Posts tagged sweden
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

Ingredients 

cake 

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

Frosting

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

Berries

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. 

Syrup

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.
 

Method

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. 

xx

Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta
Elderflower & Chamomile Midsummer Cake || Jordgubbstårta
Summernight Flower Latte by Elise Esposito of EAT IT ALIVE

Elise and I were introduced by a mutual friend last autumn during my time in Malmö, Sweden. My friend described Elise to me as a fellow wolf sister and kitchen witchy woman, which immediately intrigued me. Once we connected online, I found myself getting lost in the magic of her creations. Her photos and recipes are so unique and inspiring to me so I was thrilled when she agreed to do a guest post for Gingertooth & Twine. I have no doubt that you will leave this post feeling uplifted as I felt this morning after receiving this recipe. 

For more information on Elise and EAT IT ALIVE, head to the bottom of this post.

***

SUMMERNIGHT LATTE

Last winter, I went to Stockholm to visit a friend. It was a very cold week-end and the city was covered by a thick layer of snow. We took a long walk in a park, drank tea and coffee in a cosy bakery, cooked in her little apartment, caught up with life, sharing thoughts and dreams. Right before i left to catch the train back home, she went to her wardrobe and came back with a large suitcase. We sat on the wooden floor and as she opened it a wonderful smell spread into the room. In the suitcase were many small paper bags filled with flowers she had been growing, picking and drying during the summer. There was something magical in the fact that we could enjoy the colors, smells and flavors of those precious plants in the middle of the dark Swedish winter. Like if time had been suspended for a while. She religiously opened the bags one by one, placing samples of each species in an empty jar that she handed out to me. Sage, rose, calendula, lavender, raspberry bush leaves, chamomile, marigold, cornflower... Brewing a cup of tea from this jar has become a ritual. Apart from the subtle and delightful flavour of this flower blend, they each have diverse medicinal properties. In this recipe i combined the tea with plant milk, coconut oil and honey to create a frothy and soothing evening summer drink.

— FOR TWO LARGE CUPS

2 CUPS / 500 ML OAT MILK
1 CUP / 250 ML WATER

2 TSP DRIED FLOWERS (LAVENDER, ROSE BUDS, CHAMOMILLE, CALENDULA, SAGE, RASPBERRIESBUSH LEAVES ETC.)

1 TBSP COCONUT OIL

1 TBSP HONEY

TO SERVE (OPTIONAL)

DRIED FLOWERS, BEE POLLEN

1 - Place dried flowers in a tea infuser spoon or a tea filter. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. (Make sure to avoid boiling point to preserve the properties of honey.) Turn off heat and discard tea infuser/filter.

2 - Make it foam ! You have several options here.

In a blender : Pour the content of the saucepan into a blender. Keep the cap slightly open to allow steam to escape. Slowly bring the speed up to high and blend until foamy. Divide into two large cups.

With a hand mixer :  Place your hand mixer directly in the saucepan and mix until foamy. Divide into two large cups.

In a glass jar : Pour the content of the saucepan in a wide jar. Close tightly. Use a kitchen towel around the jar to avoid burning yourself. Shake vigorously until foamy. In you choose this option you can drink the beverage directly out the jar.

Serve warm in a garden, a park or on a balcony with a sprinkle of dried flowers and bee pollen.

Leftover can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Warm up slowly and make it foam again.

NOTES / 

- I used oat milk because it is locally produced where i live making it both cheap and easy to find. Oat milk has a naturally sweet flavour. You could use any kind of milk you like. Adapt sweetness to your liking.

- The recipe can of course be made vegan by using maple syrup or other sweetener instead of honey. I just find there is something magical in combining the taste of honey and lavender !

- Feel free to use any edible dried flowers for this recipe. You could pick and dry them yourself as my friend did or you could order them or find them in a health food store. If you should pick only one, try making the latte with lavender or chamomile

Elise Esposito is a French graphic designer currently living in Malmö, Sweden. Find her on the internet at eatitalive.squarespace.com or on Instagram @eatitalive

all photos by Elise Esposito