Fika Friday Recipe

Swedish Birthday Cake Bake

On Saturday our youngest daughter turned seven. She is a true superstar and she makes us laugh everyday, but to have her birthday in the middle of the lockdown was a tricky challenge. More emotional than anything really! She is a proper “hugger” and she really missed hugging her friends. So we prepared a really nice birthday corner in the house and I do have a habit of buying gifts when I see them. I had picked up a guitar in a charity shop a couple of months back and a neighbour sold a guitar stand for a couple of pounds which has been a great gift as we all have started to play the guitar and downloaded a learning app. Once a week I go to the shop to check on it and to make sure it is ok (sadly this time there was a water leak at the back of the building and all the water coming down our backshop window, landlord is on it), and took the girls with me to let her chose a maileg soft toy which she love.

On her birthday we had a small zoom party which was extremely chaotic but it made her happy. Plus we baked her a birthday cake. A Swedish cake!

What is a Swedish birthday cake? Well they do come in all sizes and shapes but mainly it is a sponge cake cut in three layers with two fillings and wipped cream on the top. You can decorate it as you like but at Midsummer you really should have strawberries! The layers in the middle can be anything you like but I would use vanilla cream and jam. However I used to experiment a lot when I was younger and I think my favourite was a layer of chocolate mousse and one layer of vanilla cream and then the topping was melted chocolate. If you have cream as topping you can decorate with whatever you like, sweets or berries. I personally love the berries as it is already quite sweet cake and I like the freshness from the berries.

Ok lets crack on, here is the base recipe for the cake sponge. In Sweden you can buy ready made bases in the shop so a few years ago I started to research how to make the base as close to a cake sponge as possible and found this. It does not have butter or oil in it and is quite a dense but yet sweet base. Remember 1 dl is about 100 ml

Swedish Cake Base – Tårtbotten

  • 3 egg
  • 3 dl caster sugar
  • 1 dl hot water
  • 3 dl plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (use vanilla extract)

Mix egg and sugar very fluffy, add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar). Once all mixed add the hot water, bit by bit slowly while stirring so you do not get egg lumps.

Pour in to a baking mould in any shape you like. Traditionally a round but I have heart and rainbow shapes and I have also made letters before so doubled the batter and used a larger tray and then cut out the letter, which left some waste but the family does not mind eating the end bits.

Once it is cool down slice in three layers, I use a bread knife but if you have the proper tools then use them.

And that is the base, it is a super simple base but very tasty.

Then you can fill it with whatever you like. I remember my mum using mashed bananas which is nice if you like banana, cream mixed with fresh berries or homemade jam (or indeed shop bought). Traditionally vanilla cream or custard is used but yes you guessed it, vanilla custard here in the UK is not the same, you kind of need the one you use in profiteroles and I found a recipe online which you use raw egg yolks in and it is super easy but it is more for a summer pie or a warm spice apple pie in the autumn.

Big sister decorated the cake as a surprise and Lovisa was super delighted!

Enjoy!

Charlotte x

Day 10

Happy Shop

So day 10! Well let us cheer up with a sunny picture from last year. Sunny outside ans sunny at Spektakulär!! Colour and happiness is part of our shop so we love it when all the wonderful designs come together so perfectly!

Oh dear! Already stopped writing, was supposed to write 30 days in a row!! To be perfectly honest with you I have not looked at my laptop or at any work since Saturday morning. I have lost a lot inspiration when it comes to the shop and am feeling a bit blue about it. However I just sat down to open my emails and I am amazed by all the lovely emails and also a couple of orders which is a great surprise. So I will go to the shop tomorrow, however I do everything I can not to go to the post office but am more than happy to post gift vouchers or deliver locally as we do not really spend anytime together.

So for the last few days we have been stuck indoors and I have organised a million thousand and six hama beads in to colours and it has taken me a lot of time. I just can not stop, it is supposed to be one of those relaxed satisfying things you do, but things like that stresses me out. My heart pounds so much faster and I tense up. Doing things that are supposed to be relaxing stresses me instead, like knitting, or paper cutting or painting. I just want it over with and I hate giving up. My plan is that we write Easter letter to friends and create Hama Bead chicks or Easter eggs and deliver while out walking but making one takes my kids hours and my patience has run out for today, so I decided to sit down with work instead and I am glad I did because I found all these fab messages and it really has cheered me up!

