Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Moomin Cake

title

I’m taking a break from Greece and heading up north where the weather is cooler. Taking a mental trip to Finland where I can hang out with the Moomins and eat berries all day in their enchanting valley, where I am sure it gets nowhere near as hot as here.

Finland was my first asignment working away from home…and it was as far from home as I could get. Whereas my home city is crowded and hot, Helsinki was cool (ok, cold too!) with easily half the amount of people (in truth, the population of Finland is less than half the population on the city I live in). The air seemed so clean that I feared it might burn an icy path down my lungs (which were accustomed to somewhat "tougher" air). Everything was so different. Different from home, and even different from the other places in Europe I had visited in the past. This was the first time I step foot in Scandinavia…and I was captivated.

I think it was these very differences that quietly drew me in. I enjoyed the vastness of my new personal space, so different from what I was used to. I could walk and think, and never be disturbed. I reveled in the crystal cleanliness this place. They say you can still drink from the lakes! Is that true? The markets were filled with berries and mushrooms and salmon, and I couldn’t get enough. I was charmed by the shy smiles of the Finns…ready to give a straightforward answer but never one to hit you over your head with their opinions. Perhaps it was the only the infatuated eyes of this naive foreigner, but to me Finland sparkled like so many diamonds in the snow.

And Santa lives there…what more could one place need?

Moomins.

Moomins are the creation of Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson. The tales chronicle the adventures of a family of little Scandinavian trolls, white and rotund and furry, in Moominvalley and beyond. Primarily children’s books, they are brilliantly written, running the gamut from whimsical adventures to serious reflections on family and life (at least in adulthood retrospect). And they are just this side of absolute cute-ness. I have been a big fan since I discovered these little creatures.

The cake tin belongs to a good friend whose baby shower we held at my flat. She lent it to me to bake our Moomin cake for the shower (as you can see, Moomin has got more than one fan in this country). It was a gift from a friend of hers who lives in Finland. Isn’t it just the most adorable thing you have ever seen? Ok, he’s got a bit of holes in him (my fault) and his features are not too distinct, but I was seriously enamored!

(In case you are wondering, I used the Classic Pound Cake recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.)

(Perhaps this is the reason I love Tessa Kiros’ cookbook, Falling Cloudberries, so much. Because she has stayed in, and written about, both Finland and Greece, two countries close to my heart…and my stomach.)

(If you live in Manila, and you want to read more about the Moomins, their books are available in the children's section of Fully Booked bookstore.)

22 comments:

Pille said...

Cute!! I assume you've got a Moomin mug to accompany your Moomin cake?? Let me know, if you don't, and I can see what I can do:)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You make we want to see Finland!
Sweet Cake!!

oktomanota said...

really sweeeeeeeeeet swet cake, congratulation

christine said...

Not only was it adorable (!!), it tasted great too! Yes, I was fortunate to have had a piece of the cute little Moomin. Be jealous. ;)

katrina said...

You make Finland sound just wonderful. And that cake! Too cute! I'd never heard of Moomins till now, but they remind me of those animated hippo ballerinas in tiny pink tutus...from Fantasia, I think?

The Knittymommy said...

They look soo cute. He actually reminds me of one of the Backayardigans. I am sure that's exactly what my kids would say. And yes Christine, I am jealous.

Freya and Paul said...

What a lovely article! I loved Moomins as a child, they used to have a cartoon on TV! So cute! I also love Tessa Kiros! Very evocative book.

M.Tan said...

Adorable, baby cake, with a name like Moomin, how could you go wrong?
I remember doing a history project on Finland, land of reindeers and interesting history (it was once part of Russia!) too. Talk about unusual languages too. And the only Finn I've known in my life was a goth princess who was in my chinese class in China. I don't see her eating a moomin cake though....

valentinA said...

