Kladdkaka is one of the easiest cakes you'll ever make, and it may well become a favorite, too. This Swedish sticky chocolate cake uses just a handful of everyday ingredients, and takes only a few minutes to prepare and bake. Get ready for rich, indulgent deliciousness.
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In general, given the choice between chocolate or fruit-based desserts, I'll go for fruit every time (especially citrus). But some chocolate treats I'll make an exception for.
I think the thing for me is it only really works if it's intensely chocolatey, so many chocolate ice creams don't do it for me, for example. But a dense chocolate tart or lava cake, on the other hand, is more my thing. And I do love a good brownie, with my gluten free chestnut brownies being one of my favorites.
This delicious Swedish cake is one that we all loved, as it has all the best qualities. It's rich, dense and full on chocolate flavor.
What is kladdkaka?
The name literally translates as "sticky cake" which is a pretty accurate description, though without telling you quite how great it is. You can think of it as a bit of an oversized fudgy brownie, or verging on a mud cake. It's squidgy in the middle, more brownie or cake-like at the edge and slightly crisp on top. And sweet, chocolatey delicious throughout.
Even better from a baker's perspective, it could hardly be easier to make. It's really no wonder that this is apparently the most popular cake in Sweden, whether as part of fika or as dessert.
What is fika?
Fika is a Swedish tradition of enjoying a cup of coffee alongside a bite to eat, often sweet, with friends. You could call it a coffee break, but there's a little more to it.
Fika is really more broad than just eating and drinking - it's about making time to relax and enjoy other people's company. It's a little more like a British afternoon tea, but the less formal style.
In terms of things you might eat, the typical choices are pastries like cinnamon or cardamom buns, cookies, Swedish chocolate oat balls or cakes. This Swedish chocolate cake is one you might be served if enjoying fika at someone's house.
It's much more of a home bake than something found in cafes, maybe partly since it's so easy but also it doesn't work quite as well to bake in bulk. But it's perfect to whip up if you have friends coming over.
What is kladdkaka made of?
The ingredients for this cake are simply egg, sugar, flour, butter, cocoa powder and a little vanilla and salt. That's it!
Some recipes use part chocolate, part cocoa powder, but just cocoa powder is more consistent since chocolates can vary in sweetness etc. Traditionally you use vanilla sugar in Sweden, though you can substitute with a little vanilla extract if you don't have this.
You don't use any leavening agent in this cake, which is part of how it ends up gooey in the middle. It's also in part that you use a relatively low amount of flour compared to other ingredients, and bake a relatively short time.
You can get a little lightness in there by whisking the sugar and egg together at the beginning. Then, sift the dry ingredients in to avoid lumps. If your vanilla sugar is more coarse and sieve is fine, you may need to tip the sugar in at the end, but at least sifting the sugar and cocoa powder helps avoid un-mixed pockets that wouldn't taste as good.
When you mix in the butter, it might seem as if it isn't quite mixing, but just give it a minute, it will get there. Then once combined, pour it into a buttered or lined springform pan and bake. It will seem quite thin, but that's normal.
How to know if kladdkaka is done
In general, this is incredibly easy to make, but the one thing to watch for is getting the level of baking time right. If you cook it too long, it can become dry. It's better to take it out a little early, if anything.
You want to take it out of the oven when it is just dry on top but still has a slight jiggle to it. Some prefer it a little more set, but you still don't want it to be cooked in the middle when you take it out the oven.
Even just a minute or two after coming out the oven, you will notice it starting to firm up slightly more. Let it cool at least 15 - 20 minutes to be easier to serve. If you chill it, it will become firmer still.
How to serve this cake
You can enjoy this either warm or chilled, as you prefer. If you like, you can cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge before serving. Alternatively, enjoy it still warm after the initial cooling or warm slices in the microwave if you have already chilled it. We like it both ways.
Personally, I prefer it warm so it's that bit more gooey. You typically dust the cake with a little powdered sugar, then it's up to you if you serve it as is, or add the odd things to it. Some cream and berries like strawberries and raspberries pair really well. Here I had some mascarpone rather than cream which might be less typical but also good.
Kladdkaka is such a wonderfully delicious Swedish sticky chocolate cake that is perfect whether enjoyed as a fika treat with coffee, or as an after dinner dessert. It's so easy to make, with such a great flavor and texture. So many reasons to try soon.
Try these other delicious coffee-time treats:
- Magdalenas (Spanish lemon muffins)
- Piernik (Polish honey/gingerbread cake)
- French pear cake
- Plus get more snack recipes, both sweet and savory, and Nordic recipes in the archives.
I'd recommend an 8in non-stick springform pan for this for easy removal (affiliate link).
Kladdkaka - Swedish sticky chocolate cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter (½ cup is 1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour plain flour
- 4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (4tbsp is ¼ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or approx ½ volume of vanilla extract)
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C or 375F/190C if fan-assisted. Lightly grease a 7 - 8in (18 - 20 cm) springform cake tin.
- Melt the butter until just melted, either by warming gently in a small pan or by heating on short intervals (eg 10-15 seconds at a time) in a microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the sugar and eggs in a medium-large bowl and whisk them together until gently glossy and well-combined.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold them in until fully combined. (If using vanilla extract, mix this into the egg first then add the dry ingredients.)
- Add the melted butter to the bowl, mixing in as you add it and continue to mix until it is well-combined and mixed through.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and gently smooth any bump on top - only do this gently as otherwise you will create more bumps rather than make smoother.
- Place the tin in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 10 -15 minutes. It's worth checking after 10 minutes then periodically until the middle of the cake is just starting to be dry on top but it is still springy to touch the middle and a little wobbly when you gently move. It will quickly firm up a little as you let it cool.
- Set the cake aside to cool at least 15 - 20 minutes before running a spatula or knife around the edge and opening the pan. Remove the side and transfer to a plate. Serve either warm or refrigerate once room temperature and serve chilled (or you can re-heat in the microwave). Sprinkle over a little sifted powdered/icing sugar to serve, and optionally add some cream and/or berries.
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