Sticky Swedish Chocolate Cake (Kladdkaka) [GF]
In Sweden they have an extra mealtime, if you could call it a meal. It's called 'fika', and it usually strikes about 3/4 o'clock in the afternoon. It's a relaxed occasion, and involves sitting on you comfiest chair, whether at home or in one of Sweden's many coffee houses, and enjoying a hot coffee and something sweet. Sweden - alongside other Scandinavian countries - are huge coffee buffs, drinking the most coffee per day than anywhere else in the world, even Italy! The 'fika' is akin to the British elevenses, a snack at 11am to carry you through to lunch. I always find 3pm an awkward time of day, my least favourite time of day if you feel me. All the better to punctuate it with coffee and cake!
I discovered this cake in a coffee house when I first visited Sweden a few winters back. The coffee house tradition is strong in Sweden. We have pubs in Britain, or so we used to, whereas in Scandinavia you have coffee bars. It's the social gathering place, and they're always well-stocked for a 'fika' when it strikes. Coffee houses in Scandinavia offer a wider range of modern brewing techniques and options that you won't find in a Starbucks or a Costa. This gives coffee makers more freedom to be creative, and thus independent coffee shops in Scandinavia do outrageously well. Absolutely rolling in it.
Anyways, the cake. It's a sticky chocolate cake called 'kladdkaka' (pronounced 'clart-cacka') literally meaning 'sticky cake'. You may have encountered the English word 'clarty' - more popular in the North - which describes a sticky, mucky characteristic. That word actually comes from Old Norse, brought by the Vikings, hence the similarity. Kladdkaka is a sticky chocolate cake you find in every coffee house in Sweden, and they're all a little bit different and generally made to an in-house recipe. The best one I had was gluten-free, as many sweet treats are nowadays. It's a nice characteristic really; by not using wheat flour, the cake doesn't go hard or stale after a day - not that it will last a day, because it is outrageously delicious. It is sticky, chocolatey and sexual, and I actually make mine with oats, which I think contributes wonderfully to the stickiness. It's an uncomplicated cake to make., I urge you to give it a go and enjoy it when you have an uncomplicated moment.
- 125g of Whole Oats (not instant oats)
- 150g unsalted butter
- 200g Dark Chocolate (60-75% cocoa)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of Camp Coffee Extract (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Take a large pie dish, or cake tin (about 10-12") across, and grease it very generously with butter.
- This is an oat cake - there is no wheat flour. We start by toasting the whole oats, which amplifies their toasty qualities and dries them out. Do this by adding them to a dry frying pan and heating on a medium heat until they begin to smell toasty and stop belting off steam. Tip into a food processor (or a blender) and process the toasted oats until you have a roughly fine flour - done!
- Now for the cake. This is a melting-method cake, much like brownies, hence the cake having a squidgy, sticky texture. Start by melting 200g dark chocolate with 150g butter. You can do this in the microwave, or on a double boiler (that is, a bowl sat on top of a saucepan of gently boiling water). Melt gently until both are molten and remove from the heat.
- Add 200g of sugar to the warm chocolate mixture and stir until it roughly dissolves. The sugar should bring the temperature down a bit, so crack in 3 eggs and the vanilla (and the Camp coffee extract, if using) and stir in until you get a glossy, chocolate mixture.
- To a mixing bowl, add the toasted oat flour and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Pour over the glossy chocolate mixture and stir both together until they are combined to a chocolatey cake batter.
- Pour the batter into the pie dish or cake tin and place into the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. The cake shouldn't rise much, but it will firm up and harden around the sides, and the centre should still be soft. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. The cake is best served warm - or if you have leftovers, simply heat a slice in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.