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THE LOCAL RECIPE

CAKE

Welcome in the autumn with this Swedish tiger cake

With the colder weather coming in it’s time to bring out the comfort food. This recipe for Swedish tiger cake from food writer John Duxbury is the perfect way to greet the autumn.

Welcome in the autumn with this Swedish tiger cake
Tiger cake and coffee, the perfect combination. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Summary

Makes: 8-12 slices

Level: Very Easy

Time: 60 minutes (including cooking time) plus time for cooling

A wonderful fika classic enjoyed by people of all ages.

Ingredients

200g (7oz) butter, softened

220g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

3 eggs

220g (1 3/4 cups) plan (all-purpose) flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder 

100ml (7 tbsp) milk or a mixture of milk and cream

3 tbsp cocoa powder 

2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 3 tsp of vanilla extract)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C (350°F, Gas 4, Fan 160°C).

2. Grease and flour a 1½ litre (6 cup) loaf tin (pan).

3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Fold in the flour and baking powder and then stir in the milk/cream.

6. Remove around a third of the mixture (batter) and mix with the cocoa.

7. Add the vanilla sugar (or lemon/orange zest) to the remaining mixture.

8. Pour half the light mixture into the prepared tin (pan), then the dark mixture. Top with the remaining light mixture. (For a marbled cake, draw a fork through the mixture to produce marbled swirls.)

9. Bake on a low oven rack for around 50 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then tip out on to a wire rack. Slice when cold.

Tips

– This cake is sometimes also called marble cake. If you want to produce a marbled appearance, draw a fork through the cake mixtures to produce a swirling effect.

-For a more tangy cake substitute the vanilla with the grated zest of a lemon or orange.

This recipe was originally provided on food writer John Duxbury's Swedish Food website.

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DISCOVER SWEDEN

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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