Midsummer up north

The midsummer celebration is an old pre-Christianity tradition in many European countries, mostly so those in the north. 

At some stage however Rome decided that church should be part of it, so instead of celebrating the solstice, the nature and fertility – everyone were now supposed to celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. 

This change worked pretty well everywhere – except in Sweden. Take one look at the joyful Swedish midsummer celebration and you’ll see it is anything but Christian. Instead, the Swedes go all in. Every year on the Friday closest to June 21 they decorate the midsommarstång (midsummer pole or may pole) – a symbol of fertility – with leaves and flowers. They dance and sing around it – the same “chanting, leaping and diabolic rituals” that the church tried to stop hundreds of years ago. Girls and boys will wear handmade crowns of flowers in their hair too.  It’s a celebration of nature, for the whole family.

Midsummer kids. Photo: Karin Sintring

Midsummer kids. Photo: Karin Sintring

And on the way home at night, every girl is supposed to pick seven different flowers to put under her pillow. This will make her dream of her future love, in this magic night.

As with any festivity, food is also very important. The traditional pickled herring, the new potatoes, radish, sour cream and maybe even a schnapps or two accompanied by a variation of schnapps songs.

All that, and of course strawberries with whipped cream. A strawberry cake fits right in. This recipe is grain free (gluten free) and contains no sugar. A healthy alternative for your midsummer celebration – no matter how you choose to party!

Grain free, sugar free, strawberry cake - a healthy feast. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Grain free, sugar free, strawberry cake – a healthy feast. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

As with most baking we mix dry and wet ingredients separately, before combining them. But first you should turn on your oven – 170 C (340 F). I use a combination of over heat and fan.

Also prepare your baking form – I have a really small one, only 14 cm (5.5 inch). If yours are much bigger you might want to double all the amounts!

In a bowl we mix the wet ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil (or 50g melted butter)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar (for example apple cider vinegar)
  • the zest (peel) of one organic lemon
The wet ingredients. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

The wet ingredients. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

It looks like five eggs on the picture – only because one yolk broke.

Then we do the dry ingredients – like this:

If you have a grinder or small mixer /chopper – start by mixing

  • 100 ml shredded coconut with
  • 4 dried apricots (possibly cutting them into pieces first)
Grinding shredded coconut with dried apricots. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Grinding shredded coconut with dried apricots. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

(If you don’t have a grinder or mixer – then skip this and instead just take 100 ml shredded coconut and no apricots. For sweetness you could add a tbsp. or two of honey to the wet ingredients to compensate for not using apricots)

Grind until apricots are finely chopped, and then add:

  • 100 ml almond flour
  • 3 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
The dry ingredients. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

The dry ingredients. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients and stir. Fill your form and bake for about 40 minutes – depending on cake size.

Meanwhile prepare the filling. I used a chia seed jam that is easily done mixing just blueberries, raspberries and chia seeds – find an instruction at the bottom of this blog post HERE

Leave the chia seed jam to swell and settle while the cake is baking and cooling down.

Cut the cake into layers and fill with jam and banana. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Cut the cake into layers and fill with jam and banana. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Once the cake is ready and has cooled down – cut into layers. Fill with fruit, berries or my combination of sliced banana and chia seed jam.

Cover with whipped cream and decorate with fresh strawberries. Store in the fridge until eaten.

Solid cake that cuts nicely. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Solid cake that cuts nicely. Photo: Lisa Fuchs

Enjoy!

By Lisa Fuchs, midsommar 2014

Lisa Fuchs is the author of “Delicious grain free baking” available on amazon. She also writes about healthy and creative baking, under the name Liesel on her blog: lieselathome.com

You will never find sugar or gluten in any of her recipes and most of them are also lactose free.

 

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  1. […] about this old tradition, for CLEW – the online expat magazine – and you can find it HERE. In that post I published a recipe for a fantastic fancy cake with whipped cream and […]

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