Swedish Chocolate Cake


This is one of those recipes that I’m still shocked exists. Easily, one of my most made cakes and I say easily both because I’ve made it a million times and because it is extremely easy to make. Double word meaning. I take this to parties and to my parents’ house when they invite us over for dinner and gloat about how I’ve contributed more than my siblings when really I’ve done less than ten minutes of prep work and just less than ten minutes of baking which isn’t even work it’s just sitting by the stove on my phone and making sure it won’t burn. I’ve spent more time talking about this cake than I have actually making it. This is a testament both to how annoying I can be and how great this cake is.

Most of the ingredients are stuff that people already have in their kitchens (I’m guessing). Sugar. Eggs. Vanilla. If you don’t, then go buy some sugar and eggs. The weirdest thing that it asks you for is sifted cake flour. Before making this cake, I never used to have cake flour but I bought it once so now I’m good to go because this recipe only asks you to use 1 cup of it. It’s reasonable. I’ve since learned that cake flour is more finely milled flour that contains more protein than regular all purpose flour. This cake has taught me things.

I feel a bit pissed that no one I know ever told me about this cake and that I had to find it deep on someone’s instagram and then the internet and it wasn’t in the same urgent way that I tell my friends they have to make this cake every time I go over to theirs (holding them by their shoulders and looking deep into their eyes because I care about them) but instead in a very lazy and neutral suggestive way like “I guess you can make this cake easily. If you feel like it.” I am too generous to not share the wealth. So far, only my sister has made it and it’s because she got tired of my bragging about being so good at baking. She now makes a point to underline how easy it is and that it’s not impressive that I’ve made this ten times for my mom and dad.

The recipe is impossible to mess up and like the sifting the cake flour, all the heavy lifting happens in the beginning of the preparation. It’s one of those steps that feels tedious and pedantic at first but once done, you realize is not at all time consuming or physically demanding. If this cake wants sifted cake flour, then I’m willing to go there for it.

It’s also one of those rare gems of recipes in baking or cooking when you can actually prepare what goes into the oven in the time it takes to preheat. Miraculous. To be honest, I’ve never been able to prepare something so elaborate, particularly not when baking, in the time it takes to get to 350° or 375°, or even 425°. This cakes cooks at a reasonable 400° and doesn’t force you to awkwardly rush through the last steps of your prep so as to avoid the wasted energy of having a fully blasted oven going with nothing inside. The first time I made this, I finished before the beep went off. I looked up at the oven and was like “surely it must have already beeped” but it hadn’t and it just went off when I was thinking that and I felt like Ina Garten. Convenience is so valued these days. Mind you, on very rare occasions, I don’t make the preheat time but you can’t always be Ina Garten.

It requires that you chill it for an hour, which can mess up your day if you start too late but I don’t count leaving something in the fridge as demanding work. Once I was going over to my friend’s place to meet her boyfriend for the first time and made this and didn’t leave the required hour long wait period but figured it would be fine. It wasn’t and it melted on the way there and then wouldn’t retain its shape once we cooled it in her fridge so her boyfriend and I had to power through eating almost liquid cake with canned whipped cream so I wouldn’t feel bad about my mistake in ignoring the very simple guidelines. It worked out because it still tasted good, just was messy and gross and now I really like her boyfriend because what a cool guy.

I watched a Chef’s Table episode (Volume 1, Episode 1 on Netflix) with Magnus Nilsson (the inventor of this recipe) and he’s basically a genius who never leaves home and whose idea of a good dessert is making jam from boiled glacier water, wild gooseberries and like naturally occurring sugar that he harvests in his backyard. His outlook is pretty refreshing and low maintenance which is reflected in his cooking. His recipes share a lot of similar qualities in that they require few ingredients (many of which are staples) and then the odd one or two random ones that you’d have to venture out to a specialty food store to find. I bought white peppercorns because of him. I owe him a lot. Someone who can take a bunch of simple ingredients with an equally simple set of instructions make me feel that baking and cooking are that much more accessible for people who have mobility issues or time sensitive schedules. That the food is universally well liked by my friends and family is just the whipped cream on top of the Swedish chocolate cake. Honestly, what an uncomplicated but smart idea. Jesus.