Updated: Nov 21
Last week I stumbled open an unusual brunost, Norwegian brown cheese (if brunost isn't' unusual enough on it's own!). It was flavoured with pepperkake (gingerbread) and it gave me an idea to incorporate two of my favourite flavours into one cake.
Brunost is a uniquely Norwegian product. It's often called brown cheese because of it's rich brown colour, but it's actually made from whey (the by product of cheesemaking) that has been cooked and cooked until it caramelises. It has a strange texture that is reminiscent of cheese but stickier and firmer with a denseness that can stick to the roof of your mouth. The rich flavour is very similar to caramel. In Norway it's frequently eaten sliced on bread with a glass of milk, but it's also very popular in sauces, stews and cakes. I love experimenting with it and making the most of it's versatile nature.
One of the things I love about brunost is the length of time it keeps in the fridge and if you find yourself unable to eat it all at once it freezes incredibly well. There are always times though when you discover a piece that has somehow been left uncovered and is looking a little dried out and that is when it's great to have a repertoire of recipes that utilise brunost whether it's fresh out of the packet or not.
My recipe combines brunost with ginger for a slightly spicy but deliciously decadent, caramelised cake. The icing sets nicely, almost like a fondant icing, which it great in a "matpakke" (lunchbox), or when you are out for a hike or a day trip.
Classic Gingercake with Brunost
175g / 6 oz plain, all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
110g / 4 oz brown cheese
100g / 3 1/2 oz butter
100g / 3 1/2 oz sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
Icing sugar / Powdered sugar
Brown cheese (Norwegian brunost, or you can substitute caramel chips)
Preheat the oven to 165C/330F
Grease and base line a 2lb loaf tin.
Sift together the flour, ground ginger and baking powder. Cut the brunost into small cubes and toss in the flour. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and slightly fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well between each. If you find that your mixture is curdling add a spoonful of the flour mix. Fold in the flour and brunost mix and gradually add the milk. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes until it rebounds to a light touch or a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool for a few minutes in the tin before running a palette knife around the inside and turning out to cool on a wire rack.
Whilst you wait for the cake to cool, you can make the icing. In a small pan melt some cubes of brunost with a little splash of milk. Once melted add enough icing sugar to make a nice smooth, shiny icing. Drizzle over the cake and let it set for a couple of hours. Enjoy in thick slices with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.
Vær så god!
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