Are you almost ready for Christmas? Can you believe it's only a week away? It feels like December flies by faster and faster every year! I always feel a bit sorry for those with birthdays in December, because their birthdays are often overshadowed by all the Christmas hustle and bustle and festivities.
For some reason, there seem to be quite a few December birthdays in my circle of friends and extended family. My Aunt Lydia and Aunt Phyllis, along with several cousins, all have birthdays this month. I so treasure my relationships with my aunts and uncles...the memories..the faith...and the love we all share. When your parents are gone, relationships with their remaining siblings often become even more meaningful, because time spent with them gives you a little piece of your mom or dad back. You notice characteristics they share...a laugh, a twinkle in the eye, a manner of speech...that you may never have noticed before.
In an effort to acknowledge several of these special relatives, I decided to host a little December birthday luncheon for my two aunts and one of my cousins, Kirsten, who lives nearby. Since it's been a bit cold and blustery, I thought a couple hearty soups, like Beef Stew and Clam chowder, along with a green salad and rolls, would be good choices. When it comes to birthday parties, the cake is always an important consideration, right? It is for me anyway! I knew my Aunt Phyllis loves Krunsekake, so that needed to be made, but I had also wanted to try making a Blotkake, another traditional Norwegian dessert.
Blotkake is basically a light sponge like cake, with fresh fruit, and a whipped cream filling and topping. Some add jam in between the layers...but the recipe I followed just called for fruit and I liked the idea of a little less sweetness. Norwegians often serve this dessert for birthdays and holidays, like Syttende Mai, which is like our 4th of July.
Blotkake is really quite easy to make and makes for a light, yet delicious dessert. Since the soups were hearty, I thought light desserts would be best. I'll share a few photos of the process along the way.
1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt....sift together in bowl.
4 large eggs (room temp), 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp of sugar (taken from 1 cup sugar you measure). Place the eggs, vanilla, and 2 tsp sugar in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Beat on medium speed, with whisk attachment, until foamy. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. The mixture will form a thick ribbon that dissolves when the beater is lifted out of the bowl.
Gently fold in half of the flour mixture, 2 tablespoons of water, the remaining sugar, and then other half of flour. Divide the batter between two pans, that have been sprayed with non stick cooking spray and lined with wax or parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until center springs back. Cool 10 minutes and removed from pans. Remove wax or parchment paper, turn right side up, and cool completely.
Sort 1 lb of strawberries or raspberries, saving the best berries for the top. Slice remaining berries and mix with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes until juicy.
Beat 1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream with 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla, until peaks form.
Place one layer of cake on plate, top with sugared strawberries, and spread 1 cup whipping cream on top. Add other cake layer, and spread with remaining whipped cream. You do not have to coat the sides, if you prefer not to. Garnish with reserved strawberries. Cake must be kept refrigerated until served.
The other dessert, the Krunsekake, at the end of the table...
A little take home gift...granola!
And, a photo of our little birthday party...
We had such a lovely time...and I am so deeply thankful for my extended family and the bond of love we share. I enjoyed the Blotkake so much that I'm making it again for another party tonight! I would love to hear if you've tried any new recipes in your Christmas baking.
I hope you are taking some time to reflect on the meaning of this Advent season. I'm just loving so many of the Christmas carols, old and new. I'll close with this one...