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Wednesday 26 March 2014

Finnish Bilberry Cake

I have recently been obsessed with Finnish things. My offering Iittala glassware as a Re-Inventing the Lamington 2014 prize shows that. I have also been obsessed with Willam Belli, but I don't think Delicious Delicious Delicious is the place to discuss that. (Godammit.)

I'm thinking that more Finnish baking will follow in coming weeks, because obsession is mind-occupying thing, but I'm kicking the game off with a completely self-imagined delicacy that I'm only calling Finnish because it contains cardamom (swoon) and bilberries, or what the Finns call mustikka.

Now, I don't want to get too over the top about these bilberries. They come dried, I buy them in Helsinki and I love them, but that's not to say that they aren't also somewhat unremarkable. I'm from the North West: we have winberries, which I am pretty sure are the same thing. We just don't dry them or grind them into a powder (that's coming in a later recipe.), or put them in coffee.

But nonetheless: there's something super charming about the packaging that these come in (bad photo coming up. Sorry!) which makes me want to buy them.

Let's put them in a cake!

You could replace the dried mustikka with whatever you like. You could chop up some of that dried kiwi fruit you can get in health food shops. Why not? (It would be green though.)

Finnish Bilberry Cake

You will need:

50ml milk
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
seeds from 10 cardamom pods, crushed
150g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200g soft butter
50g dried bilberries

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a medium bowl, mix the milk, eggs, vanilla and cardamom.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients (except the bilberries) and mix using a hand whisk until blended. This means no sifting: awesome. Add the butter, cubed, and half of the egg and milk mixture. Mix, with an electric hand mixer, on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. 
  3. Add the remaining egg mixture and beat for 40 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Fold in the dried bilberries using a spoon..
  4. Scrape the batter into a greased 6-cup bundt pan, or a loaf tin of the same size. Smooth the surface with a spatula. (If you prefer, use the batter for cupcakes. You should get around 14.)
  5. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. This took an hour for me. 
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn out to cool.


  1. You can get bilberries over here in the UK as well: usually found in the home baking aisle of the supermarket. ''Mustikka" and "blåbär" both means "blueberry". Being Swedish, I do however gave to agree that Finnish blueberries are far superior to the British ones!

  2. Peter, this looks delightful! In the US, we have neither bilberries nor their cousin the winberries; we have blueberries, another cousin. I love putting dried blueberries in my scones.

  3. I've never seen or tried bilberries before but I really want to give them a try now! The cake sounds delicious.


That's what he said.

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