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Norwegian Gold Cake with Sour Cream Ganache

These Norwegian Gold cupcakes (or cake!) with sour cream ganache frosting have been in our family since I can remember. They’re my go-to for my own birthday and that of our newly minted teenager. 🙂

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami Girl

Editor’s note: Holy moly, I first published this post on September 29, 2009 for the 5th birthday of the wonderful girl who just turned 13 yesterday. I’ve updated the photos and the recipe format but left everything else as-is. We made these yesterday, of course. Hope you love them as much as we do.


A week ago today was my 33rd birthday. I’m writing that down because already I can hardly remember. The day was relaxed and lovely. Lunch with an old friend, a little self-centered shopping, a whole lot of dinner. (Yup, I’ve tried hard to set my birthday excitement quotient at a level I can sustain until I’m 103.)

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami Girl

Dinner started with a flute of bubbly, sipped between bites of Taleggio and prosciutto on thin slices of baguette. It meandered through a truly unsustainable amount of sushi on its way to the world’s best cupcakes. These cupcakes come all the way from Norway and are made of solid gold. Okay, no, those are lies. But the recipe has shepherded our family through an average of three birthday parties a year for the past 28 years, which is more cupcakes than I’d care to count. It uses an unusual mixing method—creaming the butter with the flour for five minutes to get things started—which is everything you’ve ever heard about what not to do with cake. But the results are so spectacular that I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would bother to make any other kind of cake ever, except that maybe they don’t have this recipe. Well, now you do. And with that sort of urgency at stake, it’s about time I’ve gotten around to sharing it.

Norwegian Gold Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache | Umami GirlSo I think that in view of the food if nothing else, you’ll believe me when I say that I am trying to remember my birthday. It’s just that a lot has happened since then. A 36-hour trip to California, a fifth birthday and a lesson in the importance of sticking your neck out, to name a few highlights before I pass out for three weeks.

AllisonUp there is my gorgeous sister Allison, of Parisian coffee and poultry confusion fame. She up and joined me on my whirlwind trip to San Francisco this weekend, because she’s the kind of person who would do that for me. Probably for you, too. Also, she’s always wanted to fly to California just for dinner. The trip got off to an auspicious start from a culinary perspective when the airport security personnel asked the guy in line in front of us whether he had any electronics in his baggage.

“I have a sandwich,” he answered.

“A sandwich?” said the agent, in his best what-kind-of-terrorist-are-you voice. “Sandwiches are not electronic.”

Still, Allison reminded me upon takeoff to please stow my tray-table and turn off my sandwich.

{CLICK TO CONTINUE READING Norwegian Gold Cake with Sour Cream Ganache…}

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Sauce | Umami GirlHere’s a quick post about a dinner that seems a little bit elegant but is really no big deal: prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts (psst…stuffed with a touch of provolone) with mushrooms and marsala sauce. A quick side of sautéed spinach and a nice bottle of wine are all you need for an easy dinner party for four. Maybe a good loaf of bread if you insist, or a few potatoes. And this little number for dessert.


Prosciutto-wrapped chicken stuffed with a touch of provolone and topped with marsala mushroom sauce is elegant enough for a dinner party and easy enough for whenever you crave it.

Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Olive Oil

We adore this easy pumpkin bread recipe made with olive oil. It comes from a friend’s ancient family recipe.

Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Olive Oil | Umami GirlNothing says fall like a gorgeous slice of pumpkin bread brimming with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. How’s that for something you already knew? It feels like summer here in coastal NJ today, but tomorrow is the official first day of fall, and I’m going for it with the autumnal vibes.  (more…)

This ancient family recipe uses olive oil and a slightly unusual proportion of classic fall spices to make the most wonderful pumpkin bread.

Grilled Skirt Steak Salad and Beaujolais

Grilled Skirt Steak Salad and Beaujolais | Umami Girl

Thanks to Beaujolais Wines for sponsoring this post.

As we head into fall, I’m still going strong on the grill. It’s hard to give up the ease and playfulness of summer grilling, and thankfully there’s no need to do so just yet. But at least in my mind and heart, fall calls for a slightly more mature, thoughtful take on flavor. Skirt steak marinated in the bold Central-American-inspired flavors of lime, sherry vinegar and ancho chili feels so very right at this time of year, especially when thinly sliced over a light yet satisfying salad finished with grilled croutons.  (more…)

This easy recipe for boldly flavored, marinated grilled skirt steak salad pairs beautifully with Beaujolais. (Message for 21 and up.) #sponsored

You Have to Hear The Wailin’ Jennys “Wildflowers” Cover

The Wailin' Jennys | Umami Girl

Photo credit: outside-music.com

Do you guys know The Wailin’ Jennys? Once upon a time I fell madly in love with their recording of “The Parting Glass,” and ever since then this Canadian singer-songwriter trio has had my heart. I won’t lie, I can get a little into these things. I may have melted away an afternoon a couple years back buying the sheet music for their arrangement of that song, learning and recording all three parts and looping them because I’m not a geek of any kind. (Don’t worry, I sheepishly deleted those tracks long ago.)

You’d think that would be the pinnacle of fandom. And it was, for me. Until yesterday.  (more…)


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.