1 Feb '13

New Nordic: cakes with substance

Baking is back. In our world, it never went away.

We’ve always championed cakes, but there’s something different about the natural earthiness of a cake created in the new Nordic style.

Rich with the seeds, nuts and fruits from nature’s harvest – there is a satisfyingly raw, home-made quality to Scandinavian cakes says Bill Granger. That’s because they aren’t pumped full of air and rely on flavour and colour from E-numbers and colourings.

The new Nordic way of cooking showcases natural ingredients as they are rather than trying to produce a glossy art piece.   It is a celebration of different flours (we often bake with rye flour, spelt, and oatmeal), proper butter and organic eggs, enriched with the natural sweetness of honey, wild berries and fruit.

Too often, fine baking and fancy cupcakes woo visually, only to disappoint with a mouthful of nothing but sugar.   But we prefer to appeal to all the senses and use aromatic ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves or citrus notes from lemon and orange to tempt before taste.

Texture is important too, so we might add nuts (such as almonds which form a lovely crunchy topping for one of Sweden’s best loved cakes – Tosca cake), poppy seeds and oats.  Crushed beets and grated carrot often lend a moistness and earthy colour. The aim is to make every mouthful both simple and satisfying as a visit to one of our cafes will testify.

Baking is a social activity too.  It’s about sharing the good things in life and the honesty of the food plays an important part.  We hope that you’ll find inspiration in The Nordic Bakery Cookbook so that next time you bake a cake, you make one that has real substance.


Date Cake Recipe

• 350g dates – pitted, no need to cut
• 300ml water
• 210g white flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 10ml vanilla syrup
• 200g butter, room temperature
• 270g caster sugar
• 3medium eggs



Preheat the oven to 175c.

Boil dates on a low temperature, with 300ml water – break up the dates with a spoon, whilst cooking. Boil until it makes a rough paste and the water is all gone. Be careful not to overboil the dates. It should take around 10 – 15 mins to reduce down.

Whilst the dates are boiling, mix the butter and sugar in a separate container. When the dates are ready, add the butter/sugar mix and set aside to cool.

In another bowl, add the eggs one by one, mixing each time. MIx in vanilla. In separate bowl mix baking powder and flour. Finally, add this mixture to the date mix and stir.

Grease a bundt tin with some extra butter. Pour dough mixture into the tin and bake the cake for 45 minutes. Check after 40 mins. Be careful not to overcook the cake – it should be lovely and moist.