Last month I was in Sweden with my mother and spent the most beautiful autumn days in my mother's hometown Alingsås in Västergötland.
On most days I got up early in the morning and I was strolling around the picturesque town with its beautiful old wood houses. In the afternoons my mother and I hopped on our bikes and rode to the woods or to a nearby lake. Spending time in nature in Sweden is my favorite activity: it makes me so happy and calm. Nowadays one is surrounded by so much noise everywhere and it is hard to find a place where you are only surrounded by the "noise" of nature and I appreciate this silence a lot. 
On our nature outings we packed thermos flasks - one filled with coffee (for my mother) and one filled with tea (for me) - in order to keep us warm, sandwiches (our favorite is Finnish dark rye bread) with Swedish cheese hushållsost and thinly sliced pickled cucumbers and cakes or pastries from a bakery. Every day my mother and I went to a bakery or pastry store and bought cakes or pastries which we indulged in the afternoons. We ate a lot of Swedish classic pastries and one of them were chokladbollar, chocolate balls, which I have not eaten for many many years and it must more than a decade that I made these balls myself. Making these chocolate balls are very simple: all ingredients are mixed together, balls are formed and rolled in shredded coconut or pearl sugar. It is a very popular recipe among children because it is so simple and it does not require any oven. 
The classic chokladboll consists of oatmeal, sugar, butter, raw cacao and vanilla. I made my own version of chokladbollar by reducing the amount of sugar and replacing it with dates, maple syrup and toasted almonds which give the chocolate balls more flavor and at the same time make them a little bit healthier. The classic chocolate balls are either rolled in pearl sugar or shredded coconut. I prefer the latter one, hence my chokladbollar - in the photos - are rolled in shredded coconut.

Makes 14 to 15 chocolate balls


75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
25 g  / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
15 g / 2 tablespoons raw unsweetened cacao
50 g / 1/4 cup dates ( I use medjool dates), pitted and chopped finely
75 g / 3/4 cup quick oats
75 g / 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped, *see my note below
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon strong coffee, cold
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 - 3 tablespoons shredded coconut or pearl sugar
Using toasted almonds, instead of raw almonds, makes a big difference (in my opinion). I toast almonds as follows: 
Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F. 
Place almonds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
Bake almonds for 10 to 14 minutes until the almonds have a golden color. 
Let almonds cool completely.


Stir butter and sugar until creamy. Add cacao powder and mix until well combined. 
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. 
Form the mixture into little balls, 2.5 cm / 1 inch in diameter. Of course you can make bigger or smaller balls if you wish.
Place the dessicated coconut on a plate and roll the balls in shredded coconut or pearl sugar.
Store the chokladbollar in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes

I always liked pumpkin but this fall season it really hit me and I am enjoying the pumpkin season to the fullest. I like making simple pumpkin soups which I make at least once a week. Every time I puree my pumpkin soups I am flabbergasted by the intense orange color. I always add a little bit of pumpkin seed oil (it is a speciality from Styria, Austria) and a few roasted pumpkin seeds and my bowl of soup looks like a piece of art. Every time I tell myself what beautiful color nature has to offer (who needs artificial color). Besides delicious soups there are so many different things that one can make out of pumpkin but my favorite sweet treats are little mini pumpkin bundt cakes. These petite pumpkin cakes are incredible moist and they are also very quick and easy to prepare. I made these bundt cakes a lot this fall season  - they were my edible gifts of this fall season - and I think I sweetened up the every day life of quite a few people.

I do not know where you are located in the world but in my little corner of this world canned pumpkin puree does not exist (maybe it does but I never came across it) and I am not sure if I would use it if I had access to it. Making your own pumpkin puree is very easy. My favorite kind of pumpkin is hokkaido, also known as red kuri squash) because you can use the skin of the pumpkin and I like the slightly sweet flavor of this pumpkin. Feel free any kind of pumpkin that you like most.
Preheat your oven to 175 °C / 350 °F. Cut the pumpkin in half, crape out the pulp and the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into small chunks. Place the pumpkin pieces onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft (the baking time depends on the size of the pumpkin pieces). Scoop out the pumpkin flesh (skip this step if you use hokkaido pumpkin) and place the flesh in a food processor or a blender and puree it until smooth.  You can keep the pumpkin puree in the fridge for two days or you can also freeze the puree. 

