Kladdkaka du dimanche

[Swedish chocolate cake, of the Sunday kind]

kladdkaka recipe

Everytime I come around here, a whole season has gone by.

There was summer and its endless hours in the kitchen that I now call home. But before we knew it, the time for semester [holidays] came. And went.

Two weeks in our stuga [cabin] in the middle of the woods; and I still stand by my words when I say Åsen is my dream place. A dream that – this time – we shared with my family who traveled the three-thousand kilometres between us.

We picked blåbär [blueberries] and lingon; and my father – who’d never been this up north ever before – spent a day teaching me where to find mushrooms in the Swedish forests, reminiscing the mornings we’d busied up in the lower Alps more than twenty years ago now. We picked mostly giroles, but also ceps and chanterelles, although it was still a little early in the season for the latter.

We visited the small factory where the dalahäst we cherish so much are made, a short twenty minute drive from the stuga, in the heart of Dalarna. My mother bought more horses that she could – literally – handle; and the picture I took on my phone will always be a favourite memory of mine.

We baked traditional Swedish snittar and drömmar [biscuits] that now also have a strong following in a little house of the south of France.

kladdkaka recipe

Then came the golden days – that I must admit, I almost wrote as “goldays”, perhaps I am onto something – of autumn.

Long walks by the river to the sound of the wind through birch branches so tall it makes you dizzy. And no matter what, I will always be in love with the peculiar colour of a sun setting through these trees that are now a part of my universe.

There is the smell of rain. And dead leaves too. And of pumpkin roasting in the oven, just so. There is the first frost, which I had predicted to the day. Yes, to the day! And the rönnbär [Rowan berries] we picked and candied; a jar that will probably be forgotten at the back of the fridge for another few weeks before it makes an appearance on our table.

snow-fall

And rather unexpectedly, there was winter too.

The day after we’d moved to our new flat. The view of Skellefteå rooftops from our bed; one minute black as coal, the next covered in a thick mantle of snow. A snow that lasted for a week, even though back then, we did not know that just yet.
The following Sunday, we pulled the suspenders of our warm overalls up and wrapped ourselves in wool. A morning in the snow, and an afternoon by the kitchen stove. And somewhere in the middle, kladdkaka and wine were involved.

kladdkaka recipe

My Swedish kladdkaka recipe
This is not a recipe I had planned to share with you, although it’s one that followed us through the seasons.

Served with barely whipped cream and freshly picked berries in the summer; roasted pears and vanilla ice-cream in the autumn, and now made in a cardboard box kitchen as we were unpacking the things we love enough to have taken along on the ride that took us here to the north of Sweden.

Yes, this kladdkaka recipe is just that. An everyday wonder; whipped up in less then ten minutes, it can be as fancy or as casual as you want it to be.

And today, I thought I’d test the halogen builders site light Kalle bought last year for me to be able to take pictures through our long winter. And that perhaps, you’d appreciate to have your Sunday fika sorted out for the weekend ahead.

In case you still have your doubts, you should know Sam’s – 3 year-old – stance on the subject: “De är jättekladdiga!” [They are very sticky*].
* A good thing since kladdkaka literally means “sticky cake”, although I have a feeling chewy would be more of an appropriate translation.

My Swedish kladdkaka recipe

Makes one 22cm cake, serving 8-10.

125 g unsalted butter
250 g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 eggs
90 g plain flour
40 g cocoa powder
5 g sea salt

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter and line a 22cm tin with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a pan set over medium heat.

Off the heat, add the sugars and allow the mixture to cool down slightly for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, and mix until just smooth.

Pour the batter in the prepared tin, and bake for 25 minutes, or until domed and cracked on top. Allow to cool down completely before serving.

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An autumn day

autumn-sweden

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picking-rowan-berries

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We went for a walk today. And for once, I remembered to take my camera along. Our official purpose was to pick rönnbär [rowan berries], but really, I just wanted to wrap myself in a golden hour that comes everyday a bit sooner.

We walked by the river. And crossed the dam that seems more of a waterfall at the moment, as water gets released before the snow comes.

Every step we took over the bridge left traces in the frost. The first that lasts until the afternoon; only in the shadow of course, but still enough to warm my heart for a winter that I’ve longed after for weeks now.
Yes, winter, you may come now.

When we came home, coffee was promptly made and we picked through our small harvest. I have rönnbärsgele [rowan berry jelly] and syltade rönnbär [confit rowan berries] in mind, so hopefully I’ll share these with you soon.

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Almond and raisin tea cake

raisin tea cake

I’ve been thinking about this cake ever since my mum emailed me earlier this week, asking for a good recipe for cake aux fruits confits.

