Image description: A slice of kladdkaka topped with whipped cream and icing sugar. Yum!
I will confess straight away – my mum and I aren’t Swedes. Nonetheless, over the course of our numerous trips to Stockholm we’ve fallen in love with Scandinavian cooking as a whole, especially their sweet treats. One of those in particular is kladdkaka – a gorgeous, rich, lava-like chocolate brownie cake that’s utter heaven to eat after a long day of exploring. The cake certainly lives up to its name – “kladdig” in Swedish means “sticky” or “messy,” and this certainly can be the case because of its gooeyness!
Although the origin of the cake is uncertain, it’s rumoured to have started life as a modification on the normal chocolate cake recipe during World War II. The Swedes were officially neutral throughout the war, but they still experienced shortages for certain items and could not get hold of baking soda needed for traditional baking. The result? This dense, molten lava cake was born. Evidently, the cake soon became so popular throughout the country that it was even designated its own designated day of celebration: November the 7th. As Wednesday was International Chocolate Cake Day, it felt like the perfect day to revisit not just my favourite bake, but also a very quick and simple recipe. You don’t have to be the next Mary Berry to have a go at this one!
- 150g butter
- 100g good quality milk chocolate or dark, if you prefer darker flavours.
- 200g caster sugar
- 40g cocoa powder
- 125g plain flour
- 1tsp vanilla sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
n.b. – the measurements here are for a cake that would serve five. They can be altered and changed to suit requirements, depending on how hungry you and your family are.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Total time: 26-30 minutes
How to bake:
1. Start by turning on the oven to 180C (or 200C if not a fan oven.) Then, start melting the chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat – it can be tempting to avoid the entire process of cake baking at this stage and just eat the chocolate outright, but I promise that the end result is worth the wait!
2. Once the chocolate has started to melt, add the butter into the saucepan. Make sure to keep an eye on it and keep stirring – the end result should be a very smooth, creamy mixture. Once this is done, set the mixture aside to cool.
3. Now it’s time to move on to the main ingredients. In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they’re pale and fluffy. It’s still possible to do this if you don’t have a stand mixer, it’ll just be a wee bit more of an arm workout – perhaps not a bad thing, considering that gyms are still shut for the foreseeable. Once these have been mixed together, mix the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture, then fold in the butter and chocolate mixture in with everything else. (Feel free to make your batter smile here, just as wide as you’ll be soon!)
4. Once the mixture is smooth (it’s not half as good when it’s lumpy!), use a spatula to scrape it out into a baking tin and place in the over for 14-15 minutes to start. Make sure to either line the baking tin with baking paper or grease the tin lightly with butter to prevent the bottom from sticking. It’s at this point in time that, if you’ve been a little careless with efficiently scraping the bowl, you have the opportunity to snaffle up any leftover cake mix. This is definitely one of my favourite parts of baking that I’ve enjoyed since childhood, so I personally would go for it!
We now have a brief interlude in the cooking procedure. Maybe make yourself a cup of tea, do the daily crossword, or scroll through Twitter for a bit. Whatever floats your boat.
5. Now, the next bit is where a certain element of guesswork comes in. The cooking time does vary depending on a number of factors – when baking it for this article, we took it out after 15 minutes to check the consistency before putting it back again for another ten minutes to make sure the centre was a little firmer. You don’t want the cake to be too runny in the centre, but instead a firm, gooey consistency. A good test for this is to take a toothpick and test the edge of the cake – if it comes out clear about 2 cm in and the cake does not look too runny in the middle, then it should be ready to take out. If you feel it needs a bit more, simply leave it to cool in the tin, but if you feel it may have had 30 seconds too long, remove from the tin immediately to stop the baking process. Once you’ve managed to work this out, you’ll then know for definite the best time to bake it going forward.
6. Once your kladdkaka is out of the oven, leave it to cool for a minute before cutting it into slices and serving. Personally, I love having the cake while its still warm, covered in a little sprinkling of icing sugar and with a generous serving of vanilla ice cream that provides an amazing hot-cold contrast when eaten together. Gooey, warm, and mouth-watering: it’s like receiving a little squidgy Scandi hug on a cold winter evening.
If you would like to try baking the above cake but need a vegan alternative, then the attached link provides recommended ingredients and substitutes to do just that. While I’ve heard that this is a good alternative recipe, I haven’t baked it myself – so I can’t comment on how it would turn out!