Thursday 5 July 2018

Recipe: Lavender and vanilla britakakku with stewed summer berries and rose crème chantilly

So I've posted on my Instagram in the last week some pictures of this delicious cake that I made. Britakakku is a Finnish cake that is traditionally eaten at Midsummer, and I was reminded of it in a post by Juha Lönnberg - who has very pretty silverware and a very handsome cat - and I looked at various recipes and found I could adapt one of my own favourite cake base recipes for it easily enough. Quite a lot of folk seemed to like it on Instagram so I said I would post how I made it.

The cake is baked under a layer of meringue which gives a wonderful pairing of textures. I decided to flavour mine with lavender and vanilla, but lemon or orange zest would work well, as would a combination of honey, lime and vanilla - I've included some flavouring options right at the bottom of this post. If you want to veganise it, just use a chickpea meringue and swap butter for vegan vegetable baking spreads; for each egg yolk, you can use all manner of replacements; the milk can be switched for soy or oat milk. The cream filling can be switched for soya-based whipped cream alternatives. 

A note on assembly and storage - if you are having a gathering where you will have people over and the whole cake will be eaten the same day or next day, assemble it in full and store in an airtight container in the fridge. If not, just keep the fruit and cream separate (both will keep in the fridge in sealed jars) and wrap the cake in foil and eat it in a deconstructed manner as I did, or assemble individual portions when needed.


Cake base:
250g unsalted butter, softened a little by leaving at room temperature for 30 mins
200g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks (see note below)
130g plain flour ('all purpose flour' in US and Canada)
200mL milk (use Jersey milk if you want to make it really special!) 
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers suitable for baking

4 large egg whites (see note below)
300g golden caster sugar

Set the oven at 175°C (fan, 195°C if not fan-assisted), 385°F or gas mark 5.

Line 2 traybake tins 6" wide, 12" long and 1" deep using foil-backed baking parchment. 

Carefully separate your eggs, putting the whites into a small ceramic, glass or metal bowl that must be completely grease-free and put it out of the way in a cupboard at room temperature for 30 mins or so whilst you prepare the cake base. Beat the yolks lightly with a fork.

This is best done using a food mixer - I use a Russell Hobbs 15154 that I've had almost 10 years - a metal bowl is always best if you are making meringues - if you only have one bowl, clean it VERY well with dish washing liquid in between the cake and the meringue. Use the beater for the base and the whisk for the meringue.

1) Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of the mixer and cream them together in relatively short runs of the mixer, scraping down the material from the sides and giving it a stir with a spatula at intervals - you want it soft and fluffy. 

2) Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and milk and mix until combined. If the mixture curdles, just add a bit of flour.

3) Add the flour and baking powder and mix until fully combined.

4) By hand, fold in the lavender using a figure-8 motion with a spatula.

5) Divide the mixture between the two traybake tins equally and don't forget to lick the bowl! 

6) After thoroughly cleaning the bowl and drying it completely, add the egg whites and whisk at a high speed until they form stiff peaks.

7) With the mixer on, add the sugar to the egg whites a spoon at a time so that it fully dissolves and you don't get crunchy bits left.

8) When the mixture holds stiff peaks (you can tip the bowl upside down and it won't fall out!) and if you rub it between finger and thumb you feel no gritty sugar, it's ready!

9) You can do this step two ways:
(a) Put the meringue into a piping bag with a 1" nozzle and pipe over ONE of the cake pans so that the cake is fully covered.
(b) Spoon it on using 2 tablespoons, starting at one edge and slowly covering the whole thing with blobs of meringue. Once covered, smooth and peak with a knife to fill any gaps.

10) Bake both trays of cake for about 30 min until a skewer dipped into each pan comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans - ideally overnight.


You could use any mix of fruit really - red currants, white currants, tayberries, loganberries and so on work really well, as do cloudberries in place of raspberries.

625g strawberries and blackberries
220g golden caster sugar
220g raspberries
150g blueberries

1) Remove the green bits from the strawberries and cut each one into 4 pieces.

2) Put the strawberries and blackberries into a saucepan with the sugar and stir a little until all of it has stuck to the damp cut fruit.

3) Heat the saucepan slowly until all of the sugar melts/dissolves into a syrup and slowly and gently poach the fruit until the strawberries pieces are glossy and soft.

4) Increase the heat until the syrup thickens a little. Remove from the heat and stir in the blueberries. Set aside to cool completely.

5) Stir the raspberries into the cooled mix. Store this in the fridge in a sealed jar - it keeps for a few days but can be frozen of course.


You could use orange flower water instead, which would be really nice if you use the lemon variant of the cake, of course. Make sure you use a rosewater for baking, not one for cosmetic use, and ensure it is a real one - not rose flavouring or one of the alcohol or propylene glycol based ones - Marks and Spencer in the UK do an excellent one.

375mL double cream (in the USA, manufacturer's cream is the best alternative, followed by whipping cream - double cream is 48% fat, but these are only 40% and 36% respectively)
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater

1) Put all of the ingredients into the mixer bowl and using the whisk, mix rapidly until a stiff mixture.

2) This can be piped or spooned into the cake.


1) Take the cake without the meringue on top and spread the top with a thin layer of the liquid from the stewed fruit. Flip the meringue-topped layer and repeat on the bottom surface. Leave to dry for 30 min. This helps stop the fillings soak into the cake.

2) Using a piping bag or a spoon, cover both cakes with cream.

3) Using a slotted spoon, cover the non-meringue cake with pieces of cooked fruit, and add a little of the syrup.

4) Put the two halves back together so that the meringue is on the top. EASY! Decorate the top with a few more pieces of cooked fruit and a little syrup.


Lemon (or Orange)
Use the zest of a whole lemon (orange) in the cake base instead of lavender and replace the vanilla extract with lemon (orange) juice. Flavour the cream with orange flower water. In place of the fruit, use either a good lemon curd or a marmalade - my favourite fruit curd recipe is very easy to make.

Use 2 tbsp rosewater in the cake base instead of the vanilla extract and remove the lavender. Instead of cooked fruit, spread the cake with a rose petal jam - many of which are available.

Lime, Honey and Vanilla
Skip the lavender, add the zest of a lime. Replace the vanilla extract with lime juice. Add the seeds of a vanilla pod. Stir 1 tbsp honey (borage honey works well) to the cake mix just before adding to the tins. You can add honey to the cream in place of rosewater too, and you could replace the stewed fruit with lime curd, made using my favourite recipe.


  1. Yum can't wait to make this! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!!


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