Chocolate and Guinness naked cake: baking back to grown-up world

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I come back to this blog after an excessively long break. A break that was needed but that was never planned to be this long. A break because when a little ball of cuteness of 52 cm x 4kg literally bursts into your life your priority list doesn’t just need to be readjusted, it pretty much disappears in front of you, you don’t even remember there ever was a priority list.

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Pistachio, Orange e chocolate Runeberg Cakes, or Dante’s Peaks

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Last week on Friday Finland celebrated Johan Runeberg, national poet and namesake of one the most popular and loved sweets, the Runeber Cake. As most things in Finland people stick to the traditional recipe in q almost religious way: a tall tower of almonds and breadcrumbs sponge and a shiny topping of raspberry jam glaze surrounded by a layer of sweet icing.

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Choux-rros: a decadent comfort to help you through winter.

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Let’s face it: by no mean climate is Finland’s big thing. Finnish weather excel in the extremes: the frosty winter when everything around is covered in a fluffy, magical, enchanting layer of white and the warm summer, when colours are so overwhelmingly strong and lively that thsy can almost be perceived with senses other sight, they almost have a smell and a sound. But the summer is usually too short and, even worse, winter is unbearably long.

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Hazelnut and orange cake: it’s time for celebration.

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Last week it was my husband’s birthday. As a tradition, I asked what kind of cake he would have liked to celebrate his special day and for the first time in 10 years I was given free rein to make whatever I felt like. I could have gone for some wacky flavours or some strange ingredients but I guessed that my conservative audience would have appreciated a more traditional, albeit new (at least for my kitchen), combination.

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Panna cotta with Rhubarb compote and Pistachio crumble: a sweet inspiration from our little Italian-Finnish family.

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I have been now living in Finland for almost two years and being trying to adapt myself to a completely new life, I can say things are going generally well. There are some things I will probably never able to live with, like the indecently early wake up and meal times, but many others, for example the no-nonsense approach to practical issues of the daily living, are just up my street. Therefore I thought it was the time to “celebrate” our Italian-Finnish household with something special, that’s how I came up with this dessert.

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Banana bread (and “fake” ice cream): the pleasure of sharing recipes with friends.

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The main pleasure in baking is being able to share the final result with friends, feed them and making them happy, even though only for the short time of a few bites. The concept of sharing the food must have some ancestral meaning maybe of supporting your loved ones, nurture them, as they would do with you. That is why, as nice and impressive they look, at our place you will never (or very rarely) find food served in individual dishes plated elegantly with fancy decorations. They look great, nothing wrong about them, but I leave that to restaurants and Masterchef contestants, who are definitely better than me at that. At our table food will always come in large sharing plates, from which anyone can help oneself, from which anyone can choose the portion size and the exact spoonful they want to get.

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