(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.

Kkaddkaka.jpg

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!

King Haakon VII of Norway

On this day in 1905, the dissolution of the personal union between Sweden and Norway, in effect for just under 90 years, came to an end.

Prince Carl of Denmark (full name Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel) of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg became more simply known as King Haakon VII of Norway. He was married to Maud of Wales, the daughter of Queen Victoria’s son and heir, the future Edward the Peacemaker.

An early piece of Scandinavian film footage is a short clip of the newly elected King Haakon and his family disembarking from the ship, Heimdal, at Kristiania (Oslo, as was) for the first time. Haakon and Maud were crowned the following year at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

King Haakon VII reigned for 52 years until his death in September 1957, having guided Norway through two World Wars. Indeed, he threatened to abdicate if his government wished to co-operate with the invading Nazis during World War Two. Such was the respect for him, he did not have to carry out this threat, being credited with doing much to preserve the Norwegian sense of unity and leadership.

He was the first king of an independent Norway in over five centuries, Norway having joined the Kalmar Union in 1397 under Margaret of Denmark, also Queen of Norway and Sweden because she married Haakon VI of Norway, also King of Sweden, although Swedish history becomes complicated at this time and he faced a lot of rebellions and being deposed. Although the Kalmar Union was dissolved when Gustav Vasa became King of Sweden in 1523, Norway remained joined with Denmark until 1814. Fighting in the Baltic towards the end of the Napoleonic wars (during which Denmark-Norway had been compelled to join France, and the two nations had been separated, forcing Norway to establish her own variety of government), led to the break-up of established unions. That of Denmark-Norway and Sweden-Finland.

Norway was joined to Sweden, although it was effectively granted home rule for many matters; and Finland was subsumed into Russia.

Less than a century later, Norway was in a position to elect her own King and finally to be free of ‘foreign’ governance. And she seems to have chosen well in the Danish-born great-nephew of the Swedish king.

So, to King Haakon VII!

Semlor

Semlor

As promised, a recipe for Gerda’s favourite treat:
To make a dozen semlor, you will need: (a talar measure)
• 25g of yeast
• 75g of margarine or butter
• 200ml of milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• Half a teaspoon of cardamom
• 500ml of sugar
• 700ml of plain flour
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
For the filling and topping, you will also need:
• Roughly grated almond paste (or marzipan if you can’t find almond paste)
• Whipping cream
• Milk
• Icing sugar
How to make a semla:
• First, melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan, add the milk and heat until lukewarm.
• Crumble the yeast into a bowl, and add some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast.
• Add the remaining liquid, plus the salt, cardamom, 1 egg, sugar and 600ml of the flour.
• Work the mixture together into a dough.
• Cover with a cloth and leave the dough to rise for around 30 minutes.
• Mix together and work into a dough, a kitchen-machine makes this easy.
• Mix together the baking powder and remaining flour and work into the dough. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth.
• Separate dough into maximum 12 round balls.
• Lightly grease some baking sheets, put the buns onto the sheets and allow them to rise for 35-40 minutes.
• Beat the other egg and use a brush to glaze the tops of the buns.
• Heat the oven to 250 degrees C and bake the semlor in the middle for 10 minutes.
• Cover the buns with a cloth and allow to cool on a wire rack.
• Before eating your semlor:
• Cut a circular “lid” off the top of each bun. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the bun.
• Mix together the grated almond paste with the inside of the bun, add milk to make a smooth mixture and use this mixture to fill the hole.
• Whip the cream and spoon the cream on top of the bun filling.
• Replace the lid of the bun and decorate with icing sugar
I’ve just tested this recipe and I feel that there are a few things which you should note. Firstly, it says 700ml of flour…I think it means at least a litre. I found that the 600ml flour didn’t make a very doughy dough. It’s true I’ve never made semlor before so I don’t know what it should look like at the different stages, but I’ve made dough before. Any Swedes out there like to test this and let me know?
Secondly, almond paste can be made by using equal amounts of ground almonds and icing sugar mixed with one egg white. I used 200g of each which worked quite well.
Thirdly, these can be quite sweet and very filling.