The Seasoned Traveler

Recipes and remedies using herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients from the world's pantry


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Norwegian Rhubarb Cake with Cardamom

RhubarbCakeTST2 I started daydreaming about this Norwegian Rhubarb Cake, or rabarbrakake, the moment I saw it on Outside Oslo, a lovely Scandinavian food blog. The beautiful photos drew me in, and the description of its simplicity had me hooked. Norwegian? Rhubarb? Cake? Sounds like a perfect treat to celebrate the homecoming of my part-Norwegian husband who loves rhubarb. I love that this is not overly sweet, and the cake stays moist and buttery on the inside, with little jewels of tart, soft rhubarb, and a golden, slightly crisp edge. I added my own touch of cardamom to the batter, because I usually associate Scandinavian baking with a good excuse for a dash of my favorite spice, and have to say this cake lived up to my daydreams. Maybe too much so, because, waking from my reveries, I realized the cake was half gone before the hubby came home… Oops! Welcome Home, Honey!

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Chocolate Fondants

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Last year I tested chocolate fondant/molten lava cake recipes as I think only a zealous chocoholic can. I tried them in ramekins (not as fun as opening them up to let the chocolate spill out on a plate), I baked some in a water bath (more pudding-like than cake on the outside), I poked little chunks of chocolate in the middle of some (which felt like cheating, and wasn’t the smooth and rich consistency of molten batter), and I experimented with different chocolate/sugar/flour ratios and minutes in the oven. Luckily I found a favorite before I became a walking molten lava cake myself. The best variation, to my taste, was this one, adapted from a recipe by Aussie chef Curtis Stone (another confessed chocoholic). Baked in a jumbo muffin pan, it uses quality dark bittersweet chocolate, just enough flour to set up without offsetting the rich chocolate goodness, and achieves that gooey molten effect that oozes out at the slightest touch of the spoon. This winning dessert — along with a day spent with my luvbugs and a lovely dinner prepared by my husband — makes for a very happy birthday today!

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