has set. 

While the cake is baking, get a clean bowl and combine cut berries in with the sugar. Set aside. 

Get another clean bowl (you'll end up doing a lot of dishes with this cake. sry) and combine butter, sugar, rose water, salt, vanilla and milk. Whisk until thick, adding more powdered sugar if needed. Place in freezer or fridge to set and keep cool. 

Once the cakes are done, let cool completely before removing the parchment paper. I usually set my cakes in the fridge for about ten minutes after taking the paper off to speed up the process; you don't want your cakes to be warm at all otherwise the frosting will melt off. Using a pastry brush, slather syrup onto cakes (use 1/2 - 3/4 cup total) and let sit for ten minutes or so. Transfer one layer to a clean plate or cake stand and start frosting. Once the bottom layer is frosted, scoop sugar and berries out and spread evenly. Place second layer and use remaining frosting. Pile on fresh berries, lemon balm, mint or whatever you fancy on top and serve. 


Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta
Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta
Chili Cherry Stout Cake
Chili Cherry Stout Cake

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have much of a sweet tooth. It could even be said that I have an intense aversion to certain sweets. (Whoopie pies actually make me a little anxious - I don't know why. I feel the same way about marshmallows.) HOWEVER, I do love a good piece of chocolate. Whether it be a simple dark chocolate bar or a malt shake, I'm usually down. One of my lifelong dreams has been to recreate the chocolate cake from Matilda. You know the one that Bruce Bogtrotter was forced to eat in front of the whole school and was served to him by a rather gnarly lunch lady. Not the sweetest image of a dessert but that cake looked damn good and I feel like it deserves to be served in a more friendly manner. Hopefully this does it some justice.

I used a bundt cake pan AND a loaf cake for this one, mainly because I didn't have enough pans. But now I have two cakes, and what could be better than that? Am I right?

P.S. I know this is not exactly herbal, but I've been wanting to make this cake for ages and I figured I'd try it out for the blog. 




2 cups stout or other dark beer (I used Guinness)
2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or a gluten free alternative)
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup greek yogurt 


One bar (3.2 oz) dark chocolate
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (use the tip of a spoon to collect cayenne, not your fingers)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee
1/2 cup cherry syrup
1/4 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350º and grease 2-3, 9 inch pans. In a medium pot, heat stout and butter on low until better has melted. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients with a spoon and add your butter beer. Mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and yogurt till well blended and slightly fluffy. Pour egg/yogurt mix in with the chocolate batter and mix well. Pour into pans and place in oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until center is no longer wet. Once done, let the cakes cool for about 30 minutes before attempting to remove them from the pans... trust me on that one. 

For the glaze

While the cakes cool, melt chocolate in a double boiler along with butter. Once melted down, add cherry syrup, cayenne and sugar and mix until smooth. Pour over cake and enjoy. 

Chili Cherry Stout Cake