There is nothing quite like the pairing of spice and chocolate in a Mexican hot chocolate… once you try this delicious combination it is hard to go back! Which is why I knew that I wanted to adapt this classic Swedish chocolate cake, Kladdkaka (translated to sticky cake), to include some heat.
There are actually a few other reasons I was inspired to make this spicy chocolate cake… one is that my husband surprised me on Valentine’s Day with some red roses and a box of our new favorite treat, these spicy chocolate truffles (made in Sweden, actually). Of course he does this right after I say we don’t do much for Valentine’s Day (I promise it’s true!), but that is exactly why this was the sweetest gesture… it was so unexpected and thoughtful.
The second reason for this cake is that I FINALLY feel like the end of winter is in sight. Maybe it’s because the temperature actually warmed up to a few degrees above freezing this week (so WARM!)… or maybe it’s because the sun is starting to finally shine higher and brighter in the sky (right now we are gaining about 5 minutes of daylight per day!)… but no matter what the reason is, I am just so glad to be getting out of the darkest, coldest months. Thinking about warmer weather got me dreaming about a Mexican vacation…
There’s really nothing to prepare you for living somewhere with little sunlight during the winter. The cold isn’t even too bad to handle…it’s the darkness. And this is coming from someone who grew up in Seattle! But Seattle’s darkness is nothing compared to here… Which is why you can really feel it when the sun starts shining brighter and stronger!
The harsh winter environment is why I think many people in Sweden try to take a little vacation to the sun and warmth at least once during the winter months… which is totally possible considering Swedes have the longest average vacation time in Europe (at least in 2009, according to this article), with 33 days per year. We were shocked when my husband’s job gave him 6 weeks of vacation per year… especially after having to “survive” off 2 weeks per year in the US for most of his working career. On top of the vacation time, Swedes often work less hours per week than people in most other countries, which is a testament to their commitment to work-life balance. As this article explains, Swedes understand that everyone needs a sort of “psychological break” from work, to replenish your energy and actually make you appreciate the work you do more. Vacation is a time to relax, be with family, enjoy your hobbies… maybe even get some cooking or baking done in that time? 🙂
Now many Swedes actually take a good chunk of their vacation time during the summer… most take the entire month of July off (which is a perfect time for students to get a temporary job!), which can make being in Sweden that month seem a bit like a “Twilight Zone” episode… many businesses closed, everyone either out of the city in another country or maybe at their summer house… or just doing the whole “stay-cation” thing. I’ve called businesses in July a few times and have been told to call back next month, since the entire department is on vacation…
But I think many Swedes also save a week or so in the winter to get a little sun-break. This November we were able to take an extended weekend in Porto, Portugal, and although it wasn’t hot, it was much warmer and sunnier than Sweden! It was a welcome break from the harsh cold to be able to walk along the water or in the city and not feel panicked to find a warm place for refuge. It wasn’t Mexico, but it was perfect.
So as the winter is STARTING to come to a close, I couldn’t help but think about vacation and summer vibes with this cake. It’s got just the right amount of kick with the cayenne and cinnamon to make you feel warm inside, but is cooled off by this adding a spot of whipped cream. Kladdkaka is a very typical Swedish dessert (although my Swedish cousin thought it came from American Mud Cake, which could totally be the case!) and its gooey texture is addicting… kind of like a perfect brownie.
So as you take a bit of Mexican Chocolate Kladdkaka, I hope it takes you away to a warm and sunny place… and can be a reminder that summer is just around the corner!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Kladdkaka
- 10 ½ tablespoons butter / 150 g smör
- 1 ½ cups sugar / 3.5 dl socker
- ½ teaspoon vanilla sugar / vaniljsocker
- 3 eggs / ägg
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder / kakao
- ¾ cup flour / 1.7 dl vetemjöl
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon / kanel malen
- ½ teaspoon cayenne / cayennepeppar
- Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C.
- Melt butter then mix with sugar, vanilla, and egg.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a whisk, making sure to get out any chunks.
- Pour batter into greased springform pan that is about 10 in / 27cm in diameter.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.
- Let cake sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer, to let it settle.