Makes 10 mini bundt cakes or muffins *


100 g / 1 cup pastry flour or 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
2 pinches of nutmeg
2 pinches of cloves
75 g  / 1/2 cup chocolate (50%), chopped
50 g / 1/2 cup walnuts (I like my nuts toasted), chopped
1 egg (medium size)
50 g / 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
50 g / 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
50 ml / 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted), alternative canola oil
150 g / 2/3 cup pumpkin puree*, see my notes above
2 tablespoons orange juice
Powdered sugar, for decoration

* I like using mini bundt cake moulds because I adore the shape of bundt cakes (the size of my mini gugelhupf moulds are: 7 cm / 2.8 inches diameter and 4 cm / 1.5 inches height). But of course you can use a muffin tin instead of a gugelhupf pan. 


Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F. 
Grease and flour your gugelhupf moulds or muffin moulds. In case you use silicon moulds you can skip this step. 
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, spices, chopped walnuts and chocolate in a medium bowl. 
Whisk egg and both kinds of sugar until well combined. You do not need to use a standing mixer or an electric mixer. Use a simple egg whisk. 
Add coconut oil or canola oil, pumpkin puree and orange juice and mix well. Add the flour mixture and stir with a (perferable wooden ) spoon until all ingredients are well combined. 
Spoon the cake batter into the bundt cake pan or muffins tin. Fill the batter almost to the top because the cakes does rise just a little bit. 
Bake the cakes for 17 to 20 minutes or if you insert a toothpick and it comes out clear the cakes are done.
Let the mini cakes cool, unmould the bundt cakes and sprinkle the cakes with powdered sugar. 

Chocolate Walnut Apple Cupcakes

I have more than hundred recipes on the blog but there is not a single cupcake recipe. I never imagined that I will ever publish a cupcake recipe but here I am with a cupcake recipe. 
I have never been appealed by these little cakes and I have never understood the hype. Cupcakes look pretty most of the time, sometimes kitschy, but the taste of cupcakes are often disappointing. They are too sweet, the cakes are often dry and the frosting is not my cup of tea as well. 
Nevertheless, a few years ago I made my first cupcakes which were raspberry cupcakes but I was not impressed. The cupcakes were too sweet for my liking and I am not the biggest fan of a frosting that consists only of a lot of powdered sugar and butter. 

My second cupcake attempt was last summer. I made Black Forest Gâteau cupcakes for my brother's birthday party in order to please a big crowd. These cupcakes were a big hit at the party which I was happy about but the importantly  I was pleased with the cupcakes  which were filled with a cherry compote and the frosting was a buttercream that was made of a custard and butter. Inspired by these Black Forest cupcakes I created cupcakes that reflects this beautiful fall season: chocolate cakes with caramelized walnuts, an apple filling flavored with cinnamon, cloves and tonka bean and a vanilla custard buttercream frosting. Doesn't it mouth-watering? They really taste heavenly. 
My own cupcake creation marked my third time making cupcakes (well, I made these cupcakes four (!) times). Maybe cupcakes are not so bad after all.

I often make the apple compote in big batches and have this on yogurt or porridge in the morning. It is also a good way to use up windfall apples. And your home will smell incredible. 
I like tusing tonka beans in desserts but I know it is not the most common ingredients and in some countries tonka bean is forbidden. Tonka bean taste a little bit like vanilla, so you can replace the tonka bean with a vanilla bean. 
I made big cupcakes ( 4 cm / 1.5 inches height, 8cm / 3 inches with, 5 cm / 2 inches length) but of course you can make petite cupcakes which I think would be great for a party. 

Makes 5-6 (big) cupcakes (see my note above)

Caramelized Walnuts

25 g / 4 tablespoons walnuts
25 g / 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar

Roughly chop the walnuts. 
Place powdered sugar and chopped walnuts in the frying pan. Over low medium heat caramelize the walnuts, stir frequently. When the walnuts are golden in color place them on a parchment paper lined board. Let the walnuts cool. Chop the caramelized walnuts if the walnut chunks are too big. 


