Sweden is fattening me up. Ever since my first winter here, when in autumn nature dims the lights, my body starts demanding more food and I put up a couple of kilos. Then in the spring it’s all about getting rid of that winter fat. I must admit that I succeed pretty well at that, and the fact that in the spring I start biking everywhere again certainly helps. What does not help is the amount of delicious cakes and the overall fika culture that Sweden boasts.
I have already written about fika and the Swedish cinnamon buns, and even about innocent blueberry pies when blueberries are in season, but I have never really explored the decadent world of Swedish cakes. Swedish cakes make you fat only by looking at them. Still unconvinced? Let me introduce kladdkaka.Kladdkaka, also known as the Swedish gooey cake, or Swedish messy cake, when untouched appears as a relatively harmless low chocolatey cake. Cut out a slice, and you will see its full potential and dangerous charm. Kladdkaka is so gooey it’s almost liquid. To me it could as well classify as a pudding, and I’m not one hundred percent sure it can be taken onboard a plane for this reason. It’s definitely a cake you can’t say no to.
- 100 g butter
- 230 g sugar
- 1/3 tsp crushed vanilla bean
- 2 eggs
- 75 g flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 1/3 tsp salt
This cake needs to be low, for these proportions the ideal cake pan is 22 cm wide. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a small saucepan melt the butter. In a bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt and mix for a couple of minutes at low speed. I have the feeling I have somewhat failed this cake when I mixed it too much, so keep the speed low and just mix until the ingredients are combined. Don’t overmix. Once combined, add the flour and cocoa powder and start the mixer again, low. As you are incorporating the flour and cocoa, pour in the melted butter and mix that in as well. Stop when everything is incorporated. Transfer the batter into a springform pan and bake at 200°C for 17 minutes. When you take the cake out, the sides will look done but the centre is supposed to still be a little wobbly.The Swedes, who are more athletic than me and manage to burn off the winter fat more easily going cross-country skiing every weekend, serve this cake with a side of whipped cream. Which is a very interesting addition, especially if unsweetened, as it will nicely balance the taste and texture of the cake. But it can as well be skipped, I guess, for fatness sake. Still, Sweden is home to this amazing gooey dessert that is also so embarassingly easy to prepare. So Sweden is a very easy country to get fat in.
A side note. I have made two versions of this cake because I wanted to take some leftovers to work, so I made a regular one and an “allergy free” version. In the latter I have substituted the 100 g of butter with 100 g of plant-based margarine and the 75 g of regular flour with 85 g of gluten free flour to make it both lactose and gluten free.