Yogurt cake with pear and dark chocolate

By • February 9, 2011 • 83 Comments



Author Notes: This is a pretty standard yogurt cake, but inspired by another French dessert - poires belle Helene (which I grew up calling paere bel helene, and thinking it was a Norwegian dessert) - I decided to pack it with chunks of pear and dark chocolate. It's an awfully dangerous cake to have around because you can convince yourself that a slice would be appropriate for breakfast, snack or dessert - especially with a little dollop of whipped cream, of course.fiveandspice

Food52 Review: Fiveandspice's take on yogurt cake makes a great addition to any baked goods repertoire. The cake, which browns beautifully, has a moist, tender crumb, that contrasts nicely with the studs of slightly firm pear and dark chocolate. Depending on your oven, it may take a bit longer to cook than the time noted, so testing doneness with a toothpick is a must. And yes, it is awfully dangerous to have this cake around - it was gone before the end of the day. - Annie "Smalls"Annie "Smalls"

Makes 1 9-inch loaf cake

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks (good quality, please)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter. In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the yogurt. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
  2. Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
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Comments (83) Questions (1)

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6 months ago GWW

OR--plain original cake--plain coffee--w/optional dollops of
sweetened thick yogurt, perhaps mixed w/ Poire William, puree pear, or sprinkle of chopped ginger--crystallized or bits of fresh--(and skip strong cinnamon, cardamom,etc...)

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6 months ago GWW

Of course, the 'joy of 'cooking' is in experimenting, inventing--but how about letting simple be simple--enjoying flavors of basic ingredients--pears & all--(maybe 'brightened' by grated citrus) Serve it w/ coffee, ground w/ cardamom, cunnamon, clove...!!

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about 1 year ago Nikki Pryn

Thank you so much for those suggestions ladies. I am making it this pm and will try the cardamom option...I will post back!

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about 1 year ago Nikki Pryn

I would love to add a spice to this, any suggestions?

Sausage2

about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I think it would be lovely with a hint of either cardamom or cinnamon. Some ground ginger would be a good spice option, or you might even consider a pinch of nutmeg.

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about 1 year ago Rebecca Cherry

it is really decadent without it but, i would go with cardamom to maintain its sophistication or, nutmeg to add warmth. in the fall, this will be a divine dessert. if you are modifying it for summer fruits like peaches or strawberries go with cinnamon or, even basil.

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about 1 year ago chez_mere

Just made a version of this with raspberries and extra dark (80%!!) chocolate. Can't wait to cut into it...

Sausage2

about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yum. Raspberries and chocolate are always awesome together!

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over 1 year ago Nargess

I have made this cake so many times now with different variations... ABSOLUTELY AMAZING every single time.. I've done White Chocolate and Cherry, as well as Dark Chocolate and Pistachio chunks! OMG! I have pics, don't know how to add them. I am still trying to make it Gluten Free, but haven't made one that I like yet.. when I do, I will share the GF version.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Love! All of those variations sound absolutely fantastic!!!

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over 1 year ago Nargess

I would love to make this again for a friend that is Gluten Free. Can anyone please help me to make it Gluten Free? How much of what flour can I replace the all purpose flour with? Thank you.

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm afraid I don't really have any good suggestions since I'm not particularly good at gluten free baking. But, what I would do is look at a good gf baking book, and they usually have a recipe for an all-purpose gluten free flour blend somewhere near the start that gets used as the ap flour in everything. (It usually seems to involve brown rice flour, and xantham gum, and good stuff like that). If you wanted to, you could also potentially try buying a pre-mixed ap gf blend, like Thomas Keller's cup-for-cup, or I think King Arthur has a blend too.

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over 1 year ago Nargess

Thank you so much for the suggestions. I have been doing some research and I think I can blend my own GF flour and when I do and make this GF I shall report back. Wish me luck and thank you. :-)

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

there is a recipe: http://food52.com/recipes... that is GF and they just use GF AP flour

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over 1 year ago Nargess

Thank you Adele I will have a look, but I don't have GF AP flour, I do have all the different GF flours and have researched how to mix them to make my own GF AP flour. thank you :)

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Definitely report back please! I'll be so interested to hear how it goes.

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over 1 year ago Rebecca Cherry

The easiest way to do GF is to get an all purpose GF flour mix; that way your sub ratio is 1:1. Arrowhead Mills is the one i used when i made this, but i also like Pamela's and Craving Pantry. there are a ton others. for the best taste look for rice flour and/or sorghum flour based mixes. DO NOT USE garbanzo/chick pea based ones or, ones that are mostly starch based (yucky taste and consistency). Alternatively, you could look up GF baking websites and build your own mix but, that can get tricky, expensive, and time consuming.

