There are many different sweets the people of Finland enjoy, but when it comes to birthdays one of my colleagues, who hails from that part of the world has told me, no celebration is complete without a kermakakku. ‘Kerma’ means cream and ‘kakku’ means cake. Together they mean cream cake – a layered sponge cake decorated with lashings of whipped cream and favourite fruits found in Finland. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, lingon berries and cloudberries are all common flavours for this indulgent dessert cake.
I wanted to try making such a cake last year, and decided my birthday was a suitable occassion. The sponge cake was very easy to make (although when my colleague sampled mine he said the Finnish version was much more dry, thanks to their use of potato flour amongst other things). I worried this would be a cream heavy cake, but the piped cream up the sides was deceiving. My son and his friend scoffed this cake in minutes. And there was more than half a cake left over to take to work to share the next day.
Note: I've adjusted the ingredients in this recipe today as I made this cake for my mum yesterday and I wasn't satisfied with the proportions of the sponge cake. I think your sponge needs to be thick and fluffy. If you try this recipe please let me know how it works for you so I can make any further adjustments if necessary.
4 large eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup corn flour
800ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp white sugar
1 ½ cup raspberries
¼ cup raspberry syrup
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease two 20cm (8 inch) round cake pans and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. It makes a big difference lining the sides of the tin as this helps the cake rise neatly up the sides.
2. Crack the eggs into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high for one minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating for 10 minutes.
3. Place all three flours in a bowl and mix with a spoon to combine. Drop flour into a triple layer sieve and sift one third into the egg mix. Gently fold the flour through the egg mix, being careful not to over mix. Repeat two more times until all the flour is combined. Divide the sponge mix between the two prepared cake pans and place them in the middle shelf of the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Test they are cooked by inserting a tooth pick into the middle of one. If it comes out clean the sponge is cooked.
4. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and carefully peel the baking paper off the sides and bottom. Leave to cool completely.
5. Pour the cream, vanilla and sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high until the cream is thick and will hold a peak. Be very carefully not to over mix the cream.
6. Spread one third of the whipped cream on the top of one sponge. Cover with raspberries, reserving 12 of the best looking berries to decorate the top.
7. Place the second sponge on top of the raspberries. Press lightly to secure. Use a knife to spread a thin layer of whipper cream over the top of the second sponge.
8. Fit a star-shaped piping tube to a large piping bag and fill the bag with the rest of the cream. Pipe strips of cream up the sides of the cake to completely cover it. Pipe decorative swirls of whipped cream around the top edge of the cake.
9. Carefully pour the raspberry syrup onto the middle of the top of cake. Gently tilt the cake to spread the syrup to the edge of the cream.
10. Place the 12 reserved raspberries on the cream around the top of the cake and serve.
Note: as an added extra, it's really nice to spread a layer of lemon curd through the middle of the sponge before you add the cream and raspberries.