It is definitely feeling like it is time to move forward in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. With cookies and little cakes thoroughly sampled, cakes and pastries seem like a good transition. So I jumped in with the very first recipe in the cakes section, Swedish Sugar Cake. But before I could make the cake I first had to figure out what a “tube-type fancy mold” pan was. Once again the internets answered my question. While there are many different types of tube pans, it is essentially a bundt pan.
Oh the bundt pan. An icon of American baking in the 1950’s and 60’s (though it is actually part of the evolution of an earlier style of pan.) It’s a pan I grew up with. Both my mom and grandmother have made many a bundt cakes over the years. If I recall correctly, the famed Tunnel of Fudge Cake was a favorite of my grandmother.
But did I own one? Of course not! So I browsed and was amazed at all the different kinds of bundt pans you can get these days! Look at these… castles, mini-bundts, roses, etc. I was really drawn to the shape of this one but figured since I don’t make too many bundt cakes I would go with the classic.
But enough about the pan, lets talk about this cake. It started off with yet another lesson in “read the whole recipe” before heading out to the grocery store. I didn’t realize I needed vanilla wafer crumbs to line the buttered pan with. Not knowing this kind of cake, I wasn’t sure if I could get away without them or not. So with things stacked against me and a strong desire to not leave the house I did what most people wouldn’t do, I made homemade vanilla wafers. We will talk more about that in another post.
With the wafers baked, crushed, and lining the pan, I was finally able to make the cake. It came out effortlessly. The photography side of things quickly took over and it took longer than I would have liked to get in a groove. The important part was that I did find the groove and was actually pleased with the outcome.
With the day wrapped up, it was time to reap my reward and eat a piece of cake. The cake was… different. Kind of weird. Odd. But edible. Lightly sweet, dense, and spiced with cardamom. But no… something wasn’t right. I couldn’t serve this at church the next day! I went back and forth several times only to decide to serve it. I wasn’t happy with it though. But what was wrong with it? After much thought, I don’t think there was anything wrong with the cake itself. I think it actually turned out exactly how it was supposed to (though I can’t say for certain because I have no frame of reference to compare it to.) I think the bigger issue here is that most American palates don’t know this kind of cake and thus it just doesn’t taste right. But even with some rational thinking, the cake wasn’t great despite the pretty pictures.
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Eh, sometimes that’s just the case. I often feel that way when I make traditional tea biscuits. They come out exactly like they are supposed to, but they’re not as “cookie-like” as what we Americans have become accustomed to tasting. They’re most excellent for dipping in hot cocoa, however. :O)
I made pumpkin cookies this week for a certain birthday party this weekend. They didn’t taste very cookie-like… until I made the burnt butter frosting last night and put one together. Blammo! Now THAT’s what I’m talking about. ;o)
Burnt butter frosting? Not browned butter?
Your cake looks beautiful! The recipe sounds like it bears little resemblance to my (Swedish) family’s though. I’ve never heard of cardamom being used – we use lemon zest to give a little flavour to the sponge, which is delicious. That’s also what’s in the traditional Swedish baking book ‘Sju Sorters Kakor’, which you can get in translation as ‘Swedish Cakes and Cookies’, and is a great book. The ‘Priory Gingerbread’ recipe in there is my favourite and we make it for church often as it feels very appropriate! 🙂
Thank you for the comment Maria!
You know, I’ve seen this a lot in my research for various traditional cookbooks where so many people will speak up and say that it isn’t how their family does it. It makes you wonder what really is traditional because tradition looks different for everyone. I have also seen some criticism of Beatrice Ojakangas of blurring traditions in her recipes. Or it could simply be a completely different kind of cake with the same name.
Also thanks for the recommendation on the cookbook. I found it on Amazon and put in my cookbook wish-list.
Also, we have always used flour or breadcrumbs, never vanilla wafers! I might try though, it sounds interesting!