So how are you coping? We struggle a lot with the lack of outdoor space. Yes we can be in the shared garden but it is not just us using it. I am about to go for a long walk with Stina and Richard and Lovisa will go to the park to practise cycling. Last night I went out for my first ever Couch to 5K run…yup you guessed it! I was very glad when it was over and I felt I had run for days but in fact you only, very slowly, jog for eight minuets…really!!

So what am I supposed to blog about this week! Well Easter is coming up and as you know Swedish Ester is pretty full on. Used to be the third biggest holiday in Sweden and no not in a religious way. More about witches! So I will write you a little bit about traditions from home and what else, oh I do not know. Any special brand you like to see more about? Just give me a shout!

Enjoy the sun and your garden if you have one…am not jealous at all!

Charlotte x

DAY 9

MOOMIN

Beautiful Wooden Moomin and Snorkmaiden by Finish LOVI.

Comics and lots of Moomin books!

We love the Moomins at Spektakulär!

When I grew up we only had a few TV channels and only one children’s program in the evening. I am not old but sometimes, like yesterday my sister told my daughter about a film she has on VHS and Stina went what is VHS? Well that was fun to explain! I guess today you do not need to buy CDs or DVDs or indeed books but I do anyway, not because I can access it easy on my phone but because I love holding a book and I like to treat myself with music I can play in my old car which only takes CDs. Anyway back to topic…

Moomin was one of the children programs on TV. And I grew up in Sweden so obviously they spoke Swedish Finish. Which was quite a strong accent to me then, however when I watched a modern Moomin here in the UK it felt all wrong. I missed the strong accent and calmness. I did remember Moomin being quite slow and boring! But then when I got older I started to read the stories and I fell in love with Moomins calm and kind nature and his family and friends. Some of the characters does freak me a little and I do know they can be quite scary.

So who are these Moomins? Here is a quick introduction to the main characters. I am sure most of you already know all about the Moomins so I guess this is for you who don’t and think maybe now is the time to find out more.

Moomintroll, aka Moomin. Always trying to be good and kind, making sure his friends are happy. He get excited about every little thing he finds while out exploring.

Moominpappa, a restless soul in his youth, travelled and explored. But now settled down with his family

Moominmamma, looks after them all calmly and wants everyone to be happy. Cooks amazing food and has the best handbag in the world filled with everything you might need at any time.

Little My, lives with the Moomins in the Moominhouse. I think the word mischievous was created after Little My. Love adventures, mess, catastrophes and would happily do something mean on purpose.

Sniff, also live with the Moomins. Is afraid of everything but yet want to take part in everything. His goal in life is to become rich but sadly never succeeds.

Snork Maiden, she like to think of herself as Moomin’s girlfriend. She is quite hard work, loves fashion but is happy and energetic.

Snufkin is Moomin’s absolute best friend. Carefree and lonesome. Comes and goes as he travels a lot. Own hardly anything except a harmonica.

Stinky, a selfish character who always plays jokes on the Moomin family.

Tove Jansson was an extraordinary writer and her imagination was just fantastic. I personally enjoy her love for nature, I have some of her other books here at home as well. The Art in Nature is in the pile by my bed ready to be read! I guess I have the time to do it now! Have you read it?

Customers often come in and go Moomin crazy! They need it all, everything we have and sometimes we have customers who has no clue and it turns out that in the UK, the Moomins was a trend some places but not everywhere. Once I had a mother in with her teenage daughter and the mum went “ohhhhhh the Moomins, I love the Moomins” and the daughter went, “who”…obviously I kicked her out of the shop!!! Well no, but her mum gave her such a shock horror look that I laughed out loud.

