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Birthday Cake and a Mothers Pride

Sweet rolls are compulsory ingredients in kid’s birthday parties in Norway, just as cupcakes are in American birthday parties. I haven’t been to a birthday party without cupcakes in this country, and I can’t remember having been to one in Norway without sweet rolls.

My son turned 2 years old yesterday, and his preschool teachers asked me to bring cupcakes (of course) for his birthday celebration at school. “Cupcakes? No way,” I thought, and told them proudly I’d like to make sweet rolls instead – a Scandinavian traditional bread which is hugely popular among kids. And everybody else. “Ok,” they said, “sounds good.”

Every time I’ve made sweet rolls here in the US they have been overwhelmingly successful. I’ve passed the recipe on several times. Making them for my sons preschool class was going to be a milestone and a proud moment for us. Our little cultural tribute.

I prepared the dough the evening before to let it cold rise in the fridge over night, which would give me time to bake them in the morning before school and then be able to serve fresh, warm and aromatic sweet rolls for the kids.

But the next morning the dough was, if possible, even smaller than before I left it to rise. I desperately tried to knock some life into the dough by kneading for about 15 minutes. Nothing happened, the dough didn’t move an inch.

“Great. Now what?” I thought, wiping sweat off my forehead and watching the time. I can’t come to school empty-handed. I’m too stupidly proud to buy cupcakes. So I rummaged my fridge and my cupboards to see what we had on stock and decided to make a chocolate cake instead, last-minute.

I’m kind of glad my son got me up at 6 am this morning. The cake came out ok, it even had time to cool off slightly before I had to slice it up and bring it into school. But I lacked confectioners sugar so we had to skip the frosting. Never mind. Considering the 12 two-year old consumers it was probably just as well.

When I dropped my son off at preschool and handed over the cake, I learned that one of the kids was allergic to eggs. Bummer with my 6 eggs chocolate cake, then. Oh well, I guess she’s used to having to pass the cake. (Damn sweet rolls dough …)

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate cake. I recommend including the frosting. The sweet rolls will have to wait for a better day. But I will post them one day, I promise.

The cake without the frosting

The cake without the frosting

Large pan chocolate cake
6 tbsp cocoa, mixed with
6 tbsp hot water
300 g (10.6 oz) butter
375 g (13 oz) sugar
6 large eggs
290 g (10.2 oz) all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

150 g (5.3 oz) baking chocolate
75 g (2.6 oz) butter
75 g (2.6 oz) confectioners sugar
I like to add 2 tbsp strong coffee to the frosting which adds an edge to the taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a large baking dish
2. Whip butter and sugar fluffy and light (soften the butter first)
3. Add eggs, one at the time and beat after each one
4. Mix in the cocoa + water mixture and the vanilla
5. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixture, stir with a spoon or spatula to keep it light and airy.
6. Pour the mixture into the pre greased pan and bake at the bottom shelf (if regular oven) for about 45 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when poked into the middle of the cake when done.
7. Let it cool for about 10 minutes while you make the frosting
8. Frosting: Melt the chocolate at low heat or in a water bath.
9. Add butter
10. Stir in the confectioners sugar and remove from heat
11. Cover the cake with the frosting and sprinkle with decoration, like shredded coconut, almond flakes or other cake decor (if desired).

... but this is what it could look like, with the frosting

… but this is what it could look like, with the frosting

I have to admit I stole this recipe from a website a few years ago and did not make a note of the source. So apologies for not being able to state it. But enjoy the cake, it’s fairly large, easy to make and tasty – perfect birthday party cake.

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I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.

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