Delicious aromas of baking wafted through the house yesterday, bringing back memories of Mum in the kitchen making pulla (yeast buns) and other goodies. There’s something heartwarmingly good about such smells and memories.
I had the baking bug inspired by wanting to make some traditional Finnish stuff for a friend’s birthday. What to make? Well, a birthday cake and some sweet yeast buns of course. Not just any yeast bun – the cardamon cinnamon scrolls. And not just any old cake either – the delicious layered sponge with cream and berries.
Me being me, I decided to use different recipes to my usual trusty old favourites. I like to experiment with new recipes. This beautiful cookbook called Falling Cloudberries had a couple of versions that piqued my interest. I thought I was on safe ground so ignored the mild twinges of concern. More on that later.
First, I had to make the dough for the yeast buns as it needed time to rise. Cardamon is one of the key aromats in pulla. Crushing them the old fashioned way with mortar and pestle filled the air with their sweet warmth.
An hour and a half later the yeast had worked its magic and the dough was ready for kneading. In the meantime I had made the filling. Now traditionally I would spread butter, castor sugar and cinnamon on the rolled out sheets of dough. But this recipe called for a filling that was premixed and included a raw egg. It made for a very sloppy filling.
As you can see, the filling is oozing out the sides. It was messy. Tasted nice.
The other problem I had was that the filling oozing out when I squished them into shape. (That’s done by flipping the cut piece onto its wide base then pushing all four fingers down into the middle creating that cauliflower ear look.) It oozed onto the baking sheet too causing the bottoms of some buns to burn. The tops were still a bit too blonde. Won’t be using that filling again! Or that dough recipe. The buns were dry and a bit too dense for my liking. So another recipe not to be repeated. I will go back to adapting the Dallas Pulla recipe to make korvapuusti.
While the korvapuusti were rising on the baking trays, I made the cake. Using fresh strawberries for the jam filling, I cooked it up the day before. Freshly squeezed orange juice, some vanilla paste and a bit of sugar made it taste pretty awesome. Making the cake batter was a lot more convoluted than the recipe Mum had taught me. (It was simply equal quantities of sugar, eggs and self raising flour, which makes for a slightly heavier sponge cake.) This one included melted butter, separated eggs with the whites whipped and folded in last. Hmmm. The cake was nice but dense. Of course.
Once the cake had cooled I sliced it in half. I moistened both sides generously with the strawberry syrup and left it to soak in. Then another lot of moistening. This is meant to be a moist cake. Strangely, a friend of mine will not eat what she calls ‘wet cakes’. Finally, I covered the bottom half with the cooked strawberries, slapped the two halves together, and left them to soak over night.
This morning came the final step – decorating the cake. Apart from smothering it in whipped cream, I used fresh strawberries, blueberries, flaked chocolate and edible wafer flowers.
If you don’t know what a ‘proper täytekakku’ is supposed to be like, this did the job. But I was disappointed. Lesson learnt. I have occasionally cheated and used store bought unfilled sponge cake. Works well. All you have to do is cut it into layers, moisten and decorate.
Don’t mess around with tried and true recipes if you are expecting the tried and true end results !
© Raili Tanska
ps – sorry about the typos in the posters. I noticed them too late to fix them. You may, or may not notice them. I do. And it bugs me. To go back into Canva is just too time consuming.