Themes and variations on Fika favorites – Du Nord’s Frieda Liqueur and Glögg Cake

Glögg Cake and Quick Biscotti Recipe

A cup of coffee and a slice of almond cake. For generations of Scandinavians and their North American brethren, this has been a recipe for enjoying a little break and the company of family, friends, or co-workers. The time spent is usually short and the conversation ordinary, but the ritual and the bonds it strengthens are treasured.

This time-tested ritual can be refashioned into a longer, more leisurely gathering. Distillers Chris and Shanelle Montana of Du Nord Social Spirits and cookbook authors Vicki and Art Sorenson have developed variations on coffee and almond cake. Their creations were inspired by people important in their lives. We’d like to suggest taking a moment to use the recipes below, then invite the people who are important in your life to come and share. We think you may want to linger a bit longer over Du Nord’s Hot White Russian and the Sorenson’s Glögg Cake.

The founders of Du Nord Social Spirits, Chris and Shanelle Montana, decided the world was in need of a coffee liqueur that actually tasted like coffee. Using cold-press from fellow south Minneapolis business, Peace Coffee, they created “Frieda”, a liqueur which has the nose of coffee, the palate of orange, plum and raisin and the finish of chicory, a peppery and pleasantly bitter flavor. (Author’s note: I’d like to extend my thanks to the Du Nord team for giving me the language to describe the flavor. Describing liqueurs is an art unto itself.)

Chris and Shanelle Montana, founders of Du Nord Social Spirits. Photo credit: A. Blanke Photography

The liqueur is dedicated to all teachers and mentors who have had an impact on a young person’s life, but it was named for a particular theater teacher at South High in Minneapolis. “Frieda” is the nickname of a beloved instructor who values all her students and whose approach to teaching sends the clear message that everyone has a place at the table.

This message resonated with Chris Montana. As a Black teen, he had had experiences of not always being welcome in places where he had hoped to be included. He took the opportunity to honor Frieda and all teachers like her through the naming of the liqueur. And in recognition that sometimes teachers need a good, stiff drink, Du Nord’s Cocktail Room offers a discount to educators. (Though the Cocktail Room is not currently open, the staff at Du Nord looks forward to seeing people as soon as they safely can.)

 

Jennifer Pennington at Du Nord suggests the following Frieda recipe for all people, whether or not they are in front of a classroom.

Hot White Russian

To make one Hot White Russian, combine the following into a small saucepan:

  • 4 oz hot coffee, freshly brewed (we suggest Biking Viking, roasted for us by Peace Coffee)
  • 2 oz Cafe Frieda coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz Foundation Vodka
  • 1.5 oz half and half

Stir while on medium heat until it is warm (not hot), then pour into a mug. Top with whipped cream then lightly sprinkle the top with nutmeg or cinnamon. Enjoy!

And now the cake…

Vicki and Art Sorenson have made riffing on almonds cakes a vocation. They started creating the recipes in 2010 when their son was getting married. Their son and his fiancé wanted to keep wedding expenses low, so the Sorensons offered to bake a dessert bar for the reception. “We kind of went crazy,” says Vicki, “We’re either inspired or rabid.” Their inspiration led to publishing two cookbooks, filled with sweet and savory variations, all baked in the signature almond cake pan.

Vicki learned baking from her mother, who was also her 4-H leader. “That was a blessing and a curse,” she says. “I would be baking at 2 in the morning before the 4-H fair because the loaf of bread I made earlier wasn’t quite right and my mother wouldn’t let me put something like that in the fair,” she recalls. The desire to get something just right shows in the Beyond Almond and Way Beyond Almond cookbooks. The recipes are reliable and consistent. And delicious, too.

All of the recipes in the book, including the one below, freeze well and are easily doubled. The cake slices can be toasted, making them biscotti-like and caramelizing the edges. The toasting part is more art than science. The printable .pdf says to set the oven at 250 degree (this writer’s choice) and turn the slices over every ten minutes until the desired dryness is reached. Less patient people (like several members of the test-baking team) choose to crisp theirs at 300 and 350 degrees. So, gentle reader, the temperature for the biscotti portion is your choice.

Glögg Cake and Quick Biscotti

First, the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray the almond cake baking pan with Baker’s Joy

In a mixing bowl, beat together:

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup bottled glögg

Add:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter.

Mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Test the middle of the cake with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean and the edges are golden brown, the cake is done.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Turn out on a cooling rack.

If you want to serve this as a cake, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Now, the quick biscotti:

Let the cake cool completely. Slice it along the ridges. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment and place the cake slices on it.

After 7 to 10 minutes, turn the slices over. Bake until you reach the desired crispness. The more moisture that is baked out of the cake slices, the longer they will keep. The cake-biscotti are more fragile than traditional biscotti. Carefully layer them, laying flat, in an airtight container for storage.

Adapted from Beyond Almond by Art and Vicki Sorenson (2012)

And now, the final variation – bake a glögg cake, break out the Frieda, invite some friends over and make that coffee break last a few hours.

A word about the Du Nord Foundation

The Du Nord warehouse suffered major damage in the summer of 2020, as did many other small, family-owned businesses. The Montanas reflected on how best to help rebuild more than just businesses. In their words, “Formalizing our efforts in June 2020, the Du Nord Foundation was founded to address racial inequities in the Twin Cities by focusing on three core tenets: providing stability through disaster, supporting business ownership and economic prosperity, and investing in rebuilding the community through intentional and innovative business development—all with an eye towards economic justice.”  To learn more about the Foundation and how to contribute, please visit www.dunordfoundation.org.

Ingebretsen’s is grateful to have reached our 100th year. We wish that same success to our south Minneapolis neighbors and associates, Du Nord Social Spirits and Peace Coffee.