The Man who couldn’t read (pumpkin not-cake)

It’s not exactly pumpkin season so maybe you can’t find pumpkin puree. Or maybe you’re like me and live in a country where you can’t buy it so you make your own and freeze it. Maybe I’m the only one who found a random kilo of pumpkin puree to use during a COVID-lockdown-freezer-cleaning-binge, but in these chaotic times of kitchen creativity, I wanted to share this little story:

My boyfriend cannot read.

Admittedly, he knows what the newspapers say, he does peruse his textbooks, and he understands signs as well as can be expected. But when it really counts — like when buying the

(Kidding – love you very much)

Anyway… due to a random coincidence that has nothing with the aforementioned anything to do, I have — on two separate occasions become the happy owner of unexpected whole-wheat flour after sending Aksel out to buy groceries. Now, I actually do use wholewheat in my baking, I think a little bit gives good texture. I also think that too much can result in a cannon ball to the gut, but drastic times call for drastic measures, and I leave no flour behind.

So a healthier flour for a healthier cake. Maybe a bread? I had to explain to my distressed Danish boyfriend that I was not planning to make a bread with banana — or pumpkin, as the case may be– in it. I then also explained my theory that people call it “bread” so that they can eat cake in the morning without a guilty conscience. But, hey, bake it in a bread tin loaf pan, it’s a bread, right?

Anyway, armed with my whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree and my maple syrup (what else?) I set about to make the bread that wasn’t a bread by making a cake that wasn’t quite sweet enough to be a cake. Whatever it is, it tastes great toasted, buttered, accompanying your afternoon coffee. If you know what pålægchocolade is and have any of it, you could definitely use it here. Since we can’t all be that lucky you could also simply add chocolate chips to the batter.


As I said when I sent this recipe to a friend, I adapted this from my mom’s old recipe for pumpkin muffins, so the measurements aren’t super-precise (not really sorry)!

Start by browning 120 g butter (half a cup plus a little bit) in a small saucepan so that it can cool down before you add it to the rest of the batter. You can skip this step, but it adds a nice depth of flavour. Honestly, I just wanted to experiment and feel fancy. I came very close to burning it.

Next move onto the dry ingredients and mix together in a large bowl

220 g AP flour (1 3/4 cup)
160 g whole wheat flour (1 1/4 cup)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon and mixed spices (cardamon, muskatnød, nutmeg — whatever you want)

In a separate medium bowl combine:

The not burned butter from before
175 ml maple syrup (about ~3/4 cup, I think)
4 eggs
500 ml pumpkin puree

Add wet into dry in batches. If you add it all at once like I did, you will hate yourself because it will clump together and you will probably end up over-working the batter. If you’re going to add chocolate chips do it at the same time that you incorporate the last batch of dry ingredients.

Finally, pour the batter into a tin that you definitely remembered to prepare and place it in an oven that you definitely remembered to preheat. Bake for 50-60 min at 180/350, or until a toothpick comes out clean and there are lovely cracks on top.

The Danish Pastry (Hello)

So much of my kitchen and recipe knowledge comes from my mom. So many of the things I do in the kitchen I do simply because she does it like that too. She made fresh meals for her family of six every day and continues to make food for us long after we have all moved away from home. If it hadn’t been for her endlessly refilled freezer containers of chili and soup, I would have lived on cereal all through university. I know that one of the things she wondered about was how I was going to survive once we lived on different continents. Trust me, the thought occurred to me, too.

My mom makes from scratch look so easy and effortless, and if it weren’t for my parents’ efforts in the kitchen, my siblings and I would not have the appreciation for Danish food that we have — honestly, knowing how much of Danish culture is food — we probably wouldn’t have much of a connection to the country at all.

But while there was homemade rye-bread and picked herring; picked beets, cucumber salad, home-butchered pork of several varieties; and the best home-baked white bread, cookies, and cakes that anyone could ask for, even my mom had her limits. She would not make wienerbrød Danish pastry. The time investment was simply not one that she was willing to make. So we all had to suffer without the one thing Denmark is probably most known for while living in Canada, then beg the local bakeries to take our money as soon as we arrived back in Dk on holiday.

And while I do love those buttery bites, and have often ranted about the subpar nature of the “slop most Canadians call Danishes”, I agree with my mom. My time and money are better spent eating pastry than making it. I promise to only share the experiments that end well, but I cannot promise pastry.