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over 1 year ago Nargess

I promise to report back as soon as I make it, I am aiming for next week. Rebecca, Thank you. I live in London and GF AP flour is crazy expensive, but I have found an asian store that sells them all separately very reasonable price and so I am going to attempt to make my own. I will definitely keep in mind your advice about the sorghum and rice flour. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago Choco Especiarias

I just made (yesterday) a version of your cake for a family birthday, with "rocha" pear (portuguese), apples, dried apricot, fig and, of course, dark chocolate. I also used vegetable oil, instead of canola oil, and 2 Tbs of Porto wine, an mix the fruit with the batter. It was a complete success! At the end of the party, there are just crumbs... Thank you for this divine recipe!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Mmmm. Sounds fabulous!

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

they have just come out of the oven and my family are going mad over them!!! PERFECT, love the texture and the pear, i might try it with apple and white choc or mashed banana next time

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

also i used salt reduced butter instead of canola oil and there was no difference

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad to hear it!

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over 1 year ago Nargess

I made this yesterday and sub'd sour cream for the yogurt and used 2 eggs and it came out beautiful! The smell and taste of the dark chocolate against the pear, just divine. I would like to try it with pureed pear and see how it turns out. Thank you for the amazing combination and idea of this recipe. :-)

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome!

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over 1 year ago EmilyArgh

I used 1.5 pears to add some extra pear goodness, and for the 1/2 a cup of oil I used 1/4 c vegetable oil and 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil since it was what I had on hand. I don't think a full 1/2 cup of oil is necessary for this cake, so next time I make this (and I'll be making it again!) I'm thinking of cutting the oil back to 1/3 of a cup, and using a mild olive oil, or subbing it for a 1/2 cup of pureed pear.

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Love the idea of using pureed pear. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out.

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over 1 year ago Arlenebdm

I made it with a ripe Comice pear and it came out like custard. Fabulous.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome!

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over 1 year ago Rebecca Cherry

So many positive comments and deservedly so! here's what i did to this hard to mess up/easy to enjoy quick bread cake: Bosc pear (splendid), mix of butterscotch chips and extra dark chocolate chips (OMG, the butterscotch sends it over the top), homemade lactose free yogurt, fruity olive oil (one that has a sweet, lighter taste), walnut oil (because i didn't have enough olive oil), and gluten-free all purpose flour mix. the taste - absolutely amazing!!! served warm with hot chocolate hard to go wrong. the consistency - light and fluffy but, it split down the middle coming out of the pan. i would pass on to others, do what i did - especially the butterscotch chips and the oil choice; but, if using a GF mix, let it cool all the way in the pan.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Such great tips!

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over 1 year ago peggymchoe

I wondered if this makes a 9 inch loaf cake as the header says, or an 8 inch loaf cake, as step 1 in the instructions?

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh, thanks for noticing that discrepancy! I've baked it in both sizes, and it works in either. It just changes the baking time - which seems to vary a lot from oven to oven too. So, go with the toothpick test for checking to be sure it's done.

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over 1 year ago crispylikechicken

I made these in muffin-form and they were adorable and delicious =)

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Perfect!

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over 1 year ago Jazzball

If I use Greek yogurt should I add liquid?

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I think it will actually be fine if you use Greek yogurt and make no other changes.

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almost 2 years ago Davis Bliss

I consider myself a relatively inexperienced baker (crostata, some cookes, cornbreadl but this recipe sounded too good not to try. Although it took a good forty minutes longer to bbake than the recipe said, the toothpick test proved successful & I was duly rewarded for my anxiety! Thank you for a wonderful cake!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Isn't it funny how different the timing can be for different ovens?! I just had the same experience last week, actually, where the cake took almost 50 minutes longer than the recipe called for. The toothpick test is the way to go! :) So glad you enjoyed the cake!

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almost 2 years ago lexilarkin

what type of pear would you suggest using??

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I've generally used Bartlett pears that were ripe but still firm. I bet Bosc would work well too.

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almost 2 years ago Franca

Made this last night. Scrumptious!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome!!!

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almost 2 years ago TheLearningCook

I made this last night. It was so delicious. I love that it is so adaptable. Thanks for the easy recipe!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wonderful! I'm glad it turned out so well. And you're right, it's super adaptable.

Me4

almost 2 years ago TheLearningCook

Yep, tonight I am making it again but with apples and I had some mint dark chocolate so we'll see how it turns out. =)

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over 2 years ago BavarianCook

What a great recipe. I just made it and have to admit, I had to substitute a couple of things that I did not have on hand. I used vanilla Greek yogurt in place of the plain and used a sautéed apple rather than pear (thought I had a pear left but didn't). Turned out beautifully! Very moist and it has a nice crumb. The "poire belle Helene" was also one of my favorite desserts as a child! Have not seen it much on menus in the States, and seem to just forget to make it myself. Will definitely try this recipe with pear next time. Thanks so much!

