About a month ago, a friend of mine published her first recording. It is a recording including mainly pieces of music composed by Finnish composers including Oskar Merikanto, Leevi Madetoja and Ilmari Hannikainen. The name of the recording is Rauha, which means peace or in this case serenity. Last night Kaisa sent me photos from the event since I had unfortunately forgotten my camera home that evening. She is quite the amazing lady that juggles many projects at one time. The evening was an unique occasion and it was nice that we could be a part of it. It felt as if the nervous anticipation that is often a part of large project was gone and her music was relaxed and dynamic. Below is a sampler of a few pieces of Kaisa Peni’s music. She is accompanied by Ilia Kalioujnov-Salminen on the piano. Ilia plays a few solo pieces on the recording as well and the Intermezzo in the sampler is a little taste of his expressive talents.

kaisa peni and ilia kalioujnov-salminen


After the concert there was a reception and an opportunity to meet some of the people that have been working closely on the recording with Kaisa. Kaisa had asked me to make a dessert to go with coffee. I decided on Sacher squares that have a twist to them in that they are not the traditional version. Instead of using apricot marmalade, I used a homemade apple jam made with the apples from my mother-in-laws yard. Since Sacher Torte is often served with whipped cream, I thought it might get a bit tricky and maybe a little messy with a bowl of whipped cream on the side when serving a larger group. I decided to add a layer of chocolate whipped cream in the middle giving it a bit of delicate luxury. In addition to the squares I made a round gluten-free cake using the same filling as in the squares.

rauha leivos2Sacher squares

I used the chocolate cake recipe that I found from the BBC food website and have used it previously for my daughter’s birthday cake. The reason why I used it is that it cuts nicely and has a moist texture without being too heavy. *Note: the bake time is reduced to about 15-20 minutes when baking the cake in sheet form.
I doubled the recipe and baked it on two baking sheet with sides, lined with parchment paper, making for a total of two sheet cakes.


6 dl/2.5 c heavy cream, whipped
80 g/3 oz dark chocolate, melted ( I used 70%)
2.5 dl/1 c homemade apple jam or apple sauce
3 tbsp sugar

Whip the cream. Mix a few spoonfuls of the whipped cream with the melted chocolate and then pour the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Stir until combined adding sugar if needed. Spread a thin layer of apple jam on one sheet cake. Pour the entire amount of chocolate whipped cream onto the thin apple jam layer and spread until even. Place the second sheet cake on top.

Ganache icing
2 dl/0.8 c heavy cream
260 g/9 oz dark chocolate
Bring the cream to a boil (I use the microwave). Remove from heat and add in the chocolate chunks and stir until smooth. Spread a thin layer of apple preserve/jam on the top cake layer before pouring over the ganache. This will help seal in the crumbs. Pour the ganache over the cake and spread with a palette knife if necessary. Place the cake into the refrigerator and allow to set. Using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean cut the Sacher sheet cake into squares. If you would like to make this dessert well in advance, you may freeze it and then cut the cake into squares while it is still frozen.


Gluten-free Sacher torte

4 eggs
1.5 dl/0.6 c sugar
2 tbsp potato or corn starch
4 tbsp gluten free flour mix of your choice (I used Semper)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

Whip the eggs and sugar until it is a very light and fluffy foam. Sift all of the dry ingredients and fold into the batter. Spread onto a baking sheet that has been lined with a lightly greased parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 180 C/360 F for about 8 to 10 minutes or until it has gotten a little color and the sides of the parchment paper can be easily pulled from the cake. Remove from the oven. Take another piece of parchment paper and lay it flat on the table. Sprinkle with sugar and flip the hot cake on it. The sugar will prevent the cake from sticking to the paper. Now pull the parchment paper that is on the bottom of the cake away. This is best done before the cake cools, as it is then much more difficult to remove.

Using a plate or the bottom of a spring-form cut away two circles. The rest of the cake can be frozen and used when the occasion arises. Fill with the filling above but halving the amounts. Before pouring the ganache over the cake, spread with a thin layer of apple jam or preserve to help seal in the crumbs. Ice with the ganache in the above recipe, but halving this as well.

Photos from the event are by Jaakko-Pekka Ikonen. The photos of the dessert are my own.

kaisa peni ilia kalioujnov-salminen


  1. Congratulations to your friend, she has a beautiful voice and the piano accompaniment is so wonderful. Your cake also looks amazing, I love that you wrote the name of the album on each square, that must have been a lot of work. It looks totally professional.

  2. Her recorded voice was beautiful. I bet it was wonderful to listen to her live and in-person. That must have been an incredible evening and you cakes supplied the perfect note of sweetness. 🙂

  3. Absolutely delightful to listen to that small sample of your friend’s recital. She has a beautiful voice. I am not at all familiar with these composers, I am sorry to say. Our New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Director is
    Pietari Inkinen and the concert master is Vesa-Matti Leppänen. We have strong musical connections with Finland :). Your cakes look lovely. You are a wonderful friend to prepare such delicious food for the occasion.

    1. Yes, indeed you do have strong musical connections with Finland 🙂 As I’ve lived in Finland I have become more acquainted with Finnish music…and it is quite beautiful.

      1. I must correct myself, I have not walked past Ainola but his birth home in Hämeenlinna was on my route as I walked to a friend’s house several times a week. It is located in the old part of the city, only a stone’s throw away from Hämeen linna (or Häme castle) a medieval castle. Its a beautiful little city full of little parkways that bloom with tulips as spring and summer arrives.

  4. Apple and chocolate – glorious. And you’re so ingenious. Thank you for sharing your friend’s work and her voice. You’re much more than just a food blog… Sophie

  5. Congratulations to your friend! What an achievement!!! She totally deserves it. Her voice is beautiful. And thank you for this recipe. Stefano loves sacher torte and he has been asking me to make one but I didn’t know where to start from. The cake looks amazing, the whipped cream filling was a very smart idea and the name on the top of each squares was a perfect final touch.

  6. Wow, what a beautiful voice your friend has. I played this to my family during our breakfast. My little boys loved it – both have started to become interested in different kinds of music (other than rock and pop)! My husband is of Finnish descent so we really appreciated hearing some local music. That sacher torte looks absolutely magnificent and so decadent. I can just imagine how it tasted with that beautiful cream inside. I love the piped ‘Rauha’ on each.

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