On Saturday we held our second annual Scandinavian baking day and it was a lot of fun. The list of Scandinavian goodies produced was the same except that we eliminated the peppernuts from last year. New this year was a fun idea suggested by Caitlin for a cute apron contest. So far a winner has not yet been selected but she took a picture of each in their apron so we can work on it. They were all cute. Nearly all were homemade by the wearer or a homemade gift. Nathan and Michelle were unexpectedly not able to come so Michelle sent a picture of her wearing her very cute apron on her phone so that even if they couldn't be here to bake that she could be a part of the contest. Unfortunately I am not in possession of any pictures from the baking day so if the girls will share I can post some either as an update to this blogpost or a new post. I am also not in possession of a cute apron. I have been thinking about one for a long time and I have been on the lookout every time I am in a fabric store for a two tone pink stripe fabric that matches my background on my Bakery at Mom's Hobby Farm blog (link in the sidebar to the right). I have so far not found a similar fabric so I may have to piece one. My plan was to put the blog name on it. We will see if it ever happens. :) But don't hold your breath.
We did have a few other people that were missing from last year and they were missed but we had a couple of new Scandinavian bakers with us this year and we were glad to have them.
Again this year we made lefse, kringla, rosettes, krumkake, and donuts and the bakers had an opportunity to share in the bounty. We used my mom's house again. I can't really say that we used her kitchen because we were all over. The donuts and rosettes were done in the garage where the fryer was set up on a large table created by a board and saw horses. There were lefse grills on both the dining room table and the kitchen island. My mom has an kind of modified open concept type kitchen, living and dining room and we used all of it. Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us take over your house for the day.
One of the things that was on the list to bake was Scandinavian almond cakes, a family favorite that we make every year. The last couple of years we have been fighting with getting the cakes out of the pan cleanly. Almond cakes are baked in a long, shallow, ribbed, curved bottom pan and for years we baked beautiful cakes and then starting maybe a couple of years ago we began to have trouble. It has been really frustrating and lots of things have been attempted in an effort to solve the problem. I have tried different methods of greasing the pan, tried baking it longer, letting it cool longer before trying to take it out of the pan and different brands of margarine. We tried two cakes on Saturday and one had some major cracking on one end and the second one came out in several pieces. So disappointing.
After we were done baking and I was home I decided to search on google to see if other people were having trouble with margarine and discovered that a while back the margarines were reformulated and they now contained more water. The article I happened upon was a group of women discussing their spritz cookie failures since the reformulation and a suggested fix was to use a bit more flour. They suggested to start with an additional 1/8 cup, experimenting until a favorable product was obtained. I do all of my other baking with butter but this recipe specifically calls for margarine, not butter so even though this was not a spritz recipe I decided to give it a try.
I decided that I would go one step farther and since flour is now often listed as a weight in some recipes instead of a volume I would try to find a perfect amount of flour by weight at the same time. My original recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup flour and after fluffing my flour with a whisk in the canister I measured 1 1/4 cups and then weighed it. It was 6 ounces. I added another 1/8 cup and now the flour weighed 7 ounces.
I mixed up the cake batter using the new flour amount. I carefully prepped the pan and baked the cake for the recommended 50 minutes. I cooled the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. I loosened the ends and tipped the pan over and it popped out beautifully. I was prepared to bake many cakes each with varying amounts of flour until I got one that works so I was pleasantly surprised that it worked the first time. I have three different brands of margarine in my fridge, all with different fat contents and I am going to try a cake with each of them to see if the margarine could also be a factor or if they all work with the additional flour. Here is a picture showing the good cake on the left and a part of the broken cake on the right.