Growing up, cake aux fruits confits was always the last one left on a birthday dessert table. Slices of dry cake, studded with always too little candied cherries, of the bright-red kind, which if you’d asked me twenty years ago were the best part about this loaf cake.

Of course, my dad who’s always been fond of the store-bought kind (same goes for madeleines, go figure!), would heavily disagree. But to be completely honest, as I read my mum’s email, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that good and cake aux fruits confits don’t really go hand in hand. A thought that I’d soon learn how to let go.

As any new recipe I work on, I make a mental list of the things I want and do not want in the finished product.
Here I was trying to go as far away as possible from the fruit cakes I used to make when I first moved to London. Rich with dark brown sugar, many raisins and manier currants, and loaded with so much candied fruits you’d wonder where the cake batter had gone.

What I wanted was a moist sponge with a slightly dense crumb and deeper flavours, studded with plump raisins and delicate candied fruits. A light-golden crust, made soft with ground almonds on the batter and a generous wash of tea-infused sugar syrup on the warm loaf.

I made the cake this morning, as water was boiling for the first of many French-press-fuls of coffee. And I liked it so much that I thought you might too. Et pour toi aussi Maman <3

I had to leave out the candied fruits, because I didn’t have any at home, and really, I’m pretty certain that the Swedes are wise enough to leave them out from their supermarkets’ shelves; yes, I truly think I haven’t spotted any since we moved here, not that I’ve been restlessly looking for fruits confits.
It made for a wonderful almond and raisin tea cake, but if you’re after a cake aux fruits confits, you could most definitely replace some of the raisins with candied fruits, as noted in the recipe below.

raisin tea cake sliced

Almond and raisin tea cake

Makes one loaf

boiling water
100 g raisins
1 Breakfast tea bag

125 g butter, soft
70 g light brown sugar
50 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
3 eggs
100 g plain flour
80 g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
120 g raisins or candied fruits
(see note above)

A hour before staring, soak the raisins in boiling water – enough to cover them completely. Add the tea bag and set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (for a fan-assisted oven). Butter and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Drain the raisins, pressing well to get rid of any excess liquid, and making sure to save the soaking liquid, which we’ll later use to make a syrup to brush the warm loaf with.

Cream the butter and sugars for 5-6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In another bowl, mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and raisins (or candied fruits, if using).
Pour over the butter mixture and fold gently using a wooden spoon or spatula, until smooth. Finally fold in the soaked raisins and pour the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C, then reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 30-35 minutes, or until the sponge feels springy to the touch.
In the meantime, weigh out 100 g of the soaking syrup into a small pan and add 70 g of caster sugar. Bring to the boil. When the cake is baked, immediately brush the syrup on top of the warm loaf.
Allow to cool down completely and unmould.

This cake will keep for days at room temperature,well-wrapped in clingfilm.

whisk

Cake aux raisins ou Cake aux fruits confits

Pour un cake

100 g raisins secs
eau bouillante
1 sachet de thé anglais

125 g beurre, mou
3 oeufs
70 g vergeoise blonde
50 g sucre
1 càc sucre vanillé
100 g farine T55
80 g amandes en poudre
1 càc levure chimique
120 g raisins secs ou fruits confits

Un heure avant de commencer, placer les raisins secs dans un bol supportant la chaleur et verser de l’eau bouillante pour les recouvrir. Ajouter le sachet de thé et laisser infuser pendant 1 heure.

Préchauffer le four à 180°C (pour un four ventilé). Beurrer un moule à cake et le recouvrir de papier cuisson.

Egoutter les raisins en prenant soin de bien les presser afin d’extraire un maximum d’eau. Réserver l’eau de trempage qui servira par la suite à imbiber le cake.

Battre le beurre avec les sucres pendant 5-6 minutes. Ajouter les oeufs, un à un, en battant environ une minute après chaque oeuf.

Dans un bol, mélanger la farine, poudre d’amandes, levure chimique et fruits confits (ou la seconde pesée de raisins secs pour un cake aux raisins). Verser sur le beurre et incorporer la farine à l’appareil en utilisant une cuillère ou spatule jusqu’à obtention d’une pâte bien lisse.
Finalement, ajouter les raisins secs préalablement égouttés et mélanger brièvement.
Verser l’appareil dans le moule à cake beurré.

Cuire 10 minutes, puis abaisser la température à 160°C et poursuivre la cuisson pendant environ 30-35 minutes.
Pendant ce temps, verser 100 g du liquide de trempage des raisins dans une petite casserole et ajouter 70 g de sucre. Porter à ébullition et réserver.

Une fois cuit, imbiber le cake encore chaud à l’aide d’un pinceau. Laisser refroidir complètement, puis démouler.
Ce cake se conserve très bien à température ambiante, enveloppé dans du papier film.

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