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Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – Shot at focal length 30mm – Settings 1/640 sec; f/4,5; ISO 100 I often get asked..

what camera gear I use so I thought I’d write a little bit about it! I’ve been doing photography on and off for 18 years, consistently for the past 10 years, and freelancing full time for 6 years as a photographer and cookbook author. You don’t need fancy camera gear to be a great photographer, the gear definitely does not make the photographer, but some things will perhaps make you more motivated and want to practice more! I know that is what happened to me when I bought my first lens.

You can take incredible photos with a smartphone but it won’t produce the same result as an actual slr camera. I always recommend getting to know your equipment well, and I don’t mean you have to read the whole manual – Just practice a lot.

If you like this post and would like to see more posts like these, please comment and let me know (and also what you’d like to see)! And if you have any other camera related questions, leave them in the comment section. I hope you like it!

Camera Body

I use a full-frame digital single-lens reflex (dslr) camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark II which I bought back in 2011. Before that I used a Canon EOS (Rebel XSi in America) for several years, I even shot my first book with this one! By today’s standards my camera is pretty old, and camera shutters usually have a limited lifespan but my camera is still going strong after all these years (UPDATE: I was so curious of my camera’s shutter count – It’s 281 264, a lot less than I’d expected honestly but still more than its life expectancy). I have no plans on upgrading any time soon unless it breaks and is beyond repair. Although I have to say the Wi-fi function (ok, some other functions as well) on newer cameras is quite tempting. Obviously there are benefits to upgrading but it’s also quite expensive to get a new one when I have one that works perfectly fine and that I know very well.

I also have a Fuji X-E1 which I was planning to use for everyday photography and travel, but I’m so used to Canon that it’s been a little difficult getting into how it works. Also I probably haven’t made enough of an effort. Hehe.

Lenses

When you purchase a lens, I recommend getting a lens cap (usually comes with the lens) and a UV-filter. I have UV-filters on all my lenses, so if I bump the lens into something, hopefully the filter will break and not the lens itself. It’s sort of like a cheap insurance. When choosing a UV-filter for your lens, make sure to get one that fits your lens as there are several different sizes.

Before getting a new lens, consider what type of camera you have. Do you have a full frame, or crop sensor (APS-C)? I won’t go into detail but basically all crop sensor cameras have different crop factors. So for example, on a crop sensor Canon camera, a 50mm lens would be around 80mm.

Before I go into my favorite lenses, what kind of lens you like is highly personal! If you can, try different ones by renting before buying. These are the lenses I use and love

Lenses I use Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

The only zoom lens I own, and probably the lens I shoot with the most. In a way it’s actually not my favorite because it can be difficult to use in low light situations without a tripod (I tend to use my 50mm lens a lot more during winter because it’s much faster) but it’s so very versatile and especially when you’re in a small space and barely have any room to move back and forth. It’s the best for overhead shots and if you want to get more scenery into the shot but I tend to stay at a focal length between 50-70mm for my food based photography, just because I like that look better.

If I were to choose just one of my lenses, this would be the one! I don’t think I’ve gone on a single trip/shoot without this lense since I bought it 5 years ago. It is a little pricey though so perhaps not the best lens to start with but if you’re looking for a versatile zoom lens I highly recommend this one!

Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – Shot at focal length 35mm – Settings 1/160 sec; f/2,8; ISO 100

Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – Shot at focal length 55mm – Settings 1/80 sec; f/5,0; ISO 320 Canon 50 mm f/1.4 and f/1.2

The 50mm 1.4 is the first lens I ever bought besides the kit lens and it made such a huge difference for me. Like it completely changed my photography when I discovered the shallow depth of field. A couple of years ago I upgraded from the 50mm 1.4 to the 50mm 1.2 but I have to say I’m still leaning towards the 1.4 being slightly more sharp, it’s also smaller and easier to carry around and obviously the price of the 1.4 is way lower. I always recommend the 50mm 1.4 as a great starting lens (not just for starting of course, I used mine for 5-6 years before upgrading!) as it’s moderately priced compared to a lot of the other lenses. Also great for low light situations!

