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RECIPE

How to make Swedish Love Treat cakes

Kärleksmums (known in English as 'love treats' or 'love yums') are among Sweden's most popular cakes. They resemble brownies but are light and fluffy. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

How to make Swedish Love Treat cakes
Kärleksmums are a popular Nordic treat. Photo: Kent Skibstad/TT
Ingredients
 
For the cake
 
220g (2 sticks) butter
 
150ml (2/3 cup) water
 
3 large eggs
 
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
 
175g (1 1/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
 
2 tsp baking powder
 
A pinch of salt
 
3 1/2 tbsp good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
150g (5 1/4 oz) dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
 
For the glaze
 
150ml (2/4 cup) whipping cream (heavy whipping cream)
 
2 tbsp strong black coffee, cold
 
150g (5 1/4 oz) dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids)
 
50g (2/3 cup) desiccated coconut (unsweetened shredded coconut)
 

Kärleksmums with a coconut glaze. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food
 
Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F, gas mark 6, fan 180C). Grease two 20cm x 20cm (8 inches x 8 inches) baking tins and sprinkle with breadcrumbs or line with baking parchment. (Swedes often use breadcrumbs to help prevent cakes sticking to the tin.)
 
2. Melt the butter and then mix in the water and leave to cool.
 
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and airy. This should take two or three minutes on maximum speed in an electric mixer.
 
4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder until thoroughly mixed and then fold into the egg mixture.
 
5. Fold in the butter mixture.
 

The mixture should be smooth once mixed. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food
 
6. Pour the mixture into the two greased tins.
 
7. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over.
 
8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes – a skewer should come out slightly sticky. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes. (The top should look very chocolaty and a bit gooey – as shown.)
 
9. Meanwhile, boil the cream, then pour in the coffee and leave to cool slightly.
 
10. Break the chocolate for the glaze into rough pieces and add to the hot cream mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
 
11. Spread over the cake and then sprinkle with the coconut.
 
12. Allow to cool a bit and then cut each tray into nine or 16 squares with a knife or use a heart-shaped cutter as shown. (Kärleksmums are particularly nice when the chocolate is not quite set!)
 
Tips
 
•  Make some chocolate truffles with the leftovers
 
•  Cut large squares and top each square with half a strawberry
 
•  Bake extra for a rainy day – you can freeze these cakes
 
This recipe was orginally published on food writer John Duxbury's website Swedish Food.
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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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