Lockdown Cake Celebration – Syttende Mai

The 17 May (syttende mai) is The National Day of Norway theres usual parades held across Norway to celebrate with traditional national costumes (bunads) worn, flags waving and hurra shouting, alot of hot dogs, ice cream eaten and games with family and friends. But this year on lockdown this was to look very different across Norway but also for those (including us) who would be celebrating from afar this year. But just because the celebrations would be much smaller this year didn’t mean I wouldn’t still celebrate through some cake creations sharing the traditions and love for my heritage.

Last year we celebrated in Oslo with family for this very special celebration and enjoyed all that this huge country party brings! 2020’s 17th May begun with a family video call to wish “gratulerer med dagen” (congratulations with the day) to our family whom we’ve not been able to see for over 9 weeks now, it was so sad we were not all together but we remembered fondly the memories from last year with a promise that 2021 we’d hopefully be able to make up for it and Id bake all these yummy treats again!

Cake is a big deal in Norway and every celebration has its traditional bakes which are a must on any cake table. Some recipes I’ve had handed down to me and bake frequently but in my search to learn more about me heritage I also went on the hunt for some new creations to celebrate the day! I LOVE creating home cake tables, a mini celebration of yummy treats and bakes and here I share my Norwegian themed cake table selection for this year:

Bløtkake – Norwegian Cream Cake

A traditional Norwegian Cream Cake that makes an appearance at most celebrations, and of course for the 17 May it needs to be colour coordinated to the Norwegian flag. This butter-less cake is light and fluffy and my mother has baked this cake for every family birthday I can remember and with its yummy layers of a homemade custard cream and fruit ( for us normally raspberries ) it never lasts long. Traditional decorated in fresh whipped cream and tonnes of fruit, chill over night these fillings soak into the sponge and set slightly making cutting it up easier, I highly recommend addition to any celebration or cake table, its a family favourite for us especially on Norwegian National Day!!

Norsk Flaggkake – Norwegian Flag Cake

Flag berry decorated cream cakes are a must on 17 May but I thought for my second cream cake I’d try out a surprise flag cake. This took some time getting my head around the ring layers (link below for instructions I used) to ensure I created the correct flag and the anxious wait till slicing to see if I’d filled it correctly! It worked really well and a simple looking exterior hid the surprise inside. I down sized the design to a 7″ cake, as I’ve discovered using many family recipes is that Norwegian cakes are not small they only come in family sharing size.

I used my standard vanilla cake sponge with food colouring, you’ll need to bake two cakes one red and one blue. A tip for the whipped cream, is add a small amount of icing sugar to help stiffen it up for piping between the ring layers. There is some left over cake once you’ve cut all your discs out, which we crumbed and mixed with some buttercream and rolled in sprinkles to make some tasty kids cake bites to reduce on sponge waste. Its well worth the layering challenge for the moment when you reveal the first slice!

CREDITS: helpful instructions on how to build your layers: https://www.godt.no/oppskrift/7526/flaggkake

Kvæfjordkake

This was a new one for me but looking like the kind of centrepiece cake my cake table needed and discovering it was nicknamed as verdens beste, “the world’s best” of course it needed to be baked. Its a thin sponge cake baked with a meringue top scattered with flaked almonds and filled with the traditional cream custard which features in lots of Norwegian bakes. I didn’t have the exact sized tin required so my meringue layer was slightly thicker than it should be meaning I had to adjust cooking times, the cake is actually cut in half (once cooled) and sandwiched together so that you get meringue on the top and bottom, yummy!!. Kvæfjordkake is deserved of its nickname, its extremely luxurious and should be accompanied with fresh berries and I know this will be a family hit next year too!!

