01 April, 2010

Seven kinds and a Cardamom Cake

When you have someone over for fika in Sweden, it is considered proper manners to have no less than 7 different kinds of cookies or cake to serve your guests. Well, that is what I am told...I think the tradition has subsided a bit (who has the time?) But any country that defines "proper" as having a smörgåsbord of sweet things is my kind of country! Even my Morfar always had sweet things and coffee-so-strong-you-could-stand-a-spoon-up-in-it when we came over. Incidentally, he was a big pecan sandies fan. 

Anyway, I hadn't posted about any major baking failures lately. I haven't had any! Not going to jinx myself and say I have overcome my baking-in-Sweden handicap, but let's just say I haven't had any flat cookies or brick-like bullar in a while. 
And today was a gray, cold day, and I sometimes bake to avoid doing things that I don't want to do (like the riveting paper due this weekend on light, space, and sound in museum exhibitions) so I decided to make kardemummakaka. Cardamom cake. I've only had it in cafes, but I just bought this lovely book:

and thought I might as well try out my Swedish reading skillz. Sju Sorters Kakor means literally Seven Kinds of Cakes, and was first published in 1945. Its a Swedish household staple and has been re-published dozens of times...they even have an English version (Swedish Cakes and Cookies.) I particularly like the old-school pictures with every recipe.

(The ingredients. I do like pictures.)

The thing turned out DELIGHTFULLY. Light and cardamom-y. I had a few friends over, and 3 ladies and Stu made more than half the cake disappear in a very, very, very short amount of time. 

I am including the recipe in this blog post, translated to the best of my abilities, because I want you out there to make it and drink really strong coffee and think of me, and Sweden, and how you shoulda baked about 6 more kinds of cake.

pre-heat oven to 175c/350f

200 g smör / 1 c butter, super soft
2 ägg / 2 eggs
3 dl socker / 1 1/4 c sugar
8 dl vetemjöl / 3 c flour (you might need a little extra)
3 tsk bakpulver / 3 tsp baking powder
1 tsk kardemmummakärnor / 1 tsp ground cardamom (but really, as much as you want)
3 dl mjölk / 1 1/4 c milk

3 msk pärlsocker / 3 T pearl sugar

Cream together sugar, butter, eggs. Add flour, baking powder, cardamom, and milk. Mix. Toss in a greased baking dish. I have yet to buy a proper cake pan, so I'm still using the landlady's big cheesecake springform, lined with foil. But I'd suggest a 9in round or square, so its thicker than mine was. SSK suggests a 26cm round. It also said one could top it with both pearl sugar and sliced almonds. I didn't have almonds. I also didn't measure the sugar...I just poured it on.
Bake for a about an hour, or until something poked in the center comes out clean (I used a butter knife.)

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