Fika Friday Recipe

Swedish Birthday Cake Bake

On Saturday our youngest daughter turned seven. She is a true superstar and she makes us laugh everyday, but to have her birthday in the middle of the lockdown was a tricky challenge. More emotional than anything really! She is a proper “hugger” and she really missed hugging her friends. So we prepared a really nice birthday corner in the house and I do have a habit of buying gifts when I see them. I had picked up a guitar in a charity shop a couple of months back and a neighbour sold a guitar stand for a couple of pounds which has been a great gift as we all have started to play the guitar and downloaded a learning app. Once a week I go to the shop to check on it and to make sure it is ok (sadly this time there was a water leak at the back of the building and all the water coming down our backshop window, landlord is on it), and took the girls with me to let her chose a maileg soft toy which she love.

On her birthday we had a small zoom party which was extremely chaotic but it made her happy. Plus we baked her a birthday cake. A Swedish cake!

What is a Swedish birthday cake? Well they do come in all sizes and shapes but mainly it is a sponge cake cut in three layers with two fillings and wipped cream on the top. You can decorate it as you like but at Midsummer you really should have strawberries! The layers in the middle can be anything you like but I would use vanilla cream and jam. However I used to experiment a lot when I was younger and I think my favourite was a layer of chocolate mousse and one layer of vanilla cream and then the topping was melted chocolate. If you have cream as topping you can decorate with whatever you like, sweets or berries. I personally love the berries as it is already quite sweet cake and I like the freshness from the berries.

Ok lets crack on, here is the base recipe for the cake sponge. In Sweden you can buy ready made bases in the shop so a few years ago I started to research how to make the base as close to a cake sponge as possible and found this. It does not have butter or oil in it and is quite a dense but yet sweet base. Remember 1 dl is about 100 ml

Swedish Cake Base – Tårtbotten

  • 3 egg
  • 3 dl caster sugar
  • 1 dl hot water
  • 3 dl plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (use vanilla extract)

Mix egg and sugar very fluffy, add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar). Once all mixed add the hot water, bit by bit slowly while stirring so you do not get egg lumps.

Pour in to a baking mould in any shape you like. Traditionally a round but I have heart and rainbow shapes and I have also made letters before so doubled the batter and used a larger tray and then cut out the letter, which left some waste but the family does not mind eating the end bits.

Once it is cool down slice in three layers, I use a bread knife but if you have the proper tools then use them.

And that is the base, it is a super simple base but very tasty.

Then you can fill it with whatever you like. I remember my mum using mashed bananas which is nice if you like banana, cream mixed with fresh berries or homemade jam (or indeed shop bought). Traditionally vanilla cream or custard is used but yes you guessed it, vanilla custard here in the UK is not the same, you kind of need the one you use in profiteroles and I found a recipe online which you use raw egg yolks in and it is super easy but it is more for a summer pie or a warm spice apple pie in the autumn.

Big sister decorated the cake as a surprise and Lovisa was super delighted!

Enjoy!

Charlotte x

Glad Påsk!

School holidays – yay!! Long lies, chilling out, late breakfasts, hours of lounging ahead. Oh sorry, forgot, we have kids, scrap all that – we can but dream. Hope you all have some nice plans though even if it’s only doing the same stuff but in a different location – we all deserve a bit of a break from the everyday.

So, we know how we spend Easter – rolling eggs, eating chocolate, separating scrapping siblings, but how do the Swedish do it? Well, like most things they do it with great enthusiasm, style and a dash of witchcraft.

It would be a rare Easter gathering that didn’t involve some egg painting. This ancient tradition brings the happy colours of spring to the Swede’s Easter table and the eggs are then gathered together and used as a centerpiece. They are often later hung from trees or birch twigs with brightly coloured feathers and some are maybe scattered round the garden as an Easter hunt.

Girls Decorating the Påskris with mormor (Swedish Grandma)
Påskpyssel Easter Decorations with the cousins

A traditional Easter lunch is likely to consist of different varieties of pickled herring, cured salmon and Jansson’s Temptation (potato, onion and pickled anchovies baked in cream). The table is often laid like a traditional smörgåsbord. Spiced schnapps is also a feature of the Easter table. At dinner, people eat roast lamb with potato gratin and asparagus, or some other suitable side dish.

Påsklunch
Swedish Påsklunch being prepared
Family Påsklunch in Sweden

Just like here in the UK, Swedish Easter is filled with candy, chocolates, and toffee, delivered to the kids in large brightly colored påskägg – eggshells of cardboard or plastic – the bigger, the better. Every year Swedish kids are high as kites from skärtorsdag until late on påskafton, when the påskägg has been emptied.

Easter Treat

My favourite Swedish tradition is the Easter Witches. On skärtorsdag, Maundy Thursday, modern Swedish children dress up as påskkärringar (Easter hags) paint their faces, carry a broom and knock on neighbor’s doors for treats, much like American children do at Halloween.

The tradition is said to come from the old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the Thursday before Easter to cavort with Satan. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honored today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday.

So, there you have a not in any way complete, potted history of how our own #superswede Charlotte would be spending her holidays if she weren’t here. Have a lovely one wherever you are…

Ruth x

All images are from a Swedish family holiday 2017