Here’s a little known fact for you: the Sweedish really (really) know what they’re doing when it comes to home baking. Nope, I’m not talking about those slightly dodgy breakfast croissants and bakery items you can get at IKEA on a Saturday morning (although, I should point out I have nothing against IKEA food, I have been known to enjoy the odd meatball myself now and then). We are talking about seriously delicious soft bread and fresh berry buns and crisp, peppery biscuits which are completely different from any other baked good’s we have tried.
Now it might very well be that the Swedish baked goods revolution has been happening all along and we are just really late to the party. After all, we have been known to be a bit slow on the uptake before: example at hand – Phil and I bought our very first flat screen TV a few weeks ago. Until now we have had a monster of an old thing (circa 1995) which hummed away in the background and took a good long pause to warm up before you could see the picture. It also made people’s faces look a bit oddly green …… but I digress. In the last couple of years there have been a couple of new Swedish style bakeries and coffee shops opened up in Edinburgh which have opened our eyes to a whole slew of new recipes and combinations, which always seem fresh and unique and unpretentious. Which is exactly how we like things around here.
So, in between our study this week (I know, we are still studying, yes we are very ready not to be, but the end is in sight we promise, and then we will stop being such boring Normans) we set too and got our Swedish baking groove on (we might have even bust out the Abba album) and set our hand at making a Pear Kladdkaka….. which in Swedish means sticky chocolate cake (and if it doesn’t, it should – because that’s exactly what it is! 😀 ) So, now I’m handing over the reins to Phil for the recipe. Enjoy x
Swedish Pear Kladdkaka
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter
3 ripe pears (of your favourite variety)
1) An eggcellent start – In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the two large eggs and sugar on a medium until they go all light and foamy (about 3 minutes). When they are ready, the mix should be a pale yellow colour and the sugar should be completely dissolved.
Next mix in the flour and salt until you have a smooth and thick batter. No need to worry about folding, this is a nice simple, dare I say it foolproof, recipe that doesn’t require too much gentle handling.
2) Time for some chocolaty-ness – In a small mixing bowl stir together the cocoa, vanilla and melted butter. This should make a shiny dark and delicious looking chocolaty liquid, which sadly doesn’t taste very nice at all given the lack of sugar, so don’t be tempted to lick the spoon just yet 😛 . Pour the chocolate liquid into the cake batter and stir until the colour is uniformly brown.
3) Perfect Pear – If you can claw yourself away from the chocolate mix for two minutes the time has come to prep your pears. These need peeling, coring and slicing into 1/4 inch slices and arranging neatly around the bottom of a 9 inch round baking tin.
4) Smoothly does it – Once your pears are beautifully arranged carefully cover with your cake batter, making sure you don’t disrupt things too much and ensure no pear is peeking out on the surface. Once you are happy with your work pop the cake in the oven at 175 ºC (350 F) for 30 minutes. The cake cooks a little bit like a brownie, so it’s really down to how sticky you prefer to determine how quickly you take it out and enjoy.
5) Cool, Eat, Repeat – Once it’s ready, leave the cake in it’s pan for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack. It is super tasty warm, so feel free to dig in right away (we sure did). But equally tasty when cool if you can stand to wait that long.
So, thats all there is too it. Delicious, moist chocolate and pear cake in a jiffy. Also, it turns out it’s not just Kladdkaka and IKEA that the Swedish invented. They’re also known for inventing the zip (Gideon Sundbäck), the marine propeller (John Ericsson), the refrigerator (Carl Munters and Baltzar von Platen), the computer mouse (Håkan Lans) and the pace-maker (Rune Elmqvist).
See, now you learn’t something new today!