In this week’s episode of Worth-Your-While-Wednesdays, I present to you an excellent food blog. Eesti Toit, or ‘Estonian Cuisine’ is a blog run by the lovely Ruta and I highly recommend you check it out!
I came across Ruta’s blog in early autumn, when I needed to use up some leftover quark in the fridge. A big ‘food thing’ of mine is to have a mental checklist of anything in the fridge that may need using up. Not only does this reduce waste (for financial and environmental yays), but I have found it to be an excellent way to push me into expanding my recipe repertoire. Indeed, it was as I manically typed ‘quark baking’ into google, foodgawker, and pinterest (you name it, and I was searching on it), that a photo of ‘Berry Cake by Siiri’ caught my *very picky* eye. And who can blame me when Ruta’s food photography is this good?
Whenever* I go on long recipe-search binges on t’internet, I tend to be most drawn to recipes that have some things in common. It took me a while to be able to identify what these things were, but Ruta’s recipe appealed to all my subconscious biases…
- Simplicity. I am a busy woman. I haven’t got the time to source obscure ingredients or use 6 unnecessary bowels for one cake.
- Modesty. I am a cake everyday kind of a person. Recipes with unholy amounts of sugar and butter are, of course, greeted with open arms when the occasion suits – no one appreciates the richest and the squidgiest the baking world has to offer more than I – but there is a time and a place for such luxuries. What I want for my everyday is sustainability; I want a recipe that allows me to have my cake and eat it too.
- Seasonal. I’ve already mentioned how much I dislike throwing foods away and this philosophy extends to nature’s foods. That sounds a bit hippy-dippy. What I mean is that if I see a lot of blackberries when I’m out and about, just chilling all juicy and free-to-take on the hedges, Im inclined to want to use them.
- Eastern European. I associate all good food with my grandma, who is Czech. As a formidably talented home cook and big believer in all things delicious, she represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved in any home kitchen- including my own. Thus, any recipe that reminds me of her is instantly elevated to ‘must make’ status in my brain.
- Beauty. Yes, I am vain and my vanity extends to my cakes. I have nothing more to say.
*I’ve used the word ‘whenever’ a tad inaccurately here. What I actually mean by ‘whenever’ is ‘always’; I am in a constant state of recipe-search binge. For those interested, I am currently thigh-deep in a search for sourdough starter discard recipes (try saying that after a few pints). I recommend you read this by way of explanation.
Back to Eesti Toit. No sooner had I been endeared by Ruta’s ‘About’ page (no, really, you must check it out), than I was out in the hedgerow, feeling ever so quaint and Milly-Molly-Mandy esque, collecting wild blackberries in some tupperware for my version of her berry cake. Here was the result:
As ever, and because we are all different, I have added some extra notes to Ruta’s recipe, which is now stored in my ‘Favourite Recipes’ google doc:
- Like many cakes on the moister end of the spectrum, this was so much better on the second day. An improvement on an already Very Good Thing.
- When I make this cake this again, I intend to add some lemon zest to the cake batter for three main reasons: 1) I am of the opinion that there are very few non-chocolate bakes that won’t be improved with a hint of lemon. 2) Specifically in this case, lemon zest and the light creaminess of the cake batter – which is almost like a cheesecake – would be a match made in heaven. And finally, 3) the tartness of the lemon would be sure to highlight the sweetness of the blackberries (for the same kind of reasons why salted caramel is so darn delicious).
- My fan oven seemed to dry out the top of the cake, which made my blackberries look a bit shrivelled and matte. To achieve a ‘natural dewy glow’ – sought after by beauty bloggers and fruit bakers alike- I brushed the top of this cake with honey that had been loosened to a liquid in the microwave.
Esti Toit has so many other delicious-looking recipes that, if you a foodie of any description whatsoever, you must hit that follow button! Furthermore, the premise of Ruta’s blog really is too endearing not to be mentioned in more detail: Ruta set up Eesti Toit as a way to share traditional Estonian recipes with her daughter, who lives abroad and misses her mum’s cooking. Adorable. For the icing (sugar) on the cake, Ruta also provides fun facts about Estonia alongside all her recipes.
Thank you, Ruta, for providing me with a gem of a berry cake in amongst the inexplicably large number of slimming world quark recipes; Esti Toit was definitely worth my while again this Wednesday.
That’s all folks. Remember to tune in for the next episode of the Hope Opera!