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Gali has found proper cupcakes in Helsinki! 
30th-May-2010 09:05 am

I knew that there was a reason why Cafe Carusel was one of my favourite spots in Helsinki for a quiet Saturday morning read! They finally brought the cupcakes back! I already wrote about the cafe here and back then they just had the usual cakes and pulla. This time they had two kinds of cupcakes! I chose the funky dried flowers one.

Doesn't that look great? Basically it was just a small muffin with heavy cream frosting and dried flowers but honestly when is the last time you had that kind of thing? I certainly can't remember my last time...

Surprisingly enough the muffin part did not have a banana aftertaste! And there was some jam inside (see photo under the cut), I couldn't figure out the taste and I had forgotten to read the little tag in my excitement. Obviously it was rather small, like most things in Cafe Carusel. It was the size of a regular Finnish coffee cup and it cost 4 euros. Yeah, 4 euros. Then again, a small sandwich costs almost 7 euros there but you pay for the view and the awesome chairs and for 2.20 euros you get unlimited tea!

I did not get my favourite leather chair in the cafe so I chose the ones in a reclusive corner. No leather but still comfy... Would have been a good shot if only that truck hadn't been standing there blocking the boats.

I have a feeling I'll never finish this book! About a hundred more pages to go!


... and after.

I'll say something very philosophical right now: I really do believe these cupcakes scream "Finnish cupcakes". I doubt you could find this kind of cupcakes anywhere else. Let me explain myself:
- the muffin base is simple, plain vanilla, it wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfectly round, it was practical
- the jam inside was also on the practical side. There wasn't much of it but there was enough
- the frosting had enough taste and was heavy enough that you couldn't possibly want to eat two of these in a row
- there was no attempt to make the cupcake pretty with the dried flowers
- there were dried flowers and not sugary ones

And this represents Finland for me. It's about practicality (yeah, sportswear is comfy and practical, it's ok to wear it to the shop), it's about "just enough", nature before prettiness. I'm probably the only one who gets my line of thought... oh well.

Conclusion: a day later I can still feel the excitement of seeing those cupcakes. Dried flowers on a cupcake beat any of those cute sugar made ones, they actually have much more taste.

I'll definitely be going back there next Saturday (then again, I'm almost always there on Saturday mornings) and I'll keep my fingers crossed for more cupcakes!
30th-May-2010 07:44 am (UTC)
i'm intrigued at what dried flowers taste like, really. but that cupcake looks yummy, especially the frosting.

PS. suprisingly, i understood your line of thought. haha. :D
30th-May-2010 10:48 am (UTC)
I really can't explain what they taste like. For me they tasted like they're supposed to :) It's really hard to explain because I grew up with things made with flowers, from doughnuts made with real homemade rose jam to violets put on cakes. There is a specific taste, that's for sure.
30th-May-2010 09:33 am (UTC)

I totally understand your line of thought, there XD It is endlessly fascinating about the way in which everything, anything, can be Finnish in its own way. It's weird how aspects of a country come out in the strangest places...
30th-May-2010 10:49 am (UTC)
Yep, I think there is something about this Finnish culture (wouldn't be here if there wasn't!), I'll definitely miss it when I move away.
30th-May-2010 11:52 am (UTC)
Okay, can we go and eat that when I come over? Also, unlimited tea? Is that place heaven?
30th-May-2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Well, it's right there along the coast line after Kaivopuisto (I think we passed by it at one point during one of our walks) and they have a huge outside terrasse so now let's hope for some good weather (otherwise we'll just have to suffer on the comfy leather chairs inside... pfff... life is hard!)
30th-May-2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Cruel, cruel life! :D
31st-May-2010 07:20 am (UTC)
Love food that tastes, I don't know...substantial?

I just remembered, this reminds me of a story I saw on Sept à huit (which I am embarrassed to admit I watch regularly) the other day about a bakery trying to import American-style decorative cakes to France. These cakes are about 40-60% icing moulded into elaborate designs of flowers, footballs, wedding gazebos, and just about anything else you could think of to help identify an occasion.

The bakers commented that most French people seemed to think that the cakes were inedible and for display only. This reaction makes the most sense to me. At some point, it becomes ridiculous to bother making food look "pretty" (esp. with that incredible amount of sugar, which necessarily overpowers everything else). The customers interviewed described the cakes as "lighter" and more addicting than their French counterparts. They found themselves ordering cakes every week and one even complained about putting on weight as a result.

31st-May-2010 08:15 am (UTC)
Oh absolutely! I always envy those neat little cupcakes that look like they're plastic but I wouldn't really want to eat them! I prefer the ones with a tad of frosting on top and some stuff thrown on that, kind of like that cupcake I ate.

I totally understand why French people wouldn't want those. It's like with fruit, I much prefered back in the day getting up at 6am to go to the local market in Toulon to buy fruit that had some dents but real taste than the supermarket where everything is perfect. I guess cakes are the same... but I wonder what makes them seem lighter. Maybe they use less "real" ingredients (like good old butter and full fat milk). I'm quite fond of good old traditional French desserts/cakes. Un bon gâteau breton! Ah! There is really nothing like it, you can't eat more than two slices! Or those cakes we always buy in the Alps when we go skiing... those are amazing and they're not pretty at all and no one tries to make them pretty!

What fascinates me about Finland though is that they also usually prefer practicality over beauty but the cakes you see in the bakeries are amazing! Real fruit put nicely and the colours perfectly coordinated and all... and yet, almost no cupcakes!
31st-May-2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
That's a perfect analyzis of Finnish-ness :) I quite like it :P
1st-Jun-2010 11:20 am (UTC)
Thanks :)
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