Door County was settled by Swedes who came to this county and found that its rugged terrain, thick forests and deep waters reminded them of their homeland. They saw Door County as the land of opportunity and soon were building log cabins, planting orchards on the fertile but thin soil and raising cattle and goats to make some of the best cheeses in the Midwest. They brought courage, fortitude and a hard work attitude with them, carrying family recipes in their hand painted trunks. Swedish meatballs, lutefisk and cardamom bread were staples then as well as now as today's Door County cheese makers are winning national and regional awards for their fine cheeses. So as this Valentine's Day approaches, I thought I would honor our Door County heritage by baking little cardamom cakes filled with Swedish Lingonberries and topped with a light cream cheese frosting. I used my ever inspiring Pipka Fillable Cupcake Pan to spoon a heaping spoonful of Al Johnson's famous lingonberry sauce in each cavity, thus giving each bite a taste of cardamom cake, lingonberry and sweet creamy frosting. I think this is the perfect Valentine Cupcake to share with those you love.
We have a world famous restaurant in our little village of Sister Bay, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant, a charming place where goats graze peacefully on its grassy roof. Al Johnson's is famous for their Swedish Pancakes (that will hold you in the tractor seat all day), as well as being the largest importer of Swedish lingonberries in the country. The lingonberry is the size of a cranberry, it is tart, used in jams, syrups and sometimes pickled. I headed to the restaurant to buy a big jar then hurried home to start baking my new creation. I didn't want the juice of the lingonberries to seep through the cupcakes, making the cupcakes soggy, so I cooked the lingonberries and added just enough cornstarch to thicken the sauce up a bit, then placed the sauce in the fridge to cool while I baked my cupcakes.
As you can see, I added lots of the lingonberry sauce so it slightly over overlaps the cupcakes because once I tasted the sauce, it was so delicious I knew I had to use lots of it in my cupcakes. The cupcake recipe is quite simple...it's my every present Almond Cake recipe but instead of Pipka Almond Extract I substituted Pipka Vanilla Extract and added Cardamom powder to the batter. The result was a firm but light cake with tart berries, a nutty flavor and sweet frosting for a delicious Valentine treat
You can also make these cupcakes in a lined cupcake tin. Scoop out a hole with a melon ball scooper, then fill with the lingonberry sauce (you won't be able to get quite as much fillling into each cupcake but it's still very tasty) and frost with the cream cheese frosting. I added crystal sugar sprinkles on top for a festive look.
No matter what your nationality, I hope you and your family enjoy this pretty and delicious Valentine dessert!
Cupcakes: Generously butter and flower Pipka's Fillable Cupcake Pan. Heat oven to 350. Have your ingredients at room temperature by setting them out 30 minutes before assembling.
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Pipka Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder
1 stick unsalted Land O Lakes butter, melted and cooled
Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to fill cupcake pan with batter. Fill just to cover the inverted cavity. Then with a spoon, push the edges around the inverted cavity down to avoid any bubbles in the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (be sure to test on the side of the cupcake). Place on a cooling rack, cool for 6 minutes, invert and let the cakes cool completely before filling.
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch stirred into 1 Tablespoon cold water
Heat the lingonberry sauce in a small pan until hot and bubbly. Add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until incorporated into the sauce. Cook and stir a few moments longer until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and place the sauce in a small glass dish. Cover the top of the sauce with saran wrap and place in the fridge to cool. Fill the cooked cupcakes with a heaping teaspoon full of sauce.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature
4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 teaspoon Pipka Vanilla Extract
Beat until fluffy and creamy.
Slowly add 2 cups powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons milk.
Add more sugar and milk and continue beating until you have a fluffy but firm consistency for piping.
Fill a disposable piping bag fitted with the a large star tip and frost each cupcake. Chill cupcakes but remove from fridge before serving so they are at room temperature.
* Left over lingonberry sauce is delicious over yogurt, ice cream or on top of pancakes or waffles.
* Pipka extracts are gourmet quality with full, rich flavors that up the game for anything you bake.
* Be sure to butter the pan well, dust generously with flour, then gently shake off excess.