I received a copy of Marit Hovland‘s cookbook “Bakeland : Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature” from Greystone Books and am excited to share my thoughts, as well as Marit’s recipe for White Chocolate Lime Cake With Almonds with you.
Gorgeous Food Photography
Marit Hovland is a graphic designer by trade and tells the reader in the introduction, that Bakeland, with it’s attractive layout and gorgeous food photography is a true labour of love. In the book she says, “Everything in it is mine : the original idea, the photos, and the recipes.” She makes it clear that she is not a professional cook or baker, though she has a knack for both, and that she let the seasons in Norway inform the content of Bakeland.
Bakeland is filled with full page colour photos of Marit’s recipes, as well as her photos from nature that inspired the recipes. For example, her White Chocolate Lime Cake is inspired by the arrival of spring, and fields filled with tiny, sky-blue forget-me-nots.
How To Candy Forget-me-nots
Sadly, when Bakeland arrived in the mail, forget-me-nots were still a mere thought in the distant future, so I settled for a gorgeous, lush golden rose. You can find Marit’s tutorial on how to candy forget-me-nots here under our Tutorial Tuesday section.
Baking, DIY, Crafting
If you like baking, DIY projects, and crafting, then Bakeland will be right up your alley. From candying flowers, to creating stencils, piping spruce branches out of icing, and molding chocolate into wood, shells, and rocks, Bakeland is imaginative and creative, with easy to follow step by step instructions, as well as illustrative photographs which you can see here.
As an experienced home-baker and professional recipe developer, I encountered a couple of mishaps that could possibly frustrate someone with less experience.
For example, I baked the White Chocolate Lime Cake with Almonds (recipe below). The instructions direct you to bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350º, however, because my cake batter was quite thick and dense when I was spreading it into my springform pan, I had a feeling it would take longer in the oven. At the 30 minute mark my cake batter was still very wet and my almonds were still white. All said and done, my cake took approximately 60 minutes to bake through and toast the almonds to a nice golden colour.
I also made the Sesame-Ginger Buns with Lemon Icing and, in the directions, you are instructed to add 1/4 cup of melted butter to 1 cup of milk, to which you then add yeast. I think the directions should have included instructions to heat the milk, because, when I added my melted butter to my cold, out-of-the-fridge milk, my butter pretty much instantly solidified – not ideal for my yeast to leaven. I don’t believe my sesame buns rose as well as they could have if I had heated my milk.
Small critiques aside, Bakeland is a beautiful book, filled with refreshing and inspiring recipes and ideas that I will refer to for years to come.
- 5 oz (150 g) white chocolate, finely
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice
- zest of 1½ limes
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup (90 g) butter
- 1½ cups (185 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup (70 g) sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) round springform pan with parchment paper.
- Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and eggs.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter then pour over the chocolate and stir. When the chocolate has melted, add it to the egg mixture.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Let the cake cool, then decorate with candied forget-me-nots. The cake should be kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.