Posted in Food, Stories Around the World

Of Kladdkaka and Chocolate

Butter. Eggs. Sugar. Cocoa or chopped dark chocolate. Vanilla sugar. Flour. Pinch of Salt.
Minimum Baking Time.

While prepping a sudden luncheon meet for old friends, the dessert dish had to be something different, for we three ladies were all dessert connoisseurs. Hunting down for quick cake recipes, had led to the Swedish Kladdkaka, a gooey choclate cake that requires the very basic ingredients and minimum preparatory as well as baking time. This venture had led to the revelation of interesting tidbits and details of this favoured Swedish delight.

Kladdkaka, literally translated as gooey or messy cake (more commonly known as “chocolate mud cake” is a dense sticky chocolate cake with a soft and gooey center, often served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and raspberries. Widely believed to be one of the best cakes for chocoholics, there are many variations to the standard recipe for this delight. One of the major reason for it’s gooey nature (quite different from brownies and other regular sugar cookies) is the absence of baking soda in this preparation. With just mild whisking, the absence of air bubble results in the stickiness.

While tracing the exact origin of this cake didn’t lead to any specific occasion or person, it is believed to have been inspired by the brownie or the French chocolate cake recipe; with its’ origin being at a time when baking soda wasn’t routinely available (probably around World War II). Another theory was that Kladdkaka came from Örebro where Gudrun Isaksson (1938) baked brownies from a recipe she received from the USA. As baking powder was difficult to get hold of then, the dough became liquid resulting in the chocolate mud cake. Alternatively it was believed that this cake came to Sweden via the editor-in-chief of the Veckojournalen (1968), Margareta Wickbom who had visited a cafe in Paris where she tasted chocolate cake and brought home the recipe. It was known as “Elake old man’s muffins” then, believed to be made first in muffin form.

Regardless of the roots, with the simplicity of the recipe, ingredients and quick baking time, it makes for a welcome change for the quick but elaborate dessert. Variations are there with coffee added to the regular flavour or making the cake on block chocolate to give a whitish texture to it, adding fruits or nuts as well as making the batter more lighter or luxurious or give it a flour-less twist. So for the kitchen experimenters or home chefs, dessertarian and chocoholics, here is another recipe and delight to add to the ever growing list.

“This cake is one of those cakes I take for granted somehow. I love it so much but I rarely bake it. Before I started baking like crazy, about 5 years ago, I used to bake two times a year, tops. Two times a year, that’s it. And when I did, it was always “kladdkaka” (roughly translated “sticky cake” or “gooey cake” but I’ll just call it Swedish chocolate cake). Why kladdkaka then? Well, first of all, it was the only recipe I knew how to make. Second, it’s probably the easiest thing you could possibly make, and it’s just so darn delicious. You simply have to make this one! And don’t forget to serve it with whipped cream (vanilla ice cream is ok as well)!”
Linda Lomelino, Call Me Cupcake