We’ve just gotten back from Norway, and already I miss it. Our visit went far too fast. The sunlight hours stretch past 11pm at this time of the year, and we made use of all of them, filling them with family and friends, swimming, hiking, fishing, berry picking, determined tanning, and all my favorite treats and snacks. Admittedly, the weather wasn’t perfect (the front page news story every day concerned itself with whether we could expect sun for the weekend and where to go to find the best weather). And there was an invasion of burning jellyfishes that turned ocean bathing into an extreme adventure sport. But, still, it was perfect. If it weren’t so hard to find iced coffee there (people tend to drink their coffee hot and black, even when hanging out on the beach), I think my campaign to convince Joel we should move to Norway would already be successfully completed. As it is, it might take one more visit .
I have all sorts of plans to show you the wonderful landscape around our cabin, the abundance of food you can forage and eat in the summer, and some of the wonderfully goofy Norwegian people. But, being who I am, I mostly forgot to take pictures, and I have to wait for my dad to send them to me. So, instead I’ll start with this lovely cinnamon snack cake that my aunt made for everyone.
This cake had the great good fortune, or misfortune, of being a participant in what wound up being one of the best days of my life to date. Misfortune because it was completely upstaged by other events, including 4 bottles of rather good champagne. Good fortune because even in the face of all the other excitement, I’ll certainly never forget our delicious afternoon snack.
The day was a gloriously sunny, but not overly hot (it pretty much never gets legitimately hot in Norway, it’s wonderful). The water in all the little bays sparkled with that disco ball look the ocean gets in the sunshine. We went for a long hike and a refreshing swim, taking our time and enjoying the splendor of the day. The universe appeared to be in the mood for celebration, for as we clambered up the steep hill to where our cabin is perched on the rocks, a whole flock of friends descended on us at just the same moment that my aunt announced she had just taken a freshly baked snack cake out of the oven. How delightful! Somebody start a fresh pot of coffee!
We spread ourselves on the rocks, lizard-like, inhaled the sweet cinnamon aroma, and enjoyed generous slices of the moist cake. The cake is just lightly sweetened, and can be eaten right out of your hand if you wish. No plate required! My aunt explained that it is meant as an alternative to boller or vaffler. And, while I see absolutely no need for an alternative to either of those – they are, objectively, the two best snack foods of all time – that will by no means prevent me from incorporating this cake into my repertoire.
Kanelkake (cinnamon cake)
When my aunt made this cake, she actually used a literal cup – a teacup – rather than a cup measure, since they generally use deciliters and grams for measuring. But, this is the recipe she gave me, and the proportions should be correct if you use a small cup like a tea cup. Sorry if it’s confusing! A metric version also follows.
- 1 liter (4 regular cups) kefir (or buttermilk)
- 6 small cups (3 regular cups) sugar
- 1 ½ small cups (3/4 cup) melted butter, cooled
- circa 8 small cups flour (5 regular cups)
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 390F (200C). With an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until well blended. Then beat in the kefir followed by the rest of the ingredients.
- Grease (and line with baking paper, if desired) a very large baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan. If desired lightly sprinkle the top of the batter with a little extra sugar.
- Bake the cake for about 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then cut into squares, and serve with your afternoon coffee.
Kanelkake – in metric
- 12 dl flour
- 8 dl sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 liter kefir
- 200g melted butter, cooled
Follow the directions as above.