100 ml / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 egg yolk 
15 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
50 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar
75 g / 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft and cut into cubes

Pour milk into a saucepan. 
Split vanilla pod lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of your knife or the dull side of the knife). Add the vanilla seeds and the empty vanilla pod to the milk. Bring vanilla milk to a soft simmer. Set aside and remove the empty vanilla pod. 
Whisk egg yolk and sugar until well combined, then add corn starch and whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the hot vanilla milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk. 
Pour the mixture back to the saucepan and over medium heat - whisk continuously - bring to a boil. You will notice that the custard thickens. Cook the custard for one minute, continue to stir. Now you should have a thick custard. Remove saucepan from the stove. Cover the surface with clingwrap which prevents skin forming. Let cool completely (it takes about one hour).When the custard is completely cooled, give it a good stir. Then add little by little butter to the custard and mix (use a standing or electric mixer) until it is a smooth. 
Fill the buttercream into a piping bag, use a size star nozzle (size 5 mm / 0.2 inches), and let the buttercream chill in the fridge for 15 minutes or longer.


50 g / 3 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
25 g / 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
50 g dark chocolate / 3.5 ounzes (65 % -70 %)
45 g / 1/2 cup pastry flour, sifted
5 g / 2 teaspoons unsweetened raw cacao, sifted
2 egg whites
50 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 °F.
Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. 
Beat butter and powdered sugar until creamy, Add a pinch of salt and one egg yolk at a time and mix until well combined. Add melted chocolate to the mixture. 
Mix flour, cacao powder and chopped caramelized walnuts in a separate bowl. 
Whisk egg whites until almost stiff, add sugar gradually and continue to whisk until completely stiff.
Add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the mixture and mix well. Fold flour mixture and the rest of the beaten egg whites into the mixture. 
Fill the batter into the cupcake cases. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes or if you insert a toothpick and it comes out clear the cakes are done.
Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.

Apple Compote

150 g / 1 1/4 cups peeled and cored apples, cut into small cubes
15 g / 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 of a tonka bean, grated or 1/4 vanilla bean (see my note above)
Pinch of pepper
Cinnamon stick, 3 cm / 1 inch 
2 cloves

Combine all ingredients and about 100 ml water in a pot. If your apples are very sour you might add a little bit more sugar. Cook the apple mixture over low medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples are very soft. You might need to add a little more water while the apple mixture is cooking. 
Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let the mixture cool completely. 

Assembling  Cupcakes

Cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Fill the holes of each cupcake with the apple filling. I like a lot of apple filling in the cupcakes. so I cut out big cones. 
Place the cones (the tip of the cone pointing upwards) in the middle of each cupcakes. 
Frost the cupcakes with the vanilla buttercream. 
Decorate cupcakes with walnut halves which I caramelized. 

Store cupcakes in the fridge until consumption.

Vanilla Buns

I have not been in the mood to bake lately, hence the hiatus on the blog. 
A while ago I was making little chocolate mousse gâteaux but I was not happy and it felt more like a chore. Then I was making several different apple cakes and again, it was a burden and not something that I enjoyed. It was such a strange feeling and I thought this might be the beginning of the end and I am loosing interest in baking. I was confused and I also could not figure out what caused the lack of interest in baking. I decided to take a break from baking and I tried not to stress about it. My baking break lasted for 22 days, then all of a sudden I was itching to bake again. I decided to make a batch of Swedish cinnamon buns, Kanelbullar, which is one of my favorite food of all time. I prepared the yeast dough for the buns and it filled me with lots of joy. When I was about to prepare the cinnamon filling I realized that I was out of cinnamon and I was mad at myself. For a moment I thought to make a quick trip to the grocery store but it was pouring rain but then I saw next to the empty cinnamon jar a jar with vanilla beans and I thought why not making a vanilla filling instead of a cinnamon filling. In retrospect I am so glad that I was running out of cinnamon because I probably never considered making a vanilla filling. I love the combination of vanilla and the cardamon flavored yeast dough. These vanilla buns are so delicious  - so fluffy, moist and such a heavenly vanilla flavor - and the smell of the buns are irresistible. I love them. 

By the way, today - October 4th - is Kanelbullens Dag, Cinnamon Bun Day, in Sweden. This national day was invented in 1999 by the Hembakningsrådet which is the Home Baking Council in Sweden. Lots and lots of kanelbullar are sold and eaten on this days. Many bakeries have special kanelbullar offers. Since October 4th is a Sunday this year most bakeries had special offers yesterday since most bakeries are closed on Sundays (but pastry stores are open on Sundays).
I do not care much about those new holidays but in the case of cinnamon buns I make an exception and take this holiday very seriously and I bake lots and lots of buns. 
Happy Kanelbulle Day!