Lens: EF50mm f/1.4 USM – Settings 1/160 sec; f/4; ISO 500 Lens: EF50mm f/1.2L USM – Settings 1/125 sec; f/2,5; ISO 250 Canon 100 mm 2.8 Macro

I’ve had this lens for 8 years and it is definitely my sharpest lens. I don’t use it that often but every time I do, I am blown away by how good it is and wonder why I don’t use it all the time. It’s more versatile than you’d think, as long as you have space to move around. I’ve taken a lot of my favorite photos with this one. A couple shots taken with the 100mm:

Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM – Settings 1/200 sec; f/2.8; ISO 160 Lens: EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM – Settings 1/125 sec; f/5,0; ISO 500 Canon 85 mm f/1.2

My most recent purchase which I bought used to save some money. I absolutely love it, but the focus length sometimes bothers me. You really have to be quite far from the subject when shooting, not a problem outside but in a small space it can be a little limiting. With that said, it does produce the most beautiful, smooth background and bokeh. I find it has some chromatic aberration when shooting at a low f-stop/large aperture but nothing a little post processing can’t fix. It’s quite bulky and heavy but has a high quality and sturdy feel to it. I love using it for the types of shots below (like, holding the cake type of shots with a smooth background which I do quite often) but if you’re into flatlays, it’s not your best choice.

Lens: EF85mm f/1.2L II USM – Settings:1/80 sec; f/1,8; ISO 250 Lens: EF85mm f/1.2L II USM – Settings: 1/125 sec; f/1,8; ISO 500 Lens: EF85mm f/1.2L II USM – Settings: 1/2500 sec; f/2,0; ISO 100 Tripod + Wireless remote

I use a tripod when I need but I prefer not to as I find myself limited, I prefer moving around when I shoot. I use a Manfrotto 055 XPRO B tripod with a 498rc2 ball head. This tripod has a horizontal centre column which is perfect for overhead shots, but I still very much prefer hand held and tend to just stand on a chair and hold my camera over the table. It has taken a toll on my back though so I’ll most likely be using my tripod more in the future – and I use it for all my cinemagraphs. I also have a smaller travel tripod but it really isn’t great for my heavy camera. For self portraits and cinemagraphs I use a Canon RC-6 wireless remote, definitely not the fanciest but it does what it’s supposed to!

What is your favorite camera gear? Did you find this post helpful I’d love to know! ♡ Linda

The post What camera gear I use appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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This post is a paid collaboration with Rörstrand.

A few months ago, Swedish iconic brand Rörstrand reached out to me and asked if I wanted to create a cake for their new Swedish Grace cake stand (you’ve probably already seen this beautiful cake stand in my Gingerbread Village cake post). I think it’s pretty clear what my answer was?! YES!

At first it was difficult to think of something other than a classic Swedish princess cake or a cream cake with strawberries. I wanted to create something that felt like me, something that looked fantastic but wasn’t overly complicated and that you could bake all year round with either fresh or frozen berries. This chocolate cake is my very favorite, and the swiss meringue buttercream tastes like the best strawberry ice cream ever, paired with a dark chocolate glaze. Simple yet oh so delicious! And this cake will feed a LOT of people.

I find that this cake tastes even better after a couple of days in the fridge (but definitely make sure you don’t have strong smelling foods in the fridge, or place a cake dome/cover over the cake if possible), there’s just something about chocolate cake that’s been allowed to rest for a couple of days. You can make the cake layers a day or two ahead if you want!

As for the frosting, if you’re unfamiliar with swiss meringue buttercream PLEASE don’t throw it out if it curdles. That is completely normal! It happened to me the first time I tried it too (actually it happens quite often, but I know now it will come together) and I swore there was something wrong with the recipe. So I piped the curdled buttercream onto my cupcakes and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. So please just keep beating and it will come together eventually. I promise, it’s so worth it! It’s the best buttercream ever. You can totally use raspberries instead of strawberries if you prefer the flavor combo of those two. Or why not a mix of strawberries and raspberries!?

  CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM AND DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE
Makes one 20 cm cake – serves 15-20

This cake can be made 1-2 days ahead (actually it gets better after a day or two), wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in a airtight container. If strawberries aren’t in season, frozen work too! You can find the recipe in Swedish on Rörstrand’s website.

