Bébé Cakes ‒ Hiekkahentuset

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #5: Finland is the only country in the world that has made coffee breaks mandatory at workplaces. Though actually drinking coffee isn't mandatory, most workplaces offer free coffee to workers and you can have as much as you like.

When I ate pink bébés as a kid there was some retro feel about them. But they're surprisingly old cakes. And as with most old recipes, newer versions are full of non-vegan ingredients, but if you go far enough, you'll find recipes that don't need any special veganizing. Such is with this one, found from a 100 year old personal recipe collection.

Hiekkahentunen is the crust part of this recipe, reminding of small sand cakes. You can use them alone and fill with anything you like from fresh berries to many kinds of foams. Together with the filling and icing they become French babies which Svensson bakery in Vaasa prepared in the early 20th century. To me, they're most of all an exercise of how different forms you can get from sugar and fat. From this amount, I got 18 cakes.

- 212 g margarine
- 160 g sugar
- 400 g wheat flour

- 75 g margarine
- 150 g sugar
- 1 dl whippable vegetable cream
- vanilla powder

- 2 tbsp water
- 0.5 tbsp white vinegar
- 3‒4 dl icing sugar
- sprinkles

Froth the crust margarine. Beat in the sugar and the flour. Press them carefully into small cake molds. Try to achieve thin but smooth layers. It may be helpful to flour your fingers once in a while. Bake in a 175°C oven for about 15 minutes or just enough to get some colour. Let the crusts cold down a bit before digging them out from their molds.

Melt the filling margarine and froth together with the sugar. Spice with vanilla. Whip the cream and mix in with the rest. Scoop the filling into the hiekkahentunens. See they're cool before adding the icing.

Prepare the icing simply by mixing all the ingredients. Rub even and shiny. Quickly spread on the cakes with a knife before it hardens too much. Quite often bébés are also decorated with sprinkles.

Keep the cakes in cold until serving.

Nutritional values / 1 bébé / 75 g:
energy 308 kcal
fat 13 g
protein 3 g
carbohydrates 45 g
fiber 1 g 


  1. Those are so cute and I love the idea of mandatory coffee breaks - especially if there'll be cake!

    1. I've actually worked in an office with free pullas to go with the coffee!

  2. What cute little cakes! I love the mandatory coffee breaks too - at my work we are offered two ten minute breaks a day, but often I don't get the opportunity to take them. We are provided with a coffee machine to make our own coffees though which is nice - better than the old instant coffee!

    1. That sounds like a really hectic job. Hope you manage to get some kind of breaks though!

  3. I still haven't found a margarine that doesn't taste like gazoline, so I would make the pastry with coconut oil and the filling as baked custard - it's not really a bébé, but in my mind it's not a real bébé without the butter anyway, so a vegan custard tartlet with sugar icing would be close enough - and taste better than the margarine cream filling. Which to me sounds absolutely awful. One could also use cashew butter to enrich the custard... cashews have a sort of buttery taste.

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