The little moments in my Kitchen

This week the children have been on ski break. In Finland it is not called spring break but rather ski break. The landscape is a lovely clean white and it has been crisply cold. Cold enough to make the starting of cars require a few tricks. I always love this time of year. The sun comes out in full force so that it almost hurts your eyes as it reflects off the snow and the entryway stays quite free from sand and dirt as the driveway and roads are completely white from the packed snow.

My husband had made plans to take five of the children to his parents’ summerplace. It’s on a beautiful peninsula with a cabin set back just a bit from the lake so when you are in a boat farther from ashore, you might not even notice it. It actually is a thing here. To situate your summer cabin so that it does not break the natural wilderness beauty of the shore. To be truthful, the cabin is really intended only for summer use. There is no running water and only a few years ago was electricity put in. There is a fireplace but it would have meant that the kids must be in all there wool gear even if inside. The temperature outside was often -23 C during the night and -16 C during the day. The kids were not phased at all. They all jumped around in joy waiting for the trip. I was to remain home with the youngest and the oldest ones. I recently had an operation on my varicose veins and ended up having a bit of a complication after that, meaning that sitting in a car for many hours is not helpful. I was also looking forward to a few days of peace and quiet and we had made some plans with our oldest to do some fun girl things close to home. But sometimes plans decide to change without asking for our permission. The day before their big excursion one of our boys woke up with a temperature and another had such a bad stomach ache we ended up in the emergency room and she had to have pain medication through IV since nothing would stay down. I of course, thought that perhaps it was her appendix even if the pain wasn’t quite in the right place. Fortunately they did an ultrasound and an explanation for the pain came apparent. It was the inflammation of the lymph nodes around the intestines or mesenteric lymphadentis. We actually had been heading for the hospital that day for some blood week. She has had on and off stomach aches for a couple of months. But instead of going to the laboratory we headed to the ER. Perhaps this is the reason for those stomnach aches or then it is something altogether different. We had a young doctor take care of us and it was the first time she had come upon it, but fortunately there were more experienced doctors that she consulted. Have any of you experienced anything of this sort before?So instead of a major trip we have filled our ski break with little moments as both of the kids are doing much better now. In the beginning of the week they were sleeping over at friends’ houses or they invited them in turn to our house. And as usual, they kids often reserve turns to bake. Erik here is baking carrot cake muffins and a carrot cake which were quite delicious. The cake is so perfectly moist and is actually better the next day.

World’s best Carrot cake muffins (or a delicious carrot cake)

This cake is so very easy and the result is perfect every time. The recipe makes a cake that serves 16 or 12 small muffins and small cake. This recipe works fine with gluten free flour. If making the gluten free version, the muffins are easier to work with.

4 eggs (they whip best if kept at room temperature)
2 and 1/4 dl/ 1 c sugar
2 and 1/4 dl/ 1 c brown sugar
3 dl / 1 and 1/2 c vegetable oil (olive oil works as well)
2 tsp vanilla sugar/extract
2 and 1/4 dl/ 1 c spelt flour
2 annd 1/2 dl/ generous 1 cup bread flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
7 dl/ 3 c or 280 g/10 oz. shredded carrots
1 dl/ 1/2 c apple sauce
(optional 100 g /3.5 oz pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped)

Mix the dry ingredients. Whip the eggs and sugar until a thick foam. Take turns folding in the oil and dry ingredients a third at a time. Carefully fold in the apple sauce, grated carrots and chopped nuts. Bake in an oven heated to 175 C or 350 F. If making muffins or the small cake the bake time about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If making one large cake, the bake time is about 45-55 minutes depending on your oven. Allow to cool.

Cream cheese frosting

The idea with this frosting is that it can be applied very generously. In fact if you are making the cake, the layer of frosting can be about as thick as the cake itself. It is not very sweet so it does not become overpowering at all. In fact it is very delicious.

400 g / 14 oz cream cheese
250 g / 9 oz quark (or sour cream)
2 dl/ 1 c heavy whipping cream
6 tbsp sugar
juice of one lemon (about 52 g)

Whip the cream until it has reached a thick consistency. Fold in the quark and cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar. Frost the cake and muffins and keep chilled in the refrigerator.



In my kitchen we have been enjoying the small little moments when life throws a curveball in the mix. And it was a good ski break afterall. Complete with a visit to the local cafe and a day excursion to Sealife in Helsinki with the children.