INGREDIENTS CHOCOLATE CAKE
  • 300 g (2 3/4 sticks) salted butter
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 360 g (2 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 100 g (1 cup) cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. flaky salt
  • 450 g (2 cups + 1 1/2 tbsp.) granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) sour cream
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) freshly brewed, strong coffee
STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM
  • 225 g fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 8 medium egg whites
  • 400 g (barely 2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 500 g (2 1/4 cups / 4 1/2 sticks) butter (I use salted butter but go ahead and use unsalted if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE
  • 125 g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 75 g salted butter
INSTRUCTIONS CHOCOLATE CAKE
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour/breadcrumb two 20 cm (8 inch) round cake pans.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk to the pan.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter mixture, sugar, eggs, sour cream and coffee and stir until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  5. Bake on the middle oven rack for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM
  1. If you’re using fresh strawberries, rinse and hull them and use an immersion blender to make a puree. If you’re using frozen strawberries, heat them in a sauce pan or microwave, then mix into a puree. Strain the mixture for a smoother buttercream, but this step isn’t necessary.
  2. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a clean and heatproof bowl (preferably stainless steel or glass). Place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. The bowl should fit snugly, and the water should not be touching the bowl.
  3. Constantly whisk the sugar and egg white mixture with a whisk until the mixture reaches about 65°C (about 140-150°F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, just rub some mixture between your fingers. If the sugar has melted and mixture is hot to the touch, it’s ready.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, beat until white, fluffy and cool with a stand- or electric mixer. This step will take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
  5. When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled and soupy just keep beating – eventually it will become smooth! Add the vanilla and strawberry puree and beat until completely smooth.
ASSEMBLY & DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE
  1. Split both cake layers in half using a serrated knife. Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread with a layer of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers.
  2.  Spread the buttercream on the top and sides of the cake using an offset spatula. Check out my guide on how to fill and cover a cake here. Save some of the buttercream for piping on top of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge while you prepare the glaze.
  3. Glaze: Place the chocolate and butter in a sauce pan and place it over low heat. Stir often until everything is melted. Let cool to room temperature (but make sure it doesn’t thicken too much, it should still be liquid). Pour the glaze over the cake and quickly spread it over the edges of the cake to make it run down the sides. Let stand for a few minutes before piping the leftover frosting on top of the cake.
 

The post Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Glaze – The Swedish Grace cake appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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Some years ago I thought lace doilies where.. uhm, let’s say something you would find at your grandma’s house (absolutely no offence to grandmothers, they’re the best). And now all of a sudden, you can find them in my house. It’s funny how some things change. I see lace doilies a lot since I go to flea markets every week, and one day when I saw a huge stack of them I got an idea.

The pattern is often quite beautiful and would translate well onto cookies. So I picked out a few, the trick is to choose the ones that are smooth and non hairy (in lack of a better word) or you’ll end up with hairs in you cookies. And of course, it should also be clean!

I see myself as decent at piping gingerbread houses, but cookies? Nope. Not sure why! That’s why I looove these cookies. They look fancy and there’s almost no extra work! I’ll be using some of them as gift tags together with wax paper and silk ribbons from Nåde.


Gingerbread cookies

Makes approximately 75 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 100 g (1 scant stick) salted butter
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) molasses or dark syrup
  • 135 g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) heavy cream
  • 300 g (approx. 2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine butter, molasses and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat. When the mixture is melted, stir in the spices, remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pieces of dough to about 5-6 mm thickness. Dust some flour over the dough. Place a clean lace doily on top and gently press it onto the dough, then roll out the dough to 3-4 mm thickness. The cookies need to be quite thin or they will puff up too much in the oven and the pattern will fade. Gently remove the doily and cut out cookies using cookie cutters or a knife.
  5. Bake the cookies for 5-6 minutes depending on size. If you’d like to use them as gift tags, make a small hole with a toothpick as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Let cool completely.

The post Gingerbread Cookies appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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It’s been a couple of years since I made a post about edible gifts, so I thought it was about time!  Thses posts are actually some of my favorite things to create and this recipe is just SO good. I already made three huge batches (I didn’t give any of it away though, hehee), some of which is waiting for me in the freezer. I’m pretty sure I will make a couple more batches before Christmas, some to keep and some to give away.

What’s also great about this recipe is that it’s so forgiving, and you can tweak it to your own liking. I for example, love my chai lattes to be quite sweet, but if you’re giving it to someone who isn’t keen on sweet things, you can make it with less sweetener.

It also feels more sustainable to not buy so much new stuff, I simply used bottles and jars that I already had at home! I bought a couple from a flea market too, I just cleaned them with a bottle brush and sterilized them in the oven. A lot of people don’t want more things to clutter their homes and minds, so edible gifts are just perfect. And if you have the patience, making some gingerbread house toppers to go with the gift, I’m sure that would be appreciated too! I didn’t use a template for them, I just cut out the pieces with a knife. I did cheat and used store bought dough though..