Makes 16 to 18 buns


Yeast dough
75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
250 ml / 1 cup whole milk
30 g fresh yeast / 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast / 3 1/2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
75 g / 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
425 - 450 g / 4 cups pastry flour or 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room-temperature
50 g / 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
25 g / 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
50 g / 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 -3 tablespoons granulated sugar


Fresh Yeast
Crumble fresh yeast into a big bowl.
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add milk. The butter milk mixture should be lukewarm , not hot. This is important because otherwise the yeast will "die" and the dough won't rise.
Add little bit of the milk mixture, about two to three tablespoons to the crumbled yeast and stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the remaining milk mixture, granulated sugar, salt. cardamon and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Add most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons) and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.
Active dry yeast
Heat milk until lukewarm. Mix dry yeast with two tablespoons of lukewarm milk in a mug.  Melt butter.
Mix sugar, salt, cardamon, dissolved yeast mixture, remaining milk and melted butter. Add most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons) and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.
Instant active dry yeast
The yeast does not have to be dissolved in any liquid.
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add milk to the melted butter and set aside.
Mix most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons), dry yeast. sugar, salt and cardamon. Add butter milk mixture and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.

Place the yeast dough onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is too sticky add more flour to the dough.
Place the dough into a big bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free and warm place. I place my bowl in the oven and switch the oven to 40 °C / 100 °F ( make sure that the oven is not too hot). Let the dough rise until it has roughly doubled in size which takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It depends on how warm or cold your place is.
Prepare the filling.
Split vanilla pod lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of your knife or the dull side of the knife). Don't throw away the empty vanilla pod. Fill a jar with granulated sugar and add empty vanilla pods and after a week you have vanilla sugar.
Combine softened butter, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar and the seeds of vanilla. Mix all ingredients until it resembles a paste.
Prepare two to three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Take the dough out of the bowl and knead the dough again on a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle (45 cm x 45 cm / 18 inches x 18 inches). Spread the vanilla paste onto the rectangle evenly and roll it into a tight roll.
Cut roll into 16 to 18 pieces (each piece should be 1.5 cm to 2 cm / 0.6 inch to 0.8 inch). Place the rolls onto the baking sheet. Make sure that there is enough space between each roll.
Cover each baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Let the rolls rise again in a warm and draft-free place for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 225 °C / 440 °F.
Bake the rolls for 5 to 7 minutes until they are slightly golden in color.
While the buns are still warm brush the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
The vanilla buns taste the best when still warm. You can also freeze the buns. I always have some buns in the freezer and thaw them up in the oven.

Marzipan Crescents

You might have noticed that there are many recipes on the blog that involve almonds because I am fond of almonds and everything that is flavored with almonds. You won't be surprised that I like marzipan which is made out of almonds (and sugar and water) a lot. In Swedish (baking) cuisine marzipan is used quite a lot, too. However, today I am not sharing a Swedish recipe but a German recipe. 
Marzipanhörnchen - marzipan crescents - are a German classic which one can very often find at bakeries in Germany. These crescents consist of a large portion of marzipan so if you do not like marzipan I am afraid that this recipe might not be for you. But if you like marzipan I am convinced that these soft and chewy marzipan crescents - which are also very easy to make - will become a favorite of yours.

Makes 8 Marzipanhörnchen

125 g / 4.5 ounces marzipan
65 g / 1/2 cup powdered sugar
15 g / 1/2 egg white (size M)
25 g / 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
50 g / 1/2 cup flaked almonds
75 g /  2.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (50%), roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 165 °C / 330 °F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grate or cut the marzipan into small pieces.
Place marzipan, powdered sugar, egg white and all-purpose flour in a bowl and mix until all ingredients are well combined, preferable in a standing mixer or with an electric mixer. The dough should have a sticky consistency.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces.
Sprinkle your work surface with flaked almonds. Roll each piece of dough into a 15 cm / 6 inches rope on the surface that you sprinkled with the almonds. The flaked almonds will stick to the marzipan dough.
Place the ropes onto the baking sheet; make sure that there is enough space between each rope. Curve each rope into a crescent shape. If you have any flaked almonds leftover sprinkle them over the crescents.
Bake marzipan crescents for 13 to 15 minutes or until they have a hint of golden color.
Let the marzipan crescents cool completely on the baking sheet.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Dip both ends of each crescent into the melted chocolate or use a spoon and cover the ends with chocolate. I prefer and I use the latter method.
Place the crescents on a parchment lined board or plate and let dry.
Store the crescents in an air-tight container or cookie tin up two weeks.