I’ve met Georgia once or twice a year, sometimes three or four times, for the past, what, eight or ten years maybe? She is one of the international rights people at Lion Hudson, a British publishing house in Oxford which has been a close friend of Libris for a long, long time. I think Georgia started working there quite soon after I’d started at Libris. We have been looking at countless children’s Bibles, activity books and picture books through the years, and when the looking hasn’t resulted in Libris buying into a co-production, children around me have been very happy to have the sample copies.
A couple of weeks ago, Georgia came to Örebro with her suitcase full of books. I was on my way home, and I had to run to catch my train (which, it turned out, I could just as well have ignored — I ended up spending more than two hours waiting in Mjölby for the next one because of a fire somewhere near Stockholm, so I could have spent two more hours in the office had I known), but in the two minutes that we met, Georgia asked for ”Swedish cardamom cake”. Somebody had told her that this is an important part of Swedish cuisine.
I totally agree, even though I’ve never heard it being talked about like that before. Cardamom cake is essential.
But is there One Recipe for Swedish cardamom cake? I don’t know.
Here’s one of my favorites for you, Georgia. Enjoy! And do let me know what you think!
Swedish cardamom cake — Lenas körkaka
This cake is somewhere in between a traditional Swedish sockerkaka and Swedish vetebröd. It’s quite heavy, it crumbles easily — and it’s delicious and very easy to make. I got the recipe from Lena in Alvesta. She would make it for rehearsals with the Baroque choir that she sang with, and she would bake it in an old-fashioned iron frying pan which had a diameter of about 22 cm, but you can use a regular baking tin of about the same size.
Almost all the butter used in Sweden is salted, so if you’re using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the batter.
Oven: 200° C, about 30 minutes
3 dl (180 g) wheat flour
1½ dl (125 g) sugar
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1–2 tablespoons cardamom, ground or crushed
150 g butter
1½ dl Swedish sour milk, filmjölk — try yoghurt instead (unsweetened)
Prepare the pan with butter and breadcrumbs.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Chop the butter in pieces, add them to the bowl and use a regular fork to mash them and combine them with the flour etc. This should result in crumbles.
Add the sour milk and stir. The batter will be pretty soft and sticky.
Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Bake it low in the oven at 200 dregrees Celsius for about half an hour. When it’s done, let it rest in the pan for a couple of minutes, then move it to a wooden cuutting board. Let it cool down a bit (without covering it) and serve it from the cutting board.