Here are some more edible gift ideas – flavored sugar from a couple of years ago, and muffin mix, herb salt, cookie mix, another chai latte mix, nutella and granola.

Homemade Chai Concentrate

Makes 6 cups / 1 1/2 litre

This recipe is very forgiving so you can tweak it to your own liking. I’ve tried it with both granulated sugar and a mix of honey and maple syrup and both are delicious! You can’t really taste any difference. I like my chai latte really sweet so I used 200 ml of honey in the recipe, but you can make it without any sweetener too! Don’t worry if the mixture is cloudy, I had that happen when I used honey and loose tea. Any leftover chai concentrate can be frozen in freezer proof containers. And don’t forget to write a little note with instructions to the lucky person who receives the gift!

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 cups (1500 ml) water
  • 100-200 ml (approx. 1/3 cup – 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) honey or maple syrup OR 90-180 g granulated sugar
  • 25 g fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 25 whole cloves (about 1/2 tbsp)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 15 cardamom pods (about 1/2 tbsp), lightly crushed
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • a few pieces of fresh orange peel
  • 5 bags of black tea or 3 tbsp (10 g) loose black tea
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine water and honey/sugar in a large saucepan. Let the mixture come to a boil and stir until honey/sugar is dissolved, then add all ingredients except for the tea. Place a lid on the saucepan and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the tea. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Discard the tea bags and let the mixture cool.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, then pour into clean and dry airtight jars or bottles. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Chai Latte

Serves 2

Depending on how sweet you made your chai concentrate and how strong you like your latte, I’d say you’ll want at least 1/3 part chai concentrate to 2/3 parts milk. For more flavour, use equal parts. You can leave out the whipped cream and use a milk frother for the milk. As for the tiny gingerbread houses, I made them using storebought dough, and I basically just cut out pieces with a knife and then ‘glued’ them together with icing!

INGREDIENTS
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp.) chai concentrate
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) milk of your choice
  • whipped cream for topping
  • cinnamon, for dusting
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the chai concentrate and milk in a saucepan. Pour into cups and top with whipped cream, cinnamon and a tiny gingerbread house/cookie if you want!

The post Homemade Chai Concentrate + Chai Latte appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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I have to say, I absolutely LOVED creating this cake. It’s the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a long time, and I definitely felt like I was a kid again. Which I think is exactly what baking and blogging should feel like! I can’t say it was without a little bit of frustration too, which is also part of baking, photographing and blogging I guess.

I can’t even remember the last time I piped icing on gingerbread cookies and at first it was just frustrating but after a good night’s sleep (it never fails me), I sort of got the hang of it. I will probably never be a master at it but I do enjoy it! Perhaps this year will be the year I make a gingerbread house again? We’ll see, we’ll see…

I love experimenting with recipes and tried a couple of different versions for the gingerbread layer, but in the end, this one with lingonberries was definitely my favorite. Lots and lots of flavor and so moist (I know a lot of people hate that word but I don’t know what other word to use, hehe).

I also experimented with getting that blueish grey shade on the cake. I was thinking about how blueberry powder reacts when I add lemon juice to it – it becomes pink when you add something acidic, so I figured it would become more blue when adding something alkaline. And it totally worked! Feel free to try it if you want, or don’t if you think it sounds weird. I promise you it’s not though! Hope you like it!

GINGERBREAD VILLAGE CAKE

Makes one 9-inch layer cake

Some notes about this recipe:
-If you can’t find lingonberry jam for this recipe, I bet frozen lingonberries would work too, just thaw them and stir them together with a little bit of sugar. Apple sauce might work too but I haven’t tried either of those suggestions.
-I used store-bought gingerbread dough for this cake but feel free to make your own! If your cookies float out too much during baking, be prepared with a sharp knife as soon as they get out of the oven – and cut the edges again. The cookies are still soft when they get out of the oven!
-Because I prefer not to use artificial food coloring, I experimented with black sesame and blueberry powder! I wanted the cake to be slightly grey/blue so I added some black sesame paste which does give a slight taste to the cake. Omit the sesame seeds if you know you don’t like them. I added baking soda to blueberry powder to change the ph of it. This doesn’t affect the flavor at all, but feel free to omit this from the recipe if you want. Or use a food coloring of your choice! Or just leave the cake white. All options are totally fine!

