Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yes, We Love This Country as it Rises Forth

Norway grew a year older on Monday and Norwegians everywhere bubbled over with pride and celebrated as per usual.

Step 1: Dress up
Step 2: Grab a flag
Step 3: Stuff yourself
Step 4: Go out into the streets.
Step 5: Stuff yourself some more with ice cream and hot dogs.

My friends and I started the day by getting together for breakfast (after dressing up and grabbing a flag, duh). Everyone brought something to share- homemade bread, waldorf salad, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, spekemat (salty, thinly sliced dried meat), cheeses, roast beef, tomatoes & mozarella, norwegian waffles. I brought a cake (recipe below!)

Having successfully brought ourselves to step 3 and beyond before noon, off into the streets of Oslo we went. Mind you, everyone else in Oslo is at least at step 4 by this time of day, so it's a little please-don't-don't-step-on-my-foot-ow-that-thing-your-elbow-just-jammed-into-is-my-stomach.

The parade that all of of Oslo's school children can partake in, carrying flags and waving at onlookers, was still going on and we watched and waved back for a while, then made our way up to the castle to wave at the Royal Family waving at their subjects. Lots of waving on the 17th of May. You're unpatriotic if you don't wave.

Finally, we headed down to the harbor to start on Step 5. Successfully striking that off the list, the rest of the day was spent frolicking about in the sun.

Hooray for Norway!


There's this typical Norwegian cake that people make on festive occasions called a bløtkake. It's a layer cake and there's tons of whipped cream involved. I've had awesome bløtkake, but a lot of the time it just ends up being too sweet and creamy.

So I decided to make something that kind of looks like a bløtkake, but that actually tastes like something. The guy who hosted the breakfast is allergic to eggs, so I put this eggless lemon vanilla raspberry cake together. It was nice and tangy and sweet and fluffy and fresh and I think it went over well.

(By the way, this vanilla pudding is AMAZING and so easy. Just make that if you're going to make anything.)

Lemon Vanilla Raspberry Layer Cake


2 cups flour
1 ts baking powder
1 1/2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
2/5 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 Ts sugar
1 1/2 cup rice (or normal) milk
1 1/2 ts vanilla extract
Zest and juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 3 pans that are about the same size, or if you are daring and want to bake it as one cake and cut it in three, only grease one. Put parchment paper in the bottom of it.

Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a big bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together oil, sugar, milk, lemon juice and zest. Add to dry mixture, mix, then divide between the three pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just browning on top and a tester comes out clean. If you bake them in stacks, the bottom ones might not get brown on top, so try and figure out a way to handle that. Cool until room temp.

Vanilla pudding:

1/3 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 vanilla pod

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a pot. Cut pod lengthwise, brush seeds into mixture with a knife, then put the stems in. Add milk and stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens. Cook for another two or three minutes, remove from heat, take out stems, and transfer to a glass bowl. Stick in fridge until set.


1 cup powdered sugar
2 Ts lemon juice

Combine, adding either more sugar or lemon juice to create the right texture.

Put the cake together:
Put a layer of cake on your serving plate, spread half the vanilla pudding over, then defrosted or fresh raspberries, then cake, vanilla pudding, raspberries, cake, frosting. Finally, decorate with raspberries.

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