Monday, November 26, 2012

Mini Skyr and Birch Liqueur Cakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

As you can see, I continue to obsess over all things Icelandic after our recent vacation. First it was Icelandic lamb, and now it's skyr, the Icelandic yogurt that is technically a cheese. (Truth be told, I have been eating the stuff for breakfast since long before our trip. It's a bit like Greek yogurt, but creamier.)

Here I've substituted vanilla skyr for yogurt in a Trixified version of yogurt cake. I also included a splash of Birkir, an Icelandic birch liqueur with a distinctive, almost resin-like taste. It imparted a very subtle "What's that?" kind of quality to my mini cakes - if you can't get your hands on any, substitute a pine liqueur. I used Madagascar vanilla bean in both the cake batter and the frosting, and threw in some coffee extract to give the frosting a little oomph.

I brought these to Thanksgiving dinner, hence the decoration, though I must say those autumn leaves look a bit too much like funfetti for my taste.  I also discovered the hard way the Zip Loc bags with expanding bottoms do not work as pastry bags, and so my frosting job looks a bit on the ragged side. Despite their somewhat bedraggled look, however, my sister in law declared that they tasted "sophisticated," and so I will call this experiment a success.

Mini Skyr Cakes with Birch Liqueur and Coffee Vanilla Buttercream
makes 24 - 30 mini cakes

For the cake:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup vanilla skyr
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean
1 tablespoon Birkir or pine liqueur
2 cups unbleached cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Birkir or pine liqueur

In a bowl, combine the eggs, skyr, sugar, canola oil, vanilla bean, and liqueur. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet. When just combined, spoon into lined mini muffin cups, filling halfway. Bake at 350 F for 15 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then allow to cool completely on a rack. 

For the frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean
1 tablespoon coffee extract
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and coffee extract and whip until fluffy and spreadable. 

Frost as desired. 

While I loved the coffee in the frosting, I thought it made the cakes a bit too sweet overall - I actually enjoyed the cakes solo. I suspect those of you with a bigger sweet tooth will disagree, so frost away!





17 comments:

  1. Oh damn. I just went on a bender and drank the last of my Birkir. I hate it when that happens. But seriously, these flavors actually sound striking to me and I bet they are quite great together. Lucky for you to have an adventurous group with which to share it with. My thanksgiving was rather 'by the book'.

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  2. This really was delicious. I've been on an unhealthy two-mini-leftover-cupcakes-per-day diet ever since you guys left.

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  3. Wow - a Trix-cake :-)
    The flavors do sound striking - I am sure they were amazing. (P.S. I just did the same thing with those goofy bags - those darn pleated bottoms...)

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  4. These cakes sound amazing! Is Birkir liqueur available in US? I am collecting everything with birch for a holiday gift basket :)

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    1. Natasha I haven't seen it, but I think Firenze Pine Liqueur might be a good sub? I have seen it in our area.

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    2. ah too bad - for this particular project collecting all birch stuff. I found a birch flavored vodka online but no delivery either to VA or MD, and didn't find it in stores in NoVa. I am hoping you post more about your Iceland trip - Iceland is #1 on my travel wish list right now :)

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  5. I have know about the yogurt in Iceland for 10 years...10 years I hope one day to try it I heard it is phenomenal. Now to add to my list is the Birkir. Love these cupcakes and the leaves are adorable

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  6. Nice one never had this kind of liqueur not sure it would make it to a cake form!

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  7. lovely recipes and these mini beauties looks swell; seasons greetings

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  8. I can understand why you ate skyr so much - I did the same when I visited Iceland. But where are you finding it for inclusion in this recipe? I have never seen it for sale outside of Iceland. I can find quark and kefir, but never skyr.

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    1. Hi Ann - I am getting it at Whole Foods. MS Iceland dairies distributes skyr and Smjor (butter) there. ... There is also a company called Siggi's that makes it, though it's not Icelandic.

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  9. now I am gonna go find me some of this yogurt, I have seen the butter here in Mobile... birch & pine liqueur? another 'never-heard-of-such' you are bringing to us - great recipe - you always bring back so much wealth

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  10. Looks like a fun baking project, sounds like you've been adventuring and bringing home some unique ideas-thank goodness for Whole Foods!

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  11. I love your combination of flavors here. I'm one with a sweet tooth so opting for the coffee extract version.

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  12. You know I have a crazy sweet tooth so I am about to make your frosting and slather it over every damn thing! Including sliced bread. LOVE IT!

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  13. Yummy and so pretty too Trixie:) I'm not a huge fan of frosting so I would also love to taste the cakes on their own first. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

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  14. Hi Trixie,
    Just stopping by to say thanks for being a part of the YBR, have a great week! :)

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