(Almost) According to ScandiKitchen: Kladdkaka

There is a café just off of Oxford Street. (There’s probably a lot of cafés off of Oxford Street.) I can’t remember exactly where, but you can get there in almost a straight line from Goodge Street, from the street opposite Paperchase, with the Tesco Metro on it. Walk along there for about ten minutes or so.

Actually, that might be a lie. You might have to turn off it somewhere. It’s been a while.

Anyway, this café, ScandiKitchen, is a home away from home for Scandinavian expats. It provides Scandinavian food and a small grocery section for imports. Like reindeer meat. And Scandinavian licorice. But I go for the cakes.

One of the things I miss the most about my time in Sweden is the baked goods. Sweden has some wonderful cake recipes. Especially kladdkaka. I normally describe this as a sort of brownie-cake, and my ScandiKitchen recipe book say it literally means sticky cake.

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This isn’t the one I made, but a picture of the picture in the book. Mine was eaten too quickly for photographs.

It’s a reasonably quick and simple recipe too:

2 eggs

200g sugar

100 butter, melted and cooled slightly

150g flour

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

Teaspoon of vanilla

  1. Whisk together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients and vanilla
  3. Add melted butter and mix well.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 in a 20 cm cake tin

The crust should need a little pressure to crack but the cake shouldn’t be completely cooked. The middle should still be a bit runny – it’ll set once cooled.

Best served with a dollop of cream.

Mine, I think, was slightly overdone. Still tasty, but I feel it probably should not have broken neatly in half when I picked it up…

P.S. – Apologies for the delay – one of those weeks!

No-Fuss Chocolate Cake

Is there anything better in this world than a good cake which requires very little effort to make?

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This chocolate fudge cake fits the bill. Very definitely the lazy person’s cake, or the cake for the time-deprived. It’s even better than that 5-minute microwave cake in a cup recipe that floats around on Facebook.

Because this cake is a bread-maker cake, and it’s a cake-mix, in the manner of the bread-mixes you get for the bread-maker. You just put the mix in the machine, pour in so much water and oil, set the machine to the cake setting, and press on. An hour or so later, and you have a perfectly good loaf-cake. Alternatively you follow the instructions for the making of muffins.

This one would be particularly good with soured cream and berries on top, especially since it sank a little in the middle.

I shall be testing the other bread-maker cake mixes, since this one was so yummy.

To Have Your Cake And Eat It

Life is a fine balance of indulgence and self-denial. Self-denial and discipline are not my forte. Life’s too short, and all that.

Sadly, to get anywhere in Life with one’s dreams, one must Work Hard: also not my forte. I’m working on that. For the moment, at least the latest issue of CrossStitcher has helped with my love of cake…Anyone for guilt-free cake? (Not that I ever feel guilt over cake; so silly!)

Suggested for a card; I plan a cover for my cake recipes.

Suggested for a card; I plan a cover for my cake recipes.

Currently my cross-stitch TV is the quite honestly delightful Australian Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Post-WWI, in ’20s Melbourne, complete with a lovely, jazzy soundtrack. When I have the time, I intend to spend a month or so reading the novels.

(Almost) According to Delia: Spiced Cranberry Muffins

Apparently, it only takes one trip to IKEA for Mark to fall in love with all things Swedish. Well, that and a couple of bags of kanelbullar. Which is entirely fair enough. Kanelbullar are very delicious.

Me, I like the display homes they have in IKEA. It’s the nosy curious part of me. Looking at people’s homes. And IKEA do so much better displays than most other furniture or DIY shops. The first time I visited IKEA was when I lived in Sweden as a student. It’s more fun when there’s a chance of actually furnishing a home.

The reason I bring this up is because one of the ingredients in these cakes was found in the food-hall on our way out. I do like the IKEA food-halls. Anyway, I picked up a jar of lingonberry jam, which I’m using as a substitute for both the egg and the cranberries.

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I know: all cakes look the same like this…

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 level dessertspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

zest and juice of 1 lge orange (I just used a splish of orange essence)

1 lge egg (1 tbs jam)

75g golden caster sugar

1 tbsp milk (I used water)

50g butter, melted (cacao butter)

225g cranberries (another spoon or two of jam)

glace icing to decorate

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and line a muffin-tray with cases. Delia thinks this makes 6, I got a round dozen.

In one bowl, sift the flour, spices, baking powder and salt. In another, mix the orange zest, juice, egg, sugar and butter. Fold the one into the other (preferably dry into wet). Try not to beat or stir too much, just fold. Fold in the cranberries and spoon into muffin cases.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and leave to cool on a wire-rack before icing.

(Almost) According to Delia: Family Cake

(There’d be a photo, but my camera died at an inopportune moment.)

This is the sort of fruity Madeira cake that gets made for picnics, or packed lunches, or afternoon tea. The sort that is really tasty with a cup of tea.

I did a little experimenting with it, and not just my normal experimentation with apple sauce or bananas. I figured that since apple sauce is kinda like jam, I’d use some elderflower and gooseberry I had in the fridge. I don’t know why I buy jams, since I don’t tend to put it on my toast. Somehow they seem to gather, and breed. But I thought I’d see how it works as an egg replacement in cake.

So. Family Cake.

275g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

225g spreadable butter (coconut oil)

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs (4 large spoons of jam)

a few drops of almond essence (orange essence)

110g dried fruits + 25g glace cherries, sliced (candied peel)

Sprinkling of demerara sugar and flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a tin – Delia reckons a 20cm x 26cm tin, but I only have normal circular ones, so whatever you’ve got will probably work.