INGREDIENTS Gingerbread cake
  • 200 g (1 3/4 stick) salted butter
  • 360 g (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. flaky salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. allspice (can be omitted)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 360 g (1 2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) sour cream
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) lingonberry jam
Gingerbread cookies
  • about 500 g of gingerbread dough (I used store-bought but feel free to use homemade)
  • 150 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. lemon juice (or as needed)
Frosting
  • 200 g (1 3/4 stick) softened butter (I use salted but feel free to use unsalted)
  • 250 g (1 2/3 cup) powdered sugar
  • 300 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds + 2 tbsp. maple syrup (can be omitted)
  • 2 tsp. blueberry powder + 1/4 tsp. baking soda + 1-2 tsp. water (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS GINGERBREAD CAKE
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour two 23-24 cm (9 inch) springform pans. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and lighter in color, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and butter to the egg mixture in additions, and stir until completely smooth. Stir in the sour cream and lingonberry jam.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack for 25-27 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
GINGERBREAD COOKIES
  1. Knead the dough lightly with floured hands to make it soft and pliable. Lightly flour the table and the rolling pin and roll out to 2-3 mm thickness.
  2. Cut out little house shaped cookies using a knife, or a cookie cutter if you have one (I made my cookies between 5-8 cm high, as the cake is around 8 cm high). Bake the cookies at 175°C (350°F) for about 5-8 minutes depending on size. Let cool completely.
  3. Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Start with a small amount of juice and add more until icing reaches a good piping consistency. Your mixture should be thick enough that it will not run when piped, but not so thick that you can’t squeeze it through a piping bag.
  4. Transfer icing to piping bag and cut a tiny hole in the bag for piping. Decorate the cookies and let the icing harden before placing the cookies on the cake.
FROSTING
  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar until pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese and vanilla and beat until just smooth. Stir in the orange zest.
  2. Place the black sesame seeds and maple syrup in a mortar and pestle. Crush and grind the seeds until a paste forms. Stir the paste into the frosting.
  3. If the frosting seems soft, place the bowl in the fridge while you prepare the next steps.
ASSEMBLY
  1. Cut both cake layers in half using a serrated knife so you get four cake layers.
  2. Place the first cake layer on a cake board or directly onto a plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting on the first layer. Repeat this until you’ve used up all layers.
  3. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for a few minutes if the frosting is soft.
  4. Place the blueberry powder and baking soda in a small bowl and stir in some water. Let stand for a couple of minutes, then add to the remaining frosting. Stir until smooth.
  5. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate with the gingerbread cookies. I placed toothpicks behind the cookies on top of the cake to get them to stand up. Dust with snow (aka powdered sugar) if desired.

The post Gingerbread Village Cake appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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A few months ago I saw this beautiful spot right next to the water on one of our daily forest walks with Mozart (our little westie, in case you’ve missed him in my instagram stories). I knew I had to have a shoot there at some point because it was just so pretty. But then, life happened and I forgot all about it.

Honestly I have so many ideas all the time, so many things I want to do. It becomes almost too much, and I end up doing nothing – which means staring at my computer screen and all the e-mails I should be responding to and then feeling bad about not being able to and decide to punish myself a little bit more by staring at my screen for another few hours, getting absolutely nothing done. It’s a vicious circle.


So a couple of days ago, after test baking this cake a couple of times – I decided that spot I had found was the perfect place to shoot this cake. Of course it was also the same day we had to service our car so I had to take my bike. I don’t mind at all, I actually LOVE cycling and I don’t drive – but with the cold and the wind and a heavy crate on my bike I almost turned around after a little while. I’m so glad I didn’t though! I forget how much I love shooting outside, and that I was finally able to shoot with these gorgeous pieces from Leu Ceramics (that cup is my new favorite for espresso and in this case, apple juice, hehe).

I was however not able to bring my tripod on my bicycle and I wanted to make a couple of cinemagraphs so I had to build a ‘tripod’ on top of the crate using a 100mm lens, an 85 mm lens, my phone and a tampon. Yeah… don’t even ask. It worked though! Perhaps not the angle I wanted, but still. You can see them right underneath the recipe. As for the recipe, it’s sort of like a soft gingerbread cake, which is one of my favorite things to eat this time of year.




