Cardamom and Blueberry Cake

Birthday-Berry-Cake-RecipeWelcome back KokiDoo Friends,

did you experienced any summer out there in your country? Unfortunately, we are still waiting here in Sweden for warmer temperatures. So far, we have a lame 15-16˚C. I think we got closer to 20˚C a couple of times…I think.

Anyway, as I come from the northern part of Italy and precisely from Milan, I definitely should mention that starting from the 1st of May there is EXPO, the World Exhibition. This is a very big event and opportunity that no one should miss. Let’s try to briefly explain what EXPO is and provide some useful links. If you are just interested in the cake or you are drooling from your mouth, scroll down to the recipe.

EXPO Theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy of Life. In particular the 145 participating countries will try to show ideas and technologies to provide a sustainable future for everyone in terms of nutrition. Personally I find really exciting the pavilion that provide ideas about what we will eat in one hundred years.

EXPO official website: http://www.expo2015.org/en

If you want additional information, you can read Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expo_2015

If you plan to stay in Italy more than 1 day visiting also something else than EXPO, you can browse http://verybello.it/ to understand if there is an event you would like to attend all over Italy (Music, Concerts, Opera, Dance, Cinema and so on).

Cardamom-BlueBerry-CakeWhy should I go to EXPO? In particular, what is there to visit?

This is a difficult question because there are more than 140 participants and each of them have their own pavilion with different exhibitions. However, to try to give you an idea about the Exhibition, I collected websites that try to evaluate the top 10 things to do and see with a description of the different pavilions:

When: 1st May – 31th October 2015

Where: Milan, Rho-Fiera metro stop on the Red line. You can take this metro line directly from the Milano Duomo and it will take about 25-30 minutes to reach EXPO. If You are coming from a big train station like Milano Centrale or Milano Porta Garibaldi, go first to the red line metro and then head towards Milano Rho-Fiera. There are also buses that go there but I think the metro is the most straightforward way.

Opening hours: h10 – h23, every day

Tickets: there are different kind of tickets valid for 1 or more days. Eventually, one could buy a seasonal pass. If you are going only for 1 day, you can buy a ticket valid for a precise day or you can decide when to go. Anyway, for the second solution, it is recommended to book the visit. Indeed, once the Exhibition will reach the maximum number of visitors for the day, no one else can enter. The price starts from 34 Euro for the fixed day and 39 Euro if you want to choose the day to go.

Where to stay?

Ideally one would like to book as soon as he/she could. Milan is expecting 20 million visitors, so there should not be very many places left in the city. If you do not find any place that suites you, visit AirBnB to find a solution in a private house.

Where to eat?

Well, EXPO itself is a the World Exhibition that deals with food and there are plenty of different solutions inside the Exhibition. Further, Milan and the surroundings are full of extremely nice restaurants. Otherwise, you could visit VizEat if you want to eat in private houses and try authentic Italian food.

So what are you waiting for? If you are a curious person that loves food, come to Milan, visit EXPO and experience my beautiful country that, I am sure, has so many things to offer in terms of food, art, cities, fun, fashion and sport.

Cardamom-BlueBerry-Cake-SliceNow we need a cake! What do you say? This week we would like to suggest a moist “Cardamom and Blueberry Cake”. It is a very appealing layered cake, pretty high with a small diameter. I love this kind of cakes with several layers, maybe with different filling and a luscious frosting. The different cake layers are flavoured with cardamom, while the blueberry is in the filling and frosting. However, the filling is fruitier than the frosting as it contains more blueberries.

Cardamom and Blueberry Cake has four cardamom layers and three blueberry filling; I think this is a perfect proportion but if you like it creamier, you may eventually add an additional layer of blueberry filling. I would recommend to eat it not more than one day after the baking otherwise the layers may become a bit dry.

Maria baked it for my birthday. I loved this cake as soon as I saw it: I was expecting something white or brown, chocolatish but the violet frosting pleasantly surprised me and made me eager to taste it. Lovely! By the way, the filling is named Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I find those names kind of sexy! Cardamom and Blueberry Cake is easy to cut despite it is quite high, the slices are firm and do not fall apart. Also, the filling is not absorbed by the cake layers, which thing I like very much. I love when the different parts of the cake are well defined and do not fuse together, otherwise the taste and the texture of the cake will be completely ruined.