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm happy you enjoyed it so much! It sounds quite lovely with your adaptations!

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over 2 years ago BavarianCook

Believe it or not, I made it again today (by special request) and once again find myself pear-less. So this time I used a can of apricot halves and voila, another delicious result. This is just soooo good!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

:)

Me

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This was amazing, 5%S. I served this with dinner tonight and it was a solid hit!! I made some changes because I was cooking it at 7000 feet above sea level, and it was just perfect. So many people wanted the recipe at the end of the night. It's my new favorite cake. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you CS! I'm absolutely thrilled you liked it. And quite impressed with your ability to bake at high altitudes! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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over 2 years ago cupcakemuffin

I really love this cake - have made it a couple of times now (it's perfect for using up plain yogurt and over-ripe pears, both of which I always seem to have too much of!) and it is SO delicious - thanks for sharing a great recipe!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! I'm glad you like it so much. And especially glad that it makes a good home for your extra pears and yogurt!

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almost 3 years ago rlouisecull

This cake is so handsome! I made it last night with fat-free yogurt, because that's what was in the house, and I baked it in a round cake pan instead of a loaf pan. The rise was less impressive in the cake pan, but still, a beautiful and delicious cake! (Also, so very glad that I followed the recommendation to not feel guilty about eating this cake for breakfast - it has been the highlight of my day so far!) Thanks for sharing!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so psyched to hear that! And, very, very happy that you threw aside any feelings of guilt and had it for breakfast. We're having company this weekend, and I think I'm putting this cake on the brunch menu!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

I made this very late last night and enjoyed some warm out of the oven and then again this morning with coffee. You are right, it was not at all difficult to convince myself that it can and should be enjoyed at any time of day. The contrast of the soft, sweet pears and dark chocolate is so good and to add the moist cake - yum. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it gingerroot! Hmmm, I wouldn't say no to a little piece right now (even though I just downed another gelato, oops!). :)

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almost 3 years ago amber2010

Is there any reason this should not be made with a stand mixer?

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Only the oil needs to be folded in by hand, or very slowly with a paddle attachment, in my experience.

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almost 3 years ago hlcadieux

Just made this with freshly picked VT Bosc pears, YUM! Reading over the recipe, I realized I forgot to add the oil, however the cake still turned out beautifully moist, so if you're out of oil, watching calories, whatever the situation may be, it can still work without it.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Interesting to know! I add the oil because it adds that extra crackle and sheen to the top crust, and for a bit of extra moistness, but it can be great to have a dessert where you can also cut back a bit!

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almost 3 years ago Brenzo

Question: does the yogurt get added with the sugar, eggs and vanilla? I didn't see a specific step for the addition of yogurt...
Thanks! Looks awesome.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh my! Yes, it does! I can't believe none of us have noticed up until now that it didn't specifically say that. Thanks for noticing!

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almost 3 years ago ctgal

A question: How firm do the pears stay after baking? My husband is not a pear fan (a character flaw, ya' think?). But he is a huge dark chocolate fan. If the pears are indistiguishable, he might like it. Would sweet apples work, to counteract the bitter chocolate taste? Advice, please. :-)

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

The pears cook to be pretty soft, but they have a distinct taste. You could try sweet apples, the flavor might not go quite as well as pears. You could also put in some type of berries, maybe?

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almost 3 years ago matilda

I have made this three times now and everybody in my family loves it! I like to make it at night time when the kids are asleep, enjoy it then and keep the rest for breakfast!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm thrilled to hear it!!!

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almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I am so glad I have a bake sale coming up! This is definitely going to get made, with a little held behind for my husband and me. Or maybe just for me :-)

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

:) !!

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almost 3 years ago lapadia

Love this cake, especially the addition of dark chocolate! PS - don't know why I missed this before

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you lapadia! And, it's surprisingly easy to miss things, with so many amazing recipes to catch your eye (including your gorgeous tart!), don't you think?

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almost 3 years ago lapadia

Yes...I SO think so! :)

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almost 3 years ago EmilyC

Oh yum! The perfect anytime-of-the day cake!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks EmilyC! I'm glad you think so!

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this, yogurt cake, pear, dark chocolate. Fantastic recipe!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you sdebrango!

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over 3 years ago Midge

Yum! If I didn't have work to do, I'd march into the kitchen right now and bake this.

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yeah, we all need to quit these darn day jobs, eh? Hehe.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Seriously, you had me at pear and dark chocolate. Add the yogurt cake and I see how it could be dangerous...I am saving and look forward to eating this for breakfast (twist my arm) soon.

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Just let me know if you need someone to give your arm just that little extra twist ;).

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Gorgeous! You know, I could so dunk this into some hot chocolate. ;)

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh holy cow! That would be amazing!