Moomins does belong with us at Spektakulär, but at the moment it is quite low in the shop which needs to be sorted once we can reopen again! We stock beautiful wooden characters by LOVI , tin mugs etc by MUURLA plus lots more. Oh I can not wait to get to the shop again and I can not wait to fill the shop up with Moomin and his family and friends!!

I hope you all have a good day, I have downloaded the couch to 5K app and think I will go out for the first session, however might be tomorrow instead. I am really putting this off as I am NOT a runner! I hate running, can walk miles after miles and happy to do hiits and bootcamps, but go for a run…no thank you! So this is probably a bit desperate! Will need to take the girls out for a walk, Stina went for a little cycle trip around the park last night but I don’t think Lovisa has been out for a few days. We have a garden which we share with three stairways and quite a few families, so have to make sure no one else is there before I send the girls out, so we could probably do with a walk around the area.

Tomorrow we will bake and I think we will bake something for FIKA FRIDAY (or indeed for the weekend). So let’s do a recipe or two. I do not think they are particularly Swedish treats but I did have them in my cookbook which I brought over from Sweden. The girls have picked two bakes so that is what we will do tomorrow!

Have a great evening!

Charlotte x

Day 8

CANDLES

I have heard our shop being called the candle shop, which was not my intention however if that is what you like to call us so be it. Because candles is something we do well, and we would happily fill the shelves with more candles. I have a plan that once we open a bigger shop (if everything goes to plan) we will make sure we have a wall for all the colours from Danish Ester & Erik. However I have lost track of how many colours they do now, think about 90 and then all the sizes and shapes!

We started slowly with candles, but when we saw these in a small interior shop in Sweden, we were both so impressed and thought yes!! We NEED these at Spektakulär! It was not a natural easy sell at first but now people travel to us to buy candles, especially at Christmas. Ester & Erik candles are so wonderful and we love them. Personally I adore these cone candles because you do not need a holder and you can create a beautiful display. Please remember these candles are made to be used, so please enjoy them or give them to a friend who enjoys some me time!

What does candles mean to me as a Swede? It is part of life, it is a natural as a cup of coffee! You light candles, a few tealights at dinner or indeed tall taper candles, and guess what, not just at a fancy dinner party but a homemade easy, quick dinner after work with the family. It is a way to just calm down and relax after a crazy busy day. You can light a few candles while watching a film, a scented candle if you prefer. Personally I am not a great fan of scented candles, can’t stand the scent of fake vanilla, it gives me a headache. However sometimes after the kids have been to the toilet one of those might be a good idea in the bathroom!

I have started to give candles to friends, instead of flowers, bring a bouquet of candles. Colourful and happy or why not some calm, soft colours that can bring a calm mood. However what I have noticed is how few of you actually have candle holders! So if you buy candles for a friend maybe invest in a nice candle holder too.

When I travelled to London in 2005 I packed up my flat and put it all in my dad’s basement thinking I will be back in three to six months. However we all know what happen. A few years ago dad said they were about to move house and needed me to clear my stuff. So I went down there and I cleared like crazy. I kept about a fifth of my belonging but what I did prioritise was obviously some of my old candle holders. My stuff are now in my mum’s basement instead (and I think she is less happy about it). My dream is to buy a house on the country here and a I would love to buy a summer house in Sweden. Basically just so I can unpack my belongings including my old candle holders. Or maybe so we can have or own place in Sweden , nah basically so I can unpack my candle holders. I think I need to buy a lottery ticket!

I hope you are all coping well! Our homeschooling is not going great today, but lots of pictures from snapfish just arrived and it is great to go though last year in pictures. Lots of happy memories and I guess it is time to create new happy ones which is a bit of a challenge but we can do it!

Have a super day!!

Charlotte x

Day 7

FIKA FRIDAY

Chocolate Balls

What is FIKA FRIDAY? Fika Friday is a little event at the shop on a Friday morning once a month. Homemade Swedish treats and cup of coffee/tea on us while you come in and browse around the shop.

The plan is that it will be a monthly event and I think we will continue this once we are back to normality (let us hope it will be sooner rather than later).

