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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.

Monday 24 March 2014

Re-Inventing the Lamington 2014: The Winner

 One word: winner.

Oh boy, do I find choosing a winner difficult. Seriously, I take less time choosing which body butter (obsessed) to pick up when I am at The Body Shop, and that's pretty much like 'Sophie's Choice' for me anyway.

I'd had this idea that I would get some friends of mine to do the judging and pick a winner, but it didn't work out. We're all in our thirties now, we're busy and who really has time to judge a lamington competition anyway?


So I relied on all of your comments and tweets (which, as a Twitter newbie, I still find exciting) to guide me. And they did. To Curtis and his Eurythmics inspired lamingtons.

Congrats to Curtis! Do you want to actually Fed-Ex me the lamingtons so I can make sure they're worthy? :)

The prize is on it's way.

And thanks to all who entered!

Stick around people, I have some awesome cake coming this week.

Ciao for now.

Monday 10 March 2014

Re-Inventing the Lamington 2014: The Round-Up!

I know. This is late. All I can say is that if you were me, and had my life (and more importantly, my lack of skill with an iPad Mini), you would also find blogging remotely in hotel rooms a nightmare.

I can only apologise for taking forever to get this post together. I get so jet lagged on layovers that it is really hard to motivate myself. But I am back home now, and making it happen. Rejoice.

I still don't know how to judge these (I love them all), but your comments or tweets will definitely help, so please let me know your thoughts. I hope to reach a decision by the end of the week.

I am always amazed by the entries I get for this competition, and also touched. I know that lamingtons make mess. Thanks to all who baked, or even just read along.

So, without further ado!

Jana blogs in German and English. (I know, right?) She made me think for a second that I should start publishing in Japanese as well, but then I thought about having to translate myself and it gave me a headache. Jana made Carrot Cake Guglhupf Lamingtons. I love these: read the post. They don't look like lamingtons, but they are super lamington-inspired.

Vivien Lloyd, she of preserving fame, made Marmalade Lamingtons. I bet they were moist and squishy and delicious! How beautiful is this picture by the way? Say hello to her on Twitter - @vivienlloyd. Hell, why not say hello to me as well? @peterdelicious

Michael Toa made lamingtons using Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise. I have to be honest, when I first heard about them I was pretty shocked. The mayo is actually in the cake though, as an ingredient, and the lamingtons are Chocolate and Passion Fruit. Score! Michael has a cute YouTube Channel by the way. Check it out!

Dom, he of Belleau and regular lamington re-invention, did not disappoint this year. He made a Green Tea, Lime and Coconut Lamington Cake. I have always resisted the matcha lamington, but I do not think I would turn his down. Look at those cake layers! Tell him you love them. Tweet @belleaukitchen.

Lou Lou made some Raspberry and Rose Lamingtons. These just look unbelievably perfect. I nearly screamed when I saw them. With joy. Deep joy.

These are Mardi's first entry. I do love a baker with a competitive edge! They are Lami-Choux, and are definitely what Parisians would call 'très choux!'. Up next we have her...

 ...Jaffington Cupcakes. I love the sound of these, and especially love the marmalade in the ganache. It's not just an orange cake with some chocolate on top. Mardi (@eatlivtravwrite) lives in Canada. Gutted it's too far to pop around for one.

Curtis came out of Blog Hibernation (tsk tsk) to post the most unique lamingtons I think I have ever seen. Yes, these are lamingtons inspired by the wonderful Annie Lennox. And Dave Stewart. You may balk at Eurythmics Lamingtons. I say, 'Bring them over here. Now.' That up there is a Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) Lamington, and here we have a There Must Be An Angel Lamington.

They are obviously made of angel food cake. :)

Lucy made Raw Raspberry Lamingtons. The title, when you look at the URL for the link alone, is 'Treat Me Raw Raspberry Lamingtons' - I think they sound pretty saucy!

So, that's it for this year's entrants. Let me know what you think of them - which is your favourite, etc. I have an idea anyway of how I am going to select someone, but decisions can always be informed.

Have a great week!
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