Oh my goodness! Moomin! I so loved that cartoon when I was a kid, & I so miss it now. THanks for bringing back this sweet memory of my childhood Joey:)
It's just CUTE!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Pille! I have a small Moomin stufftoy and coin purse, and a Little My keychain :) No mug yet though! :)

Hi Tanna! I think it's really special :) Finland that is...the cake wasn't too bad either, heehee :)

Hello Oktomanota! Thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment :)

Hi Nens! Thanks girl! :) Glad you enjoyed it :)

Hi Katrina! Some people think it's too quiet there...but sometimes quiet's good :) I just really loved it...I don't know if this makes any sense but it's a place that lets you hear your voice :) Yes, the Moomins look like hippos, but they're not...they're trolls :)

Hi Knittymommy! Isn't he just the cutest? :) Oooh, haven't heard of the Backayardigans...will have to check those out :)

Hi Freya! Nice to know they were part of your childhood...I only discovered them as an adult but I wish I had them around as a kid...expecially the books :) And I agree about Tessa and evocative...very!

Hey M! I know...they are just cute all around, including the name :) Interesting language, the street names were a challenge! I did get the chance to try reindeer though :) I don't think I got anything from Santa that year...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Valentina! I wish I had known these characters when I was a child! :) Well, now I'm a big kid I guess haha! They are absolutely adorable :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

How cute is that, Joey?? I love it!

deinin said...

Oh, if you KNEW how hard I have to resist buying that cake tin whenever I see it - and I see it A LOT. But alas I don't bake that kind of cake very often (read: at all)... my Moomin spoons are in frequent use though, because I'm five years old.

I'm so glad you enjoyed your time here - if there's anything you have a craving for that won't perish on the way, do let me know ;)

Anh said...

Lovely! Finland is close to my heart and brain since my honour thesis is on its stock market. :P I do wish one day I can travel there.

Ivonne said...

Oh, Joey!

We really must meet some day. I am completely in love with Scandinavia (even though I've never been there). The story of the Moomins is so cute. I'd love to try that cake!

I too love Tessa Kiros. I have all her books!

Midge said...

Oh, Joey: that looks so sweet! Moomin stuff is rare here in the Philippines, but most of my Japanese friends tell me that it's so popular in Japan that it's almost commonplace! (I should ask them for cake tins and lolipop molds in Moomin form!)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Patricia! Very :) Love it too!

Hi Deinin! I know what you mean about being five years old...I am thereabouts as well, heehee :) Love your spoons! And I would so not be able to resist the Moomin tin :) I really love the time I spent there...and there is something I have been craving but it is perishable...Dallaspulla! But no worries as I found a recipe and will be attempting it soon! :)

Hi Anh! Wow! That's interesting! :) And that'll make it all the more interesting if you do visit!

Hi Ivonne! I agree, that would be wonderful :) I hear ya! I love all things Scandinavian :) I even like Scandinavian pop music...another thing that grew on me, haha! I still have to get Tessa's "Twelve"...the only one I don't have...

Hi Midge! Very true! Even in Finland they would comment on how many Japanese tourists they would get in Moominland (Moomin theme park), some even having weddings there! :)

Little Foodie said...

Very cool - love the Moomins, so do the children. What a great cake. Infact you've just reminded me of a dreadful Barney cake incident which I should write about for my friends and family to remember. If you don't mind I'll link to this page so they understand why I'm writing about it.

catalyst0527 said...

Wow. What a cute cake!
Your Moomin cake makes me happy. :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Little Foodie! Nice to hear you all like the Moomins too over there :) I don't mind the link at all! And I can't wait to read about the "dreadful Barney cake incident"...ooh boy...

Hi Catalyst0527! Thanks for stopping by :) This cake makes me happy too :)

stef said...

Hey Joey! Thanks so much for telling us about the Moomins! I've never heard of them and have been looking for another fun series to read to my little one. We'll give them a try.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Stef! You're welcome! The Moomins are such a lovable bunch :) I wish I had them around when I was a kid! Hope your little ones enjoy them :)