The cake is crowned with fresh blueberries surrounded by little meringues. You can buy ready-made meringues or bake them using KokiDoo recipe. The final touch for this gorgeous cake is to decorate it with flowers all around the bottom.

Cardamom-Berry-Cake-Recipe

Cardamom and Blueberry Cake
Serves 8
Luscious Birthday Cake with cardamom cake layers and magnificent Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting crowned with fresh blueberries and meringues!
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Ingredients
For the cake
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 1/3 dl (1 cup) sugar
  3. 1 1/6 dl (1/2 cup) flour
  4. 1 1/6 dl (1/2 cup) potato starch
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cardemom
For the Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
  1. 400 g blueberries
  2. 2 tbsp water
  3. 5 egg whites
  4. 3 dl (1 1/4 cup) sugar
  5. 325 g (1 1/2 cup) butter (at room temperature)
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Decoration
  1. blueberries
  2. mini meringues
  3. daisies
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees F).
  2. Grease and line a 10 cm (4 inches) baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Cream eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Sift together flour, potato starch, baking powder, and cardemom.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out dry.
For the Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
  1. Place blueberries and water in a saucepan, heat until it boils and then let it boil for about ten minutes.
  2. Let it cool completely.
  3. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl and place it over a pot of boiling water.
  4. Whisk constantly by hand until the temperature reaches 65 degrees C (150 degrees F) or the sugar has dissolved completely.
  5. Beat in an electric standing mixer with the whisk attachment, starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, until the meringue is thick, glossy, forms stiff peaks and the bowl is no longer hot to the touch. This takes about 10 minutes or so.
  6. Switch to the paddle attachment and put the mixer on slow-medium speed.
  7. Add the butter, a small piece at a time and mix well after each addition. Continue beating until the buttercream has a silky smooth texture.
  8. Add half of the blueberry puree and whip until it is smooth again (can take some minutes).
  9. Divide the buttercream in two (one part to frost the cake and one part to fill the cake).
  10. Add the rest of the blueberry puree to one of the parts and keep beating until smooth again (this will be the buttercream for the filling).
Assembly and Decoration
  1. Cut the cardemom cake even and divide it in four layers.
  2. Place one layer on a cake plate, spread the blueberry buttercream for the filling on top and repeat until you come to the last cake layer.
  3. Place the last cake layer bottom up.
  4. Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting and chill for about half an hour.
  5. Cover the cake with frosting again but this time with a thicker layer of frosting.
  6. Decorate with blueberries, mini meringues and daisies.
Notes
  1. Swiss Meringue Buttercream must be served at room temperature in order to experience its velvety smoothness.
KokiDoo http://blog.kokidoo.se/
Enjoy!

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Red Orange and Lemon Bars

 

Baked-Lemon-SquaresDear KokiDoo Friends,

I know, it has been a long while since I wrote last time. Sometimes life does not go the way You planned even though we tried our best to be punctual. Little Julia was sick for days and she passed the flu to all of us! We had 10 days bad days in which we couldn’t really do almost anything! Finally Julia is healthy again and we are back on track and ready to bake again.

We have also been in Italy (partly sick, doh!) for some days visiting my parents. We have spent some excellent time there even though the weather could have been a bit better. Now it seems the sun is shining in Milan and a full 25˚C spring kicked in. Here in Sweden is much warmer than a month ago but still longing for a wonderful 20˚C.

Lemon-Squares-RecipeThe first thing I think when I go to Italy, apart my family, is the food and above all the ice cream. If You happen to go to Italy, do not miss “gelato”. I mean the gelato You buy in “gelateria” (ice cream shop), not the one in the supermarket. They are totally different!

As regards food, if You are looking for quality and quantity, we have restaurants that take care of events (birthdays, baptism, Easter, Christmas and so on). Great food and reasonable price. You could have a 5 courses lunch for around 50 dollars (45 euros). Restaurants that take care of marriages are much more pricey.

We went in one the previously mentioned restaurant that was close to a beautiful river on which sides there was forest. The view was enchanting and the food quality just perfect. We had a starter with hot and cold tasty bites, like Parma ham, spinach/cheese pie, salami and so on. Then the “primo piatto” (usually pasta, risotto, ravioli or gnocchi) was served. Half of it was a creamy risotto with mushrooms and the other half was paccheri with seabream.

Italian “Event” lunches have usually breaks in between the courses: a little walk close to the river and some chat, just to relax and let the appetite develops better. Hence we were back on our table and we found in front of us the “secondo piatto” (usually meat or fish): a delicate hoven-baked seabass with cherry tomatoes.

