I was 19 when I left Sweden for the US. I was to stay for a year, working as an au pair in both Boston and LA. My goal was to learn English and also to do some traveling. I couldn't wait to leave Sweden and explore the world.
My dream had always been to go to college in America. I wanted the whole experience; take interesting classes, the football games, crazy fraternities, and the outrageous parties. However, attending school was not in the cards - it was way too expensive. But college looked like so much fun on TV and in the movies. In 1983, the 2 TV stations and 3 radio stations that existed in Sweden, where all run by the government. There was no commercials. No cable. No internet. Shows started promptly at 5pm and ended before midnight. Sounds boring? I certainly thought so. I left Sweden as soon as I could. After finishing high school and working 6 months in a restaurant to save up, I was on my way...
What I didn't know was that I would fall in love. I met Doug at a night club in Boston, and 3 years later, we got married. Within a few years, we had two beautiful children, Laura and Erik. While raising the kids, I got a college degree. And after attending university, I began teaching. So, I'm happy to say, I did fulfill my dream. Every summer, we took the kids to Sweden. Now, Erik is in college and Laura lives and attends university in Sweden.
It's time for me to return; to get back to my roots.
This time, I'm in Sweden for two whole months. It's really nice to be back, hanging out with family and reconnecting with old friends. I love to spend time with my sisters and extended family. We do a lot of cooking together. One of the best things in life is to enjoy a meal together with the people you love. To say the least, I'm happy to be back for more than just a vacation. I also plan to teach at Medborgarskolan in Stockholm; both Gluten-Free cooking and Creative Writing classes.
So, this first recipe from Sweden is a tribute to my mother. She was a fantastic baker. She could just throw together some simple ingredients, and voila...out came masterpieces: breads, cookies, pies, and cakes. One of my personal favorites was Tiger Cake ~ Tiger Kaka. A true old-fashioned sponge cake flavored with both vanilla and chocolate. The dark and light cake batters are swirled together, resulting in a gorgeous contrasting pattern resembling a tiger. Hence its name.
I've included the ingredient list and measurements in both the US & Metric systems. So, you can easily make this recipe from anywhere; whether you're in Sweden, US or elsewhere. This cake is also my contribution to the blog Månadens Sötsak, at www.sotsaker.com. Here, bloggers share their favorite recipes; and many are gluten-free.
Tiger Cake ~ Tigerkaka
2 oz butter, plus extra for pan (50 gr smör, plus extra till formen)
1/3 cup + 2 TBSP water (1 dl vatten)
2 eggs (2 ägg)
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 TBSP sugar (2 dl socker)
1 TSP vanilla extract (2 tsk vaniljsocker)
1/3 cup + 2 TBSP almond meal/flour* (1 dl mandelmjöl)
1/3 cup + 2 TBSP rice flour (1 dl rismjöl)
3 TBSP potato starch (3 msk potatismjöl)
3 TBSP fine corn flour (3 msk majsmjöl)
1 TSP ground cardamom (1 tsk kardemumma)
2 TSP baking powder (2 tsk bakpulver)
1/2 TSP lime zest (1/2 tsk lime zest)
1/4 TSP salt (1/4 tsk salt)
3 TBSP cocoa (3 msk kakao)
3 TBSP milk (3 msk mjölk)
1 1/2 TBSP cold coffee (1 1/2 msk kallt kaffe), if desired
shredded coconut for the pan (kokos till formen)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C).
Generously butter a 9-inch cake pan, or bread loaf pan. Line the pan with shredded coconut, take care to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. If you prefer, line the pan with rice or corn flour.
Melt butter. Add the water and bring to a boil. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until lightly yellow and doubled in volume. Add vanilla extract and blend until combined.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flours, cardamom, baking powder, lime zest, and salt.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg batter.
Add the melted butter liquid to the cake batter, and blend until smooth.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, milk, and cold coffee. If you prefer the cake without coffee, just mix the cocoa with 6 tablespoons of milk.
Add the cocoa mixture to the remaining batter, and blend until combined. Drizzle the chocolate batter into the pan. With a knife or spoon, slowly swirl the two batters together. Take care not to over-mix. You want to end up with a nice contrast between the yellow and chocolate cake batters.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting cake onto a platter. Using a large spatula, or a plate, invert the cake again. This way, the cake faces up, and displays the beautiful 'tiger' pattern. Let cool until room temperature.
Serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream.
Låt dig väl smaka ~ Taste and enjoy!
*It's easy to make your own almond meal/flour. And it's great to have on hand; and lot cheaper than store-bought almond flour. I use it all the time in my baking recipes, especially in pie crusts! Place 2 cups whole almonds (blanched or un-blanched) into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Store leftover flour in the refrigerator.
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