Swedish Midsummer layer cake

This stunning Midsummer layer cake recipe is the perfect way to celebrate seasonal berries, perfect for a picnic or summer celebration. Known as Gräddtårta med Jordgubbar in its native Sweden, this cake is traditionally baked to celebrate Midsummer eve.

First published in 2015
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I have always wanted to visit Sweden, it seems strange that I haven’t made it to this beautiful Scandinavian country yet, as it’s relatively close to the UK and my mother’s family have roots there. When I do manage a visit, I would love to be there over Midsummer, between the 19th and the 23rd of June. These summer days are long, with almost 24 hours of daylight, and the flowers, fruit and wilds berries are out, ready for picking.

Midsummer eve is celebrated in the countryside; it’s a wonderful occasion where family and friends gather in woods and open flower meadows – here they celebrate the longest day of the year by dancing, gathering flowers, picking berries and enjoying picnics, with many going on all night.

The traditional Midsummer food are pickled herrings, new potatoes served in a sour cream and dill sauce with hard-boiled eggs, Swedish meatballs, gravadlax (cured salmon), Västerbottensost cheese pie, assorted breads and crispbreads. Schnapps and beer is enjoyed with these foods, and for dessert, there is only one way to end your Midsummer picnic meal, and that’s with a slice of strawberry and cream cake, called Gräddtårta med Jordgubbar in Swedish.

The cake is traditionally made with a fatless sponge cake, has three layers at least, all filled with an egg-enriched cream and packed with sweet strawberries. Although I love confectioner’s custard, the type of filling that is used in this classic Swedish cake, I decided to lighten my recipe up a bit, with some advice from a Swedish friend, and I used a simple Chantilly cream for my filling; I also deviated a little and added some fresh raspberries to my cake, as I have so many in the garden right now. But, I feel that most Swedes will forgive me, as they are a nation of berry lovers!

I think that we should all embrace Midsummer this year, and take to the countryside with our favourite picnic food, as well as a few slices of this divine cake!

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Cake

  • 6 eggs
  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 90ml of warm water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g of self-raising flour
  • 50g of potato flour

Filling and Topping

  • 350ml of double cream
  • 4 tbsp of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450g of strawberries, hulled and cut in half if very large
  • 200g of fresh raspberries

Method

1
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Line a round cake tin (30cm x 10cm) with baking paper
2
Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy; mix the dry ingredients together and then gently fold them to the whisked eggs. Add the boiled water and then mix until all amalgamated, but do not over mix. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it has risen and is golden brown. Turn out of the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack
3
Meanwhile, make the Chantilly cream by whisking the cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until the cream holds firm peaks; cover it and store in the fridge until needed
4
When the cake is cold, carefully cut it into three slices, and place one slice on a serving plate; spoon a third of the cream over the cake, then add the strawberries and raspberries;
5
Continue to layer the cake this way, ending with the top which is also decorated with cream, strawberries and raspberries
6
Serve cut into slices with extra fruit on the side
First published in 2015
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Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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