CREDITS: https://northwildkitchen.com/kvaefjordkake-worlds-best-cake/

Flag jelly

After seeing the idea on Pintrest I couldn’t resist the temptation to try and create them my self! little did I know how long it would take, the actual making part is quite quick but the allowing each layer to set before the next is poured tested my patience, they tasted great and looked amazing though! These are basically a jelly and panna cotta layered sandwich, I used slightly less water than the standard jelly mix to get a firmer jelly and I used the ice cube method to help cool the mix quicker before poring to speed up the setting process. If your catering for a larger amount of people it might be slightly easier to do, as the volume of jelly a mix makes would be better but if your planning to try these out be sure to have plenty of fridge space and time to add these show stoppers to your dessert table!!

CREDITS: Idea used from: https://meny.no/Tema/Anledninger/desserter-17-mai/

Kransekake

Of course id be making one on these, there part of my Syv kjeks – Christmas biscuit range (read more about them on my blog post – Scandi Market) and traditional made up of 18 almond rings stacked in a stunning tower, but for this year I tried something a little different I flipped it on its head ‘literally’ and made a treat bowl instead which we filled with Norwegian goodies to adorn our table. My daughter thought i was going mad when she watched me assembling it and corrected me that i should be making it taller, she is correct but i thought this was a nice way to display our treats rather than putting them in a bowl, what do you think?

Setting up the table was a little harder this year with some helpful hands keen to try out the new bakes but with a few handmade decorations, some obligatory flags and flag table runners, my red white and blue Norwegian National day Cake table was complete and ready for us to enjoy and share with our neighbours whom we made cake parcels for, I hate waste and its good to share especially when its cake!

*cake parcels were delivered at a safe distance and social distancing was still enforced *

Time to Experiment

Time seems to be all we have at the moment, yet the days are long and when you have little ones minds to entertain, constantly trying to come up with new interesting things can be challenging. Why not try some of these tried and tested easy projects using house hold items that we’ve enjoyed doing and thought you might too!

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Flowery Crafts

Pressed Flower Wings

Spring has sprung and its so nice to see flashes of colour back in the garden. The days are warmer and were all spending more time in the garden. Homeschooling is challenging most days but crafts and activities always seem to help with the teaching and learning. Whilst searching for crafts to do with my daughter around the theme of ‘spring’ I found lots of wonderful projects using pressed flowers and thought these would be great to do to help learn more about spring. So we thought we’d share some tried and tested projects.

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Baking SOS

With lock down remaining in place it seems we’ve got a little more time to try out things we wouldn’t normally do and baking seems to be a popular one especially if you have children (read my baking with children blog post). Ive been baking since I was little, i have no formal baking experience, I learnt the basics from my mum and dad and by trying things out. I believe anyone can bake, you just need a bit of confidence to get started.

Yes theres an element of having some basic baking knowledge and a good recipe, but ive tried lots of recipes over the years and you’ll just find ones which work for you and you’ll bake them again and again. But honestly baking cakes maybe considered an art, but actually baking cakes is a science and they come with a handy ‘recipe’ to make them work. It’s true that the science of cake baking can be tricky to master, theres pitfalls that can happen from deflated or shrinking cakes, cakes that are too dry, too wet, or too crumbly, but often they do have an explanation, and more often than not, an easy solution. Many common cake baking issues can be resolved by learning some key basic baking techniques, before you even get to the fun part of decorating!

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Don’t go Loo-py

So as the UK and we’ll most of the world goes into shut down, we all getting used to a very different way of life. I never thought I’d ever see something like this in my life time but for now this is how it is and I’m determined to try see the positives, I get to spend more time with my daughter who has just started school so I’ve missed those extra days spent crafting together, I’ve had massive mum guilt having recently gone back to work about the lack of time I feel I have with my one year old son too and I get to see my husband more too, so any extra time is a bonus.

I am lucky to be with my family to have each other. but lets face it this is a routine that although with its good point come equally hard parts and i know that after just two short weeks isolated at home im starting to feel I’m going a little loopy! juggling life, home schooling and coping with the house looking like we’ve been burgled is challenging but I’ve found that ‘craft time’ has become a great way for me and my children to take some time out, let our imaginations take over and for those few hours forget the worries of the day and just enjoy getting crafty together.

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