Lemon-SquaresWe are not done yet! Maria’s parents seemed to be full already and I kind of understand them! It was a lot of food! Anyway, after the fish, it could not miss the meat: the waiters brought a juicy “tagliata” with herbs and potatoes. Usually, between the fish and the meat, You enjoy a lemon sorbet with or without vodka or champagne. I always thought that sorbet is served to refresh the mouth and prepare it for a completely different flavour. I wonder if this is really the reason.

At this point, I have to confess I was also very full and I would probably not have made it with the dessert if it was a cake. Luckily they had “Macedonia con gelato” (Macedonia is Fruit Salad). The fruits were very fresh, mature and appealing so I ate that too. The dessert was served with a flute of sparkling champagne. Finally coffee, amaro or limoncello and that’s it. Maria and her parents were wondering how we could have possibly made it to fit all that food in our bodies. I hardly could explain it! We do these kind of lunches when we celebrate something. In my experience it is usually 2-3 times a year. It was my birthday and also my parents had their own anniversary so we celebrated together. Nowadays I eat just once a day and it start to be difficult to arrive at the end of those dinners. Luckily, the portions are not very big as they used to be 20 years ago and most of them are bites or 1/3 of the portion.

The day before this lunch, we went to Milan which is already super crowded. Milan is getting the final touch to be (hopefully) ready for EXPO 2015, the World Exhibition. EXPO will last from 1st of May till the end of October. Hence, I will have full time to talk about it in the next post! Don’t miss it! I feel I have talked too much for today.Delicious-Lemon-SquaresWe also baked in the meantime! Just kidding! Maria is very fond of citrus fruits I see. If You go back with posts, we had the “Sunshine Citrus Cake” and “Orange Coconut Popsicles”. The present dessert would be: “Red Orange and Lemon Squares” or also “Red Orange and Lemon Bars”. Those amazing sweet bites have a crispy bottom covered with a pleasant, soft, fruity lemon or red orange filling. I personally love the tangy, fresh taste of lemon and citrus fruit in general. Our Red Orange and Lemon Bars are a bit thicker than the usual ones for some extra pleasure.

These Red Orange and Lemon Squares fit many occasions: they are perfect for a buffet or You could serve them when You need a small, easy-to-do, sweet bite for a tea or coffee. You need to give the final touch to the citrus squares, spreading powdered sugar over them just before You serve them. Don’t let the sugar stay too much above the squares, otherwise it will be absorbed by the creamy filling and You may need to add it again.

Lemon-Orange-Squares

Red Orange and lemon Bars
Amazing sweet bites with a crispy bottom covered with a soft, fruity, tangy lemon or red orange filling.
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Ingredients
  1. For the Crust
  2. 150 g (1 1/4 stick) butter
  3. 150 g (1 cup) flour
  4. 60 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  5. For the Filling
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 225 g (1 cup) caster sugar - [190 g (4/5 cup) for the blood orange squares]
  8. 22,5 g (1 tbsp) flour
  9. 1 dl (2/5 cup) + 1 tbsp lemon juice - [1 dl (2/5 cup) blood orange juice and 1 tbsp lemon juice for the blood orange squares]
  10. 3 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl.
  2. Work with your hands until the dough comes together.
  3. Line the bottom of a 20x20 cm baking pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes in 175 degrees C.
  5. Mix eggs and caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
  6. Add flour, whisk, add lemon juice (and red orange juice for the red orange squares), whisk and finally add milk and whisk.
  7. Pour into the hot crust.
  8. Bake for another 18 minutes in 150 degrees.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Cut in squares and dust with powdered sugar just before serving!
Notes
  1. The Red Orange filling has the same ingredients than the Lemon filling. You just need to adjust the dosage of thesome ingredients using the ones in the squared brackets.
KokiDoo http://blog.kokidoo.se/
If You like our pictures, recipes or style, share/stumble our posts or pin our photos. Leave us comments or mail: we are glad to answer as soon as we can!

KokiDoo is also on Etsy: visit our Etsy shop, see our best photos and choose the print that You like Best for Your house walls or Your shop.

Are You a great cook and You like to meet new people? Are You travelling and You would like to taste the typical food of the place where You are? Then, VizEat, a food-sharing community, is the place for You!

We will see You very soon and Have a lovely day!

KokiDoo