My grandmother was an excellent baker, and baking brings back fond memories of her. My children never met her, but I want her to live on in my cakes, cookies and breads. Another reason why I love baking is that while cooking is an art, baking is a science! To me baking is a wonderful combination of family, culture and science. I have put up some of my recipes here. You can see more pictures on my blog.

Christmas Cookies

Peppernøtter (pepper nuts)

I learned this from my mother, who I believe learned it from a cookbook by Schønberg Erken.

1 egg
3 egg yolks
375 g sugar
200 g butter
1.5 dl cream
75 g almonds (blanched and ground)
200 g candied citron peel (sukat)
500 g cake flour
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove

Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. The goal is have the sugar create small holes in the butter, which will make the cookies rise nicely when baked. Make sure that the butter is room temperature, but not melted, and use caster or superfine sugar if available.
Mix in the wet ingredients, and finally fold in the dry ingredients.
Leave the dough overnight in the fridge. Roll out into small balls.
Bake at 190 °C for 10 min. Make sure not to overbake them.


This is my grandmother's recipe, which I got from my cousin Anna.

500 g flour
335 g butter
85 g sugar
0.75 dl cream
1.5 egg yolk
0.5 egg white
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla sugar (1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tbsp cognac

Crumble the butter with the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar.
Add the egg yolks and cream.
Whip the eggwhite and add it together with the cognac.
Leave in the fridge overnight.
Roll out and cut to fit the shape of the goro iron. Wrap in baking paper and leave in the fridge until all the pieces are ready for baking.



5 egg yolks
5 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp cream
1 tbsp cognac
0.25 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp cardamom
1 egg white
350 g flour
500 g oil for frying

Whip egg yolks and sugar.
Whip the cream and add it.
Add cognac and spices.
Whip the egg white and fold in.
Fold in 200 g of the flour and leave the dough overnight in the fridge.
Use the rest of the flour for rolling out in a thin layer. Cut into diamond shaped pieces. Cut a whole in the middle and pull through.
Keep the oil at 170 °C and put three or four pieces in at the time. Turn them as soon at the float up to the surface. Shake off the oil and leave on paper towels on cooling trays.


Toscakake (Tosca cake)

Tosca in the back, kransekake front left, kong Oscar II front right.

3 eggs
180 g sugar
150 g flour
100 g butter

100 g butter
100 g sugar
25 g (1.5 tbsp) milk
15 g (1.5 tbsp) flour
150 g almonds (ground or slivered)

Beat egg and sugar for 10 minutes. Fold in melted butter and flour.
Bake in a round baking pan (24 cm) at 180 °C for 25-30 min.
To make the topping, melt the butter in a pan. Remove it from the stove and add the sugar, milk and flour. Stir until smooth and add the almonds.
After 25-30 minutes, take the cake out of the oven and spread the topping over it. Put it back in the oven for another 20 min. The topping should be golden brown.

Kong Oscar IIs kake (King Oscar II's cake )

4 egg whites
150 g icing sugar
150 g ground almonds
2.5 g (0.5 tsp) baking powder

4 egg yolks
125 g sugar
1 dl cream
1 tsp vanilla sugar (1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
150 g unsalted butter

Beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks.
Gradually add the icing sugar and continue beating until you get stiff peaks.
Mix the ground almonds and the baking powder in a separate bowl.
Mix about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the almond mix to lighten it and then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the almonds.
Line a circular baking pan with diameter 23 cm (9 inches) with baking paper.
Bake at 175 °C degrees for 30 minutes. Cool it in the fridge or freezer.

Mix the egg yolks, cream, sugar and vanilla in a pot and bring to boil while stirring. This burns easily, so stir carefully. Cool it in the fridge.
When it has cooled down, add room temperature butter and stir until blended. Put it back in the fridge.
When the cream is firm, spread it over the cake, and put the cake in the freezer to cool further before you serve it.

Be careful not to overbeat the egg whites. If you are good at beating egg whites and you know how to get stiff peaks without overbeating, you may not need the baking powder, but you can try using it the first time. If the cake first domes and then collapses while baking, you can skip it the next time.
You can use blanched or whole almonds. The main difference is the color.
The hard part is getting the cream stiff. If you follow my instructions, it should work. If not, add some gelatin next time!

This cake was my grandmother’s favorite. At first she didn't want to give me the recipe, because she thought that if I started making it ourselves, I wouldn't want to come and visit her, but when I left to do my Ph.D. she finally gave it to me.

This cake is named after the Swedish-Norwegian king Oscar II (1829-1907). It is also known as Success Cake (suksessterte or suksesskake).

Kransekake (wreath cake)

Tosca in the back, kransekake front left, kong Oscar II front right.

500 g almonds
500 g powdered sugar
1 tbsp flour
4 egg whites

150 g powdered sugar
1 egg white

Use blanched or unblanched ground almonds, or a mixture. Mix the ingredients and heat the dough on the stove while stirring until it becomes hot to touch.
Leave overnight in the fridge and roll out into the moulds.
Bake at 200 °C for 12 minutes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

I learned this from I made 150 of these for Mamma's colleagues when we celebrated Anna's first month birthday.

Makes about 48 cupcakes
125 g Cocoa powder
600 ml boiling hot water
285 g unsalted butter
500 g sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla sugar (1 tsp vanilla extract)
475 g all purpose flour
25 g (5 tsp) baking powder
6 g (1.25 tsp) salt

Chocolate Frosting:
240 g semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
170 g unsalted butter
1.5 tsp vanilla sugar (3/4 tsp vanilla extract)
20 ml (4 tsp) light corn syrup
310 g (8/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
240 ml (1 cup) sour cream
10 g (2 tsp) hot water

Shaved or grated white or dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 190 °C.
Mix boiling hot water and cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated.
Add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife before frosting.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and corn syrup.
Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time (at this point the frosting will be quite thick).
Place the frosting in the mixer and gradually add the sour cream and hot water. Mix until the frosting is nice and shiny.
At this point you can simply spread some frosting on the top of each cupcake. However, if you want to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes you will have to place the frosting in the fridge for it to firm up. Periodically check and stir the frosting until it is of the desired piping consistency.
Garnish each cupcake with shaved or grated white or dark chocolate.

Adapted from Annie Bell: Gorgeous Cakes.

Helmer Aslaksen
Department of Mathematics
National University of Singapore

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