SPICED PEAR CAKE
Makes 1 cake

Choose pears that are quite firm for this cake, or they will become mushy when the cake is baked. I’ve tried this recipe with yogurt and creme fraiche and both work like a charm!

INGREDIENTS SPICED PEAR CAKE
  • 200 g (1 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp.) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 125 g softened salted butter
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 orange
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) creme fraiche or thick yogurt, at room temp.
  • 5 pears
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
INSTRUCTIONS SPICED PEAR CAKE
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour/breadcrumb a springform pan (about 23 cm/9 inches in diameter).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, zests and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour in three additions, and the creme fraiche/yogurt in two, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Wash the pears and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut of a little bit of the bottom of the pears so they stand up straight in the batter. If you skip this step, they will tip over. Press the pears down into the batter, stem end up.
  5. Bake the cake on the lowest rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Start checking around 40 minutes, as you might need to cover the cake with foil if the pears are browning too much.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan, or if you’ve baked in another pan you can leave the cake to cool completely in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

The post Spiced Pear Cake appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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I’ve been thinking about making banana bread for some time now, but haven’t been patient enough to wait for bananas to become ripe. Hehe. Sounds silly, I know! I even tried making a banana bread using roasted banana but it was definitely not the same. The bananas simply NEED to be very ripe to get the right sweetness and flavor. I know there are some tricks for speeding up the process but I haven’t tried them myself.

I’m not sure what else to say about this recipe other than it’s seriously dangerous and you will want to eat the whole thing by yourself. Especially slathered in that creamy brown butter chocolate spread. Yuum. It’s perfect for the beautiful autumn weather we’re having – accompanied by a cup of coffee or chai tea.

If you’re looking for other banana recipes, you can find my Banana bundt cake with butterscotch sauce HERE and my Banana upside down cake HERE. I very much encourage you to try those too as they are two of my favorite recipes ever.

BANANA BREAD WITH BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE SPREAD
Makes 1 loaf cake

This cake can be made 1-2 days ahead (actually it gets better after a day or two), wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in a airtight container.
Recipe from my book “Sweet food & photography” / My Sweet Kitchen

INGREDIENTS BANANA BREAD
  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 210 g (1 scant cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 210 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. flaky salt
  • 1 cup (about 2-3) very ripe mashed bananas
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream or thick yogurt
  • 1 banana, for topping
BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE
  • 225 g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 75 g semi sweet chocolate (55%), chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. powdered sugar
INSTRUCTIONS BANANA BREAD
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour/breadcrumb a 5 cup (1,2 liter) loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and beat until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture. Combine the mashed banana and sour cream and add to the batter, then stir until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Split a banana in half lengthwise and place on top of the batter, dot the bananas with a little extra butter if desired.
  6. Bake on the lower rack for about 60-67 minutes (but start checking a little earlier) or until a cake tester comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake so it doesn’t brown too much on top. If it does, cover the pan loosely with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper (make sure to not seal it, the cake needs room to breathe and rise!). Let the cake cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool.
BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE
  1. Place the butter in a light colored saucepan (so you can see the butter change color) over medium heat and leave until it melts and start bubbling.
  2. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown and the butter smells nutty, about 5-10 minuter longer. Take care not to burn the butter (it will continue to brown even after you remove it from the heat, so take it off in time). Pour the butter into a bowl and let cool for a few minutes, then add the chopped chocolate and salt and stir until smooth.
  3. Either leave at room temperature or place the bowl covered in the fridge until the spread thickens to a soft butter consistency. Beat the mixture until fluffy, and add in powdered sugar if desired.

The post Banana bread with brown butter chocolate spread appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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Rosehip soup is probably the epitome of childhood for many Swedes. Served as breakfast (but without ice cream), a snack or dessert – warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chewy almond macarons. Basically the most perfect, warming autumn drink or dessert! Or if you serve it cold, it’s the perfect cooling summer dessert. I don’t think I ever had it with ice cream when I was a kid, but I’m an adult now and I choose to serve it with ice cream. Because I can!

This is actually the first time I’ve ever made rosehip soup by myself. I’ve always been intimidated by rosehips because if the itchy little seeds.. but let me tell you.. this was so easy! Living in a coastal town, we have an abundance of them growing by the beach. Make sure to look for plump, deep red, ripe rosehips. You don’t even have to remove the seeds from the rosehips when making this soup.. yes, you heard me! It’s actually a very fuss free recipe.


