Time Travel Kitchen
Kitchen Notes: A Coffee Break with Cake
Last week I came across an article about a chocolate cake that has its own holiday in Sweden every November 7th.
‘Kladdkaka’ Day, which translates to ‘sticky cake’ day, is celebrated both in homes and in coffeehouses across Sweden.
Coffee consumption in Sweden ranks high, sixth in the world, and ‘Fika’, the daily pause for coffee and a sweet, is a much-loved tradition there that I want to learn more about.
Thinking Kladdkaka must be a really good cake if it has its own special day, and being of some Swedish ancestry myself, I was inspired to make one.
The history of the cake has different, conflicting origin stories (as many of the vintage recipes I’ve been baking do) but one I’ve seen often is that it was born of a baking powder shortage in Sweden during WWII.
Some of the other stories I’ve come across center on a Swedish woman, Gudrun Isaakson, who was trying to make a brownie recipe sent to her from America in 1938. She didn’t have any baking powder and the result was Kladdkaka.
Finally, the cake may have made its appearance more recently, when food writer Margareta Wickman brought the recipe from Paris to Sweden in the 1970’s and published it in the Swedish newspaper Veckojournalen.
Whatever its history, Kladdkaka is and has been one of Sweden’s most popular cakes for decades.
This very thin and delicious cake is easy to make, with all ingredients going into one bowl. It’s similar to a fudgy brownie, or a molten chocolate dessert, yet different and in an elegant cake form. Serve it with whipped cream and a few berries, with ice cream, or dusted with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa.
This would be the perfect cake if you want to bake up something that’s simple to prepare but looks fancy enough and is scrumptious enough to serve for the holidays.
Many of the recipes I saw were very similar, so I tweaked a bit and came up with this and I was happy with the result.
10 Tbsp of unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted (use AP if that’s what you have on hand)
1/4 tsp salt
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (I completely covered, but you can dust more lightly if you like to adjust for your sweetness preference)
Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees
Use an 8-inch Cake pan or 8-inch Springform pan (I used a Springform)
Butter the bottom of pan and line with parchment
Gently melt butter on stove or melt in microwave. Remove from heat and pour in mixing bowl
Add sugar to the melted butter and whisk
One at a time, add the eggs to the mixture and stir in
Add vanilla and stir
Add cocoa, flour and salt and stir just enough that all ingredients are incorporated
Pour batter into prepared pan
Bake for approx 20-24 minutes depending on how gooey you want your cake. I baked mine for 22 minutes.
Cool completely, turn out of pan
You may refrigerate — also this cake freezes well
While you’re enjoying your cake and coffee at home, log in to a clever and fun newsletter I’ve discovered here on Substack called Coffeehouse. It allows you to armchair travel around the world via the sounds of coffee shops. Here’s the link:
See you Friday!
Sources and credits:
Untitled (pour) Jane Banks, Acrylic on panel, 2011 Jane Banks
Anne Brones & Johanna Kindvall, Fika, The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, Ten Speed Press, California/New York, 2015
Allrecipes Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake Allrecipes.com
Taste Atlas, Authentic Kladdkaka Recipe, tasteatlas.com
Getty Images Archive
Photos of Cake: Jolene