This post is a part of In My Kitchen hosted by the lovely Sherry from Sherry’s Pickings. Stop by her blog for the opportunity to peek into kitchens from around the world.


  1. Very classic carrot cake! Your frosting would be quite a lot softer than what I am familiar with, but looks delicious!

    I hope all the children are soon in good health again! You too!

    best… mae at

    1. Thank you Mae! The quark in the frosting gives it just a bit of sourness, but it is not too much as the cream really rounds out the flavor along with the sugar as well and is a good pair with the sweet cake.
      The children are feeling much better and they are all playing outside now on the lake. Some friends brought over snowmobiles and motorcycles etc and they are giving them rides, much to their delight!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I hope you are all on the mend. Was there a cause and a cure for the lymphadentis or is it something that just comes and goes and they treat the symptoms? So many things are like that. I love carrot cake and we even had it as our wedding cake all those years ago. The topping on yours looks amazing and I must try it, but first I have to figure out how to make a grain free carrot cake!! Can’t eat any grains these days so am having to go back to square one with all my baking recipes. Some work with alternative flours and some don’t. Take care Laila. x

    1. I believe that we all are on the mend. But we do need to get to the bottom of the lymphadentis. Apparently it should be something that goes away on it’s own and we just medicate for the pain. But she has been having stomach aches for a couple of months which may or may not be related. Hoping to find some answers.
      Would love to hear if you figure out a way to bake a grain-free carrot cake…would almond or coconut flour work? I know that the consistency would be completely different but it could be quite delicious. All the best to you, Ardys ❤

  3. So your holiday was a success after all…YES! Sometimes the best is the unplanned. Keep on getting well, get those legs up a few times a day. Love carrot cake. I think I’ve even seen Spelt at the market lately. Maybe get Grampa to work in the kitchen. Pictures are always special.
    Love, Gramma

    1. So happy that we were able to do quite a few fun little things, even if the kids were initially so disappointed…especially Lilja. The carrot cake can be make with regular flour as well. But this recipe works well even with more whole-grain flour mixes and I like the flavor it gives since it is not trying to be a Lady Baltimore style cake. 🙂 Many hugs to you both ❤

  4. hi Laila
    how wonderful to see you here in IMK land. thanks so much for joining in. i love the look of that frosting. i fully agree- the frosting should be the same height as the cake:) nice to see you all had a lovely ski break. it is still hot and humid and sticky here in brisbane even tho it is officially autumn. enjoy the snow! cheers sherry x

    1. Hi Sherry! Although I love this time of year here in Finland when the sun comes out of hibernation and everything is so white…but what I wouldn’t do for a week of warmth and sun…just lovely! Enjoy your lovely autumn!

  5. I am glad everything turned out for the best. And I hope you are getting time to rest your legs. 🙂 I don’t know anything about mesenteric lymphadentis but
    I do know abdominal pain is excruciating. I hope your daughter is feeling better.

    1. I am too, Gallivanta! And my legs are doing so much better now…almost back to normal. 🙂 And my daughter is also feeling better and we have been visiting a doctor to get to the bottom of things. Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

  6. I hope you and the children are recovering, what a frightening thing for your daughter to end up in the ER. And thank goodness the more experienced doctors could accurately diagnose her illness. Lovely pictures of the snow but burrr…not sure I would enjoy the cabin without running warm water in the winter. You are made of sterner stuff!

    1. Hi Liz! We are fortunately all doing much better. I’m not sure that the idea of a cabin without heat and running water in the winter is quite my favorite either! The wool gear would definitely get a lot of use.

  7. There is something very lovely about all that pristine snow (it is hideously humid and hot where I am at the moment). I applaud your viewpoint that cake should = icing height. Genius! Thank you for sharing

    1. I love the pristine snow as well…it makes everything look so clean and yesterday we had another snow storm and a whole load of new snow. Thanks for stopping by Lisa 🙂

  8. Ski Break must be similar to our Spring Break (which I am carefully counting down to). Beautiful pictures and scrumptious recipe.

    1. Yes, it basically is spring break. The only difference is that the schools attempt to schedule it so that everyone would have a chance to do ski and other winter outdoor sports. 🙂 Happy spring break to you!

  9. I’m sure that even though the trip didn’t come about, the children still managed to have a good time once they felt better. Carrot cake muffins was a good choice to put a smile on everyone’s face.

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