ROSEHIP SOUP WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM AND ALMOND MACAROONS
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS ROSEHIP SOUP
  • 3 cups (about 400 g) fresh rosehips
  • 5 cups (1,2 liter) water
  • 75-110 g (1/3 – 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch + 2 tbsp. cold water
ALMOND MACAROONS
  • 100 g finely grated almond paste
  • 1 egg white (40 g)
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
FOR SERVING
  • Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream
INSTRUCTIONS ROSEHIP SOUP
  1. Thoroughly clean the rosehips and make sure to remove the stem and all other green parts. Place them whole (you don’t have to remove the seeds!) in a large saucepan and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until rosehips are soft.
  2. Using an immersion blender, puree the rosehips together with the water in the saucepan. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding the pulp and seeds and reserving the liquid.
  3. Pour the liquid back into the pan and bring to a simmer. Add sugar to your liking (I added 100 g). Mix cornstarch and 2 tbsp. cold water in a small bowl. Slowly add this to the pan, while constantly stirring. Simmer for a couple of minutes until slightly thickened. Let cool if you want to serve it cold. Store covered in the refrigerator.
ALMOND MACAROONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Place the grated almond paste in a medium bowl. Add the egg white, sugar and cardamom and beat until smooth.
  3. Scoop the batter into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe little dots of batter on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
SERVING
  1. Serve the soup cold or warm in a cup or bowl, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and top with a handful of almond macaroons.

The post A Swedish Classic – Rosehip soup with vanilla ice cream and almond macaroons appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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There is something special about the light and air this time of year. The days are still fairly long and bright, the air is crisp and the temperatures are finally dropping a little bit to within a comfortable range (for me that is somewhere between 17-22°C). I’ve come to realize my birthday month (September) is actually my favorite month! And possibly May too, so right before and right after summer.

Liv invited me to be a guest teacher at a one-on-one workshop last week. I said yes, of course, and after a three hour card drive we arrived at the most stunning location, an island called Skaftö in Bohuslän – on the Swedish west coast. I’ve always wanted to visit this area, but have never gotten to it. Actually there are lots of places I’d love to visit in Sweden, makes me realize we need more road trips in our lives. And I need a driver’s license. hehe.

I decided the day before what to make at the workshop, as I always do. Very stressful! I wish I wasn’t like that, but it’s part of my process I suppose. It’s as if my brain isn’t working until the very last minute and it’s always been like that. Thankfully, Liv gets it as I think she has a similar process.

We had the sweetest guest one could ask for, Lina, and it was such a pleasure spending time with her and Liv for a day. Wish I had joined them for the whole week, although I would probably have stayed back at the house for the kayaking (I have this thing with being on water).. Though it looked like they had an amazing time!

During my day of guest teaching we talked a lot about camera settings, we practiced shooting movement, like sifting flour. I think we all enjoyed it a bit too much, but Lina’s photos turned out amazing so it was well worth it. We shot both light and dark photos. We shot Liv’s gnocchi (which is AMAZING btw), liquids, oysters and way too many photos of this galette.

So, this galette! Apples and pears go so wonderfully together, especially with the addition of orange and hazelnuts. I know frangipane is supposed to have almonds in it, but I simply didn’t know what else to call it.. Hazelnut… paste? Cream? Hazelnut frangipane sounds better to me. No matter what you decide to call it.. you need to taste this wonderful, wonderful thing.

