Tag Archives: recipe

The Legendary Chocolate Cake

We were in Tampere, Finland, earlier this summer to organise and plan things for our wedding. One of the main points on our list was to find a cake worthy of us. We had some eight cakes to try out from several different bakeries but non of them really did it for us. There was nothing that stood out.

Apart from this one.

My uncle and godfather, Jussi, was leaving his job after buying a large hardware store and he was making cakes for his old department. The cake, Chocolate cake á la Veranne, was the absolute winner. No point in tasting anything after having had a slice of that. We had to have it.

Problem was of course that you couldn’t just go and buy it. We had to make 14 of them in the week leading to the wedding.

It turned out to be quite a lot work but I learned some tips and tricks along the way so the recipe below have been amended a little from the original.

Chocolate Cake á la Veranne


  • 1 dl strong coffee
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 250 g butter
  • 2 dl sugar
  • 4 eggs

Whipped cream and raspberries for topping.


1. turn your oven on at 175ºC. Attach a sheet of non-stick baking paper to a 23 cm loose-base cake base.

2. Place a large mixing bowl over a sauce pan with simmering water. Add coffee to the bowl.

3. Piece by piece, mix chocolate with the coffee.

4. Measure your sugar and butter. Cut the butter into smallish slices. Add a little bit of butter and sugar at a time to the mixing bowl. Mix well as you go along.

5. Take the mixing bowl of the heat. Mix your eggs slightly and add them into the dough.

6. Pour your mixture into the cake base and bake in the oven for 1:00-1:15 hours. The cake will rise while it’s in the oven but goes down as it cools and gets a crunchy top. Let the cake cool down completely in the cake base.

7. The cake is at it’s best after spending a night in a fridge.

End notes:

As we could only make few a day, we had to freeze the cakes after cooling them down. Luckily, it turns out the cake freezes really well without loosing any of the taste and the crunchiness of the top stays almost the same, too. As we were making these in bulk, we used nice but pretty basic dark chocolate (in fact, it was lactose free, which limited our choice) so I believe next time I’ll try with some posh chocolate. Perhaps even a flavoured one.

Runeberg’s Cake Recipe

(Runebergin torttu resepti)

For me, the favourite day of the year is, of course, 6th February, the day I was born. Second favourite? 5th of February because it was the birthday of another great Finn, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth and on Runebergs day, we have this seasonal delicacy called, to everybody’s surprise, Runeberg’s Cake. If I was to name my favourite cake, this would be it. Looking at it, it doesn’t look or soundlike anything special but the secret is that it’s made with rum. In my case, lot’s of it.

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Recipe: Ragoût de poulet finlandais d'artillerie

First, little bit of the history of this fine cuisine:

This goes way back to the time when I was doing my national army service in Kajaani Brigade, Kainuu Artillery Regiment, in the eastern part of Finland, near Russian boarder. It was created more out of a need than anything else. We had to spend long times in the forest training. I was, and still am but now in reserves, a Medical Sergeant so our task was to make sure everyone was healthy and in good strength to fight against the Yellow Enemy. It was sometimes really hard. We’d have long periods when you wouldn’t get your supplies replenished or wouldn’t get the regular food deliveries. And no, you couldn’t call Pizza Hut, it wasn’t allowed.

As a solution to our problem, we came up with what we started calling ‘Ragoût de poulet finlandais d’artillerie‘. The name is in French so that the Yellow Enemy wont be able to know what it is if they capture our radio communications. The Yellow Enemy doesn’t understand French.

Basic idea of this cuisine was that it would be very easy to make, wouldn’t matter if you leave it cooking for hours, and the raw materials are ‘durable’, easy to store and last long if not used. Bonus is that the stew itself lasts very long after cooking even if not kept in a refrigerator, a luxury you almost never saw in the forrest. Now, if you’re a quick thinker and know some basic French, you must be thinking something like this: ‘Wait wait wait, chicken doesn’t last a day if not kept in the fridge!’ And you’re absolutely right! It doesn’t. But we never used chicken in it. We just had chicken in it’s name because it would make it easier to pretend it had chicken in it. It’s very important for the troop morale.

Now that you know some history behind this splendid dish, here’s how you make it.


1 swede

1 onion

3 carrots

3 parsnip

salt and pepper

any available herbs (really, it doesn’t make a difference what you put in)



1. Chop everything into small slices or cubes.

2. Put everything into a sauce pan or ‘pakki

3. Cover ingredients with water. Obviously, more water you put in more people you can feed with it. We once fed half a battery with a single swede and two carrots(!).

4. Let it slowly simmer under a lid for 1 1/2 – 5h.

That simple. If you want to be adventurious, you can pop a whole roasted chicken on top, since we now have the luxury of refrigerators. Let me know in the comments if you made it and how it made you feel. I’m just waiting mine to be ready and it smells really nice. Like I’d be back in the forest.