A lot of countries have their own versions of sponge cakes: the French and Italians have genoise sponges, the Brits a Victoria sandwich and Americans a pound cake, but Swedes have a sockerkaka, literally a sugar cake.
A sockerkaka is usually baked in an attractive mould with a hole in the middle, like a giant doughnut. Swedes like the appearance but there is also method in the madness; the shape helps to prevent soggy bottoms! With a large cake the centre can be soggy when the edges are cooked. As I haven't got a Swedish sockerkaka mould I used a savarin (rum baba) mould instead.
There are various versions of sockerkaka ranging from saftig sockerkaka, (literally 'juicy sugar cake'), which uses milk and less butter, making it less crumbly, to fin sockerkaka, which is very rich and uses twice as much butter as in this recipe. I think the classic recipe below is a good compromise without being too rich or too crumbly.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Butter and breadcrumbs for the mould
300 g (1⅓ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
160 g (1¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
75 g (⅓ cup) butter
100 ml water (½ cup, less 1 tbsp)
1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F, gas 4, fan 155C).
2. Thoroughly grease a 1½ litre mould and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. (I used a 23 cm (9") savarin mould, which worked well.)
3. Beat the eggs and sugars with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about two minutes.
4. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and then carefully fold into the mixture.
5. Melt the butter and then add the water. Bring to a boil and then add to the mixture, beating on the lowest setting until evenly mixed.
6. Pour the mixture into the mould and then bake at the bottom of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the mixture begins to pull away from the mould.
7. Leave to cool for 2-3 minutes and then invert on to a serving plate.
8. When completely cold remove the mould.
In the unlikely event that you have any sockerkaka left over you can use it to make some punschrullar (arrack rolls), sometimes called dammsugare (vacuum cleaners/hoovers). Here's our recipe.
• Stand the mould on a tray when sprinkling with breadcrumbs to catch any spilt crumbs
• If you prefer to use a stand mixer such as a kMix or a KitchenAid, in stage 2 fit the beater and use on a low setting for about 30 second and then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes. Use the fold function for stage 3.
• As I am not a great cake eater, I like to serve sockerkaka as a dessert with some fresh berries, lightly whipped cream and some coulis.
Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, editor and founder of Swedish Food.