APPLE PEAR GALETTE WITH HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE
Yields one tart, 6-8 servings
INGREDIENTS PIE CRUST
  • 210 g (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. flaky salt
  • 150 g (about 1 + 1/3 stick) very cold salted butter
  • 3-6 tbsp. ice water
HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE
  • 75 g (2/3 cup) hazelnuts
  • 75 g (2/3 stick) softened salted butter
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
FILLING & TOPPING
  • 500 g fruit (approx. 2 apples & 2 pears)
  • zest from 1 orange or 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange or lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (15 g) salted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. turbinado sugar
INSTRUCTIONS PIE CRUST
  1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. If you have one, use a cheese slicer to slice the butter thinly – if not, you can dice the butter with a knife. Add the sliced or diced butter to the dry ingredients, and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until dough is crumbly but there are still some small visible pieces of butter.
  2. Drizzle with ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together, do not knead the dough.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc, wrap in the plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour.
HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10-14 minutes, or until they become fragrant and slightly golden brown. Keep a close eye on them as they burn easily! Let cool, then rub the hazelnuts in a clean and dry dishtowel, removing as much of the shells as possible.
  2. In a mixer or food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely ground.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and hazelnut flour and beat until smooth. Fold in the all purpose flour. Cover the bowl and set aside.
FILLING & BAKING
  1. Let the dough rest for a few minutes at room temperature. Roll out the dough to a large circle on a lightly floured surface, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch (3-5 mm) thick. Make sure to roll and turn the dough so it doesn’t stick to the surface.
  2. Using the rolling pin, transfer the dough to a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
  3. Spread the frangipane over the rolled out dough, leaving the edges free from filling.
  4. Peel the apples and pears and slice them thinly. Place them in a large bowl and add zest, juice, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, butter and flour. Gently toss until all ingredients are combined. Arrange the slices of fruit in a pattern on top of the frangipane.
  5. Fold the edges over the fruit and press gently to seal. Transfer the galette to the freezer for 15 minutes, meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F), if you haven’t already.
  6. Whisk together the egg with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Brush the edges with the egg wash, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the tart for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  8. Serve with vanilla sauce, you can find my recipe HERE.

The post Apple Pear Galette with Hazelnut Frangipane appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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A few days ago, Luise and David of Green Kitchen Stories came to my little town to film an episode for their youtube channel. I’ve been following them for as long as I can remember and I’ve met them once before, very briefly at the book fair in Gothenburg, so it was really nice to spend a whole day with them!

We went to Äppelgården (“The Apple Farm”) in Slöinge, which was actually closed for the week, but they were kind enough to let us film there anyway. I had some leftover apples and I’ve been thinking about making apple hand pies for a while. I’d totally forgotten how time consuming it is to make mini lattice tops though. Hehe.

With that said, there’s really no need to fuss with lattice tops for these pies unless you really want to. You can simply cut out lids (that is, a simple round that you place over the filling, don’t forget to make a couple of cuts or holes for the filling to seep through) or just cut out different shapes as I did for one of them. Works like a charm!

You will most likely have some leftover dough, but it’s definitely better to have too much than too little. Check out my ‘How to make a lattice pie’-video over here.

APPLE HAND PIES

Makes 8 small pies

INGREDIENTS PIE CRUST
  • 360 g (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. flaky salt
  • 225 g (2 sticks) very cold salted butter
  • 5-8 tbsp. ice water
FILLING & TOPPING
  • 3 tbsp. (40 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. (30 g) salted butter
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and 1 x 1 cm diced apple (about 3-4 depending on size)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 50 g almond paste, grated
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar
INSTRUCTIONS PIE CRUST
  1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Use a cheese slicer, if you have one, to slice the butter thinly – if not, you can simply dice the butter with a knife. Add the sliced or diced butter to the dry ingredients, and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until dough is crumbly but there are still some small visible pieces of butter.
  2. Drizzle with ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together, do not knead the dough.
  3. Form the dough into two evenly sized balls. Flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour but preferably overnight.
FILLING
  1. Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the pan over medium high heat until the sugar starts melting around the edges. Turn the heat down to low and stir gently with a wooden spoon until sugar is completely melted and golden brown. Be careful not to burn the sugar!
  2. Add in the butter, piece by piece, stirring between each addition.
  3. Stir in the diced apples (the caramel might harden at this point, but don’t worry, just keep cooking and it’ll melt again) and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Mix lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the mixture. Cook for 1 minute until the mixture thickens. Let cool completely, then stir in the grated almond paste.
ASSEMBLY & BAKING
  1. Let the dough rest for a few minutes at room temperature. Roll out one piece of the dough into a large circle about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, on a lightly floured surface. Make sure to roll and turn the dough so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Using a 9 cm (3.5 inch) cutter, cut out 8 rounds from the dough and transfer onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Cut out flowers or stars or whatever you want as decoration from the leftover dough, then wrap the leftover dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  2. Roll out the other piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out lids, strips for lattice or any other decorative pattern with cutters. Use up any leftover dough if needed.
  3. Spoon the filling onto the dough rounds, leaving a small border free from filling. Brush the border with some water, then place cutouts, lid or lattice on top of the filling. Press gently around the edges to seal, or use a fork to seal. Transfer the pies to the freezer for 15 minutes, meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  4. Whisk together the egg with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Brush the pies with the egg wash, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  5. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool a little, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

The post Apple Hand Pies appeared first on Call Me Cupcake.

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