The beginning of the End, the Swedish avtackningsfika…

In Sweden we really love to socialize over a cup of coffee and some  cinnamon rolls, we call it to “fika”. Now there’s good “fika” and there’s bad “fika” and there’s a very special kind of “fika” called the “avtackningsfika” which is more or less like the last “fika” with someone.

Sounds kind of morbid right? It isn’t trust me, It’s really just a nice way to thank someone for their work in a project for instance.

During the last 2 years I’ve seen a lots of different kinds of “avtackningsfika” when project members leave the project. The one thing all those “avtackningsfika” had in common was bought cakes from bakeries. I find that to be quite impersonal so I thought it would be a great idea to share my personal recipe for a successful “avtackningsfika”.

WARNING! people from all over the world will ask you if you really baked the cake yourself, especially if you’re a married man. So be prepared with some witty remarks or just don’t continue to read this post if you can’t get used to that thought.

The Invitation

The “avtackningsfika” is a sacred event so don’t mess up your invitation and forget to invite someone (think wedding invitation). Send your invitation early enough so that people can make plans/cancel other plans to come. There’s usually an “all-project-member” email list that you can use.

The Sponge Cake

A layered cake needs a real stable sponge cake and you could certainly buy a ready made sponge cake like this one

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but for my “avtackningsfika” I baked my own sponge cake because I knew there would be a team member that’s allergic to eggs. I used this recipe (Swedish): http://www.kokaihop.se/recept/sockerkaka-utan-agg and made 1½ batch per sponge cake.

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The good stuff

For my 1st layer I just used sliced pineapple with whipped cream. A great tip is to mix rum and vanilla seeds from a dried vanilla bean into your whipped cream. That will turn your ordinary whipped cream to a really awesome whipped cream.

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For the 2nd layer I used some raspberry jam that had been in the fridge over night with a couple of tablespoons of rum (rum again you say? Well you can skip it if you want matey aarrgh). I finish of this layer with some more of my awesome whipped cream.

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For some reason I forgot to add my white chocolate to the second layer on this occasion before covering my layer cake with the ready to roll marzipan icing. But never mind, the cake will be little harder to cut if you put the white chocolate in the last layer but it will taste fine anyway.

Last but not least remember to decorate your cake with some chocolate or marzipan flowers. (You can buy those if you want)

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Presentation, your last chance to say a professional goodbye

You really can’t speak enough about how important the presentation at the “avtackningsfika” is and you should really take this last opportunity seriously. For instance I used 2 cardboard boxes to create small billboards that could hold a small message and our company’s logo.

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And look how beautiful it looks when it all comes together in the “fika” room.

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Summary

I wrote this blog post as a result of the totally insane amount of nice feedback I got after my “avtackningsfika” so my message to you is don’t be like everyone else, make a difference and bake your own cake.

You’ll feel good and you’ll make others feel good too and that really matters!

Enjoy,

Hugo

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