It became quite popular, some of the Fridays were busy, some less, but in general it has been a success. So once we are back up, meet up with a friend and wander around Bruntsfield and Morningside and stop by for a tasty treat and perhaps even a little treat for your home too. If you like to know more about FIKA, well click here! It is a very very Swedish thing and part of our culture!

While I was going though images yesterday I fund lots of fun photos and a realised a lot of baking does go on in our house. Hmm what can we bake today? You baking anything special? Let me know!!

Today I have done my final walk for WALK ALL OVER CANCER for Cancer Research! At least 10000 steps a day every day in March! Final week was really difficult and I have really struggled but it has been very good for my mind as closing our business has hit me hard. There is still time to donate so head over to my just give page by clicking here!

No it is time for homeschooling. The girls are on a roll at the moment and I am feeling ok about it but it truly is difficult and I am really grateful for teachers!!!

Have a fab day

Charlotte xx

Day 6

Happy Colours

Aveva

Colours!! Spektakulär has become a place where you will find lots of colourful designs. This is were you go to get a little bit of eye candy and also find great designs to brighten up your home.

In Sweden it is common to have a blank canvas as a base when you decorate your home. White is always a safe choice and I will just flick in here to tell you that the colour magnolia should be banned (I use it as a swearword)!! So let’s go with a nice base and then what we do at home is to use accessories. And one main thing we do is that we change our homes after season. Make your home colourful in the Spring using either soft welcoming tones such as light blues, warm greys or why not give it a huge splash of pastels. It should feel like you are bringing in Spring in to your home. There are easy ways to do this. Such as a bright vase with welcoming daffodils, or a new lampshade, curtains or indeed cushion covers.

I could tell you all about all the colourful brands in the shop such as Rice, Spira of Sweden and Pappelina. But today let me just show you these beautiful designs by one of our most colourful brands is AVEVA. Aveva means “by Eva” in Swedish. Eva is the fab designer behind this happy brand. Aveva is based in Sweden and focus on being sustainable while bring in a splash of colour in you home. We came across Aveva while we were in Copenhagen many years ago. A small independent shop were selling some of their lovely colourful trivets and we feel in love. That Aveva is also the most wonderful company to deal with just makes it such a enjoyable experience and I love every new design Eva create.

In our latest delivery we welcomed wool flower pots, garlands, trivets and the great cork coasters with a edge dipped in cheerful colours. As the best trend in a very long time “greenery” is still going strong we love the flower pots. The inside is coated with natural rubber which makes them waterproof. These are a great gift to give and one to receive or indeed a fab treat. I am delighted to let you know Aveva is the first brand we are focusing on to get up on our webshop, yes we are working on it but it is like a whole new language for me so please bear with me!!

Hope you are all super, Stina has already done most of her homework for today (YAY I ROCK), however I just struggle with Lovisa’s LACK of concentration trying to spell her words… So I have given up at the moment. Will let them colour and listen to David Walliams while I create lunch! I also realised I forgot to put my watch on while doing Joe Wicks earlier…darn! Now I have to walk a bit longer today and I was hoping not too.

See you all tomorrow, shall look through older photos and try to find some fun ones.

Charlotte x

Day 4

Spektakulär at home!

Was not sure what to post today, I think I need to sit down and write a list of what to post when. However this morning I was sent this from a customer. A little photo collage of Spektakulär at her home!

Spektakulär at home!

WOW!!!!! And I mean wow! What a wonderful treat to receive and a fantastic reminder that we do in fact inspire to create homely homes.

Thank you Sandra! This really made my day!! I love those Pappelina rug colours, the sea grass and storm are personal favourites!

If you have designs from Spektakulär, feel free to share them with us! It truly makes us happy and is a huge motivation to stay strong and keep going.

Have a wonderful day! We are chilling, think a little bit of the “fun” home schooling will take place today such a designing a playpark and write a short story! Otherwise not a lot, had waffles for brunch and I shall make more coffee and sit down with a book. I will walk over to the shop later to check post and make sure it is all ok and to get my 10000 steps for #walkalloveercancer.

Charlotte x