Most of my childhood memories are based around my Mum’s cooking. As a kid, I was amazed at three things about my Mum – her beautiful face, her cooking skills, and her ability to walk around our city and not get lost! I remember roaming around with my hand in hers, gazing up at the tall buildings and wondering how she knows where she is going. I thought she was super smart.
As kids we weren’t fed a lot of takeaway meals. Takeaway was a treat and not a given just because Mum didn’t have time to cook, she always made time to cook. I remember when she worked split shifts and my Dad would be working away. Mum would get us ready for school, dart off to work some 45 minute drive away, come home in her break and chuck a meal in the slow cooker, then head back to work well into the evening. I had a hard time working at her level when I was a fulltime working mum, her kind of determination to make things flow smoothly isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I am more of a complain-about-how-hard-it-is-to-get-everything-done kind of person rather than just get it done. My Mum however, she just gets it done.
One fond memory I have of her cooking was a bundt cake tin she used to bake Finnish cake in, exactly like the one I used here. In fact, I think this could be hers! This tin made its way into my antique prop collection, it brought memories flooding back the moment I caught glimpse of it. I may not have balanced the working mother gig as well as Mum, but I can sure try baking half as good. And what better cake to try out my baking skills than a traditional Finnish cake.
Tiikerikakku translates to ‘tiger cake’, it’s the Finnish version of a marble cake. Coffee cakes are very popular with Finns, any family gathering will most often see a coffee cake or two on the table. This recipe is an adapted version courtesy of my Mum. The Finns of my grandmother’s generation favoured cream and margarine in cakes, whereas this version uses milk and butter. Also cornflour has been substituted for potato flour (also an old Finnish baking favourite).
250g butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (my grandmother would’ve used vanilla sugar, either will do nicely)
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup cornflour
2 heaped tsp (don’t level off spoon) baking powder
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 175C. Grease a 10″ bundt tin and coat with breadcrumbs.
Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Sift flours and baking powder in a separate bowl. Fold sifted flours into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Add milk and mix until just combined.
Spoon 2/3 of the batter into greased tin.
Add cocoa powder to the remaining 1/3 batter, combine well to make a chocolate consistency.
Spoon chocolate batter on top of the white batter, and if you like you can make swirls using a skewer.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Do you have a favourite cake from your childhood that brings memories flooding back?