So. Sieve the flour and baking powder. Then just mix in the butter, sugar, eggs and essence until you get a a creamy consistency, then add in the dried fruits.

Pour into the baking tin and sprinkle the demerara sugar and flaked almonds across the top. I’ll admit, I forgot these until after I’d put it in the oven. However.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the centre is springy to touch.

(Almost) According to Delia: the Sponge Cake

It’s a classic, is the humble Sponge. The basic recipe, for a simple yet delicious cake, from which all others are simply variations. If you know a good recipe for a Sponge, you’re set for life when it comes to cakes.

When I was allowed to bake unaccompanied (I have a feeling my mother didn’t know. Or my dad was the one in charge that day and he was out hedging, probably), the first recipe I remember using was one of Delia’s, from her How to Cook series. I had a habit then, as now when I can, of adding in all sorts of sweet and sickly extras (although, I never tried all-sorts in my cakes). Terribly sweet-toothed as a child. Less so now, after the no-sugar experiments.

But anyway. The humble Sponge Cake. Light, delicate, and extremely versatile. This one, as requested by Mark, has fewer changes made: the only important deviation was switching out the stated vanilla for some Sicilian lemon. I’m not sure how this has been able to happen but my pantry has been allowed to run out of vanilla. So I had to substitute quickly. And with my planned toppings of raspberry and mango (if it will ripen in the next few hours, please!) I figured lemon would go nicely.

As always, the preferred size tin is smaller than my smallest, which is a 9″ diameter one; Delia would prefer you use a 7″ one. Mine might turn out to be a one-layer cake, slathered in whipped cream and topped with the aforementioned fruits.Oh well!

The mango did not ripen in time...

The mango did not ripen in time…

Ingredients:

115g/4oz self-raising flour (actually, I used plain)

1 level tsp baking powder (mine was heaped, because of the flour)

115g/4oz spreadable butter

115g/4oz golden caster sugar (again, I used what was in my cupboard, which was ordinary caster)

2 large eggs (I think mine were small, which might explain the need for a little milk)

1 tsp vanilla essence (like I said, I used Sicilian lemon)

Jam and/or whipped cream to sandwich

How to Make:

Pre-heat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line your tin. If you’ve got the little ones, you’ll need two. Otherwise, one will do.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add in the other ingredients. If you’ve got a food processor, use that until it’s a creamy consistency. If you don’t, you’re in good company: I don’t either. We need to apply a little old-fashioned elbow-grease and mix with a wooden spoon until it reaches the proper cake-batter consistency. If, like me, you find it’s a bit hard-going, you might benefit from the addition of a splash of milk. Not too much!

Pour into the tin or tins and pop in the oven for about half an hour. Allow to cool on a wire-rack and decorate as desired. Traditionally, one sandwiches the two halves together with jam (strawberry or raspberry) and whipped cream, if you’re feeling decadent. If you used a single large tin, you might decide that it would be a bit thin to slice in two, in which case one layer, lots of topping!

(Almost) According to Delia: Simnel Cake

So. This being Easter weekend, and us celebrating everything with a good cake, this time of year we get Simnel cake. Although, saying that, my researches indicate that we’re a few weeks late. Apparently Simnel cakes were originally eaten on Mothering Sunday. Oops! But, better late than never, right?

Anyway. No one knows how or why or even when – we have some mediaeval references – about the beginning of Simnel cake traditions, but really? Who needs a reason? Cake is surely reason enough!

Now, traditionally, Simnel cake is made with lots of marzipan, and not just layered on top, but baked throughout as well. But, if, like me, you know people who weirdly don’t like marzipan, just stick it on top and tell them to peel it off and give it to you. So much easier than having to dig it out of the cake! Or, of course, have more cake yourself.

Because what else should be on an Easter cake, but a dinosaur?

Because what else should be on an Easter cake, but a dinosaur?

As with before, I made some changes to the recipe. I shall list the actual ingredients, with my substitutions in brackets, so you can pick and choose.

Ingredients:

225g marzipan (I skipped this altogether; see above re: people not liking it)

225g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder (I used 3, following instructions on the packet)

1 tsp mixed spice

175g butter, softened (solid coconut milk)

175g golden caster sugar

3 large eggs (3 large tbsp apple sauce)

3 tbsps milk (liquid coconut milk)

500g preferred dried fruit (I used lots of candied peel and freeze-dried strawberries. And chocolate chips)

50g chopped almonds

zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (I just splashed in some juice)

To decorate:

More marzipan (about 300g)

Mini eggs/Easter chicks/sugared flowers

How to Bake:

Preheat your oven to 150C/Gas Mark 2 and line a baking tin. Ideally it should be a 20cm one, but I’ve used a 23cm one, so something about that size.

If you’re using marzipan, you get a choice. You can either cut it into chunks, or you can roll it into a baking-tin-sized layer.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the butter, sugar and eggs, then whisk in the milk.

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Carefully fold in the dried fruits and almonds and add in the lemon and orange zest. It’s at this point that you add in marzipan chunks. Hold your horses if you went with the layer-option.

Tip into tin. If you went with the layer-option for the marzipan, tip half of the mixture into the tin, spread it out, place the marzipan on top, and then pour the other half on top.

Bake for about two and a half hours, until firm and springy and a knife come out clean, etc.

Decorating’s probably quite straightforward, given the items at hand. Roll the marzipan into a circle; place carefully on top. It shouldn’t cover the sides. Decorate as desired.