Extract taken from the Clandestine Cake Club Cook Book *‘A Year of Cake’
Text Copyright © 2015 Lynn Hill
Photography © 2015 Kris Kirkham
St Lucia’s Day, festival of lights, is a strongly Swedish celebration but is now celebrated across Scandinavia. The name ‘Lucia’ comes from the Latin for ‘light’, and according to legend, in the midst of one particularly harsh winter St Lucia brought the starving people of Sweden bread and light. She has become a symbol of hope amid darkness. The day’s festivities begin in the early hours. Dressed in white and wearing a wreath of candles on her head, the eldest daughter of each household leads a procession of her siblings into the main room, bringing light to her family. Spiced cakes and biscuits are shared, served with steaming hot coffee. To mark this wonderful celebration of hope, here is an aromatic cake lled with warming Christmassy spices. Crown it with candles to brighten the dark winter days and anticipate the joy of Advent as you cut the first slice.
Nordic Spice Cake
- 340 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 100 g light muscovado sugar
- 240 g dark muscovado sugar
- 6 medium eggs
- 2 tbs natural yogurt
- grated zest of 1 large orange
- 340 g self raising flour sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 35 ml mulled wine
- icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Spray a 25 x 7cm Bundt tin with cake release spray.
- Beat the butter and sugars together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl at intervals.
- Lightly beat the eggs, yoghurt and orange zest together until combined. Add a tablespoon of flour to the butter and sugar mixture, then gradually add the egg and yoghurt mixture until light and fluffy, adding another tablespoon of flour if it looks as if it is curdling.
- With the whisk on a low speed, gradually add the remaining flour and spices until well combined. Do not overbeat or you will overstretch the gluten in the flour, which may result in a dense cake.
- Finally add the mulled wine and mix gently until combined. The mixture should be of a dropping consistency.
- Pour the cake batter into the tin making sure it goes into all the grooves, and level out the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45–55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in various parts of the cake comes out clean each time.
- When baked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 15–20 minutes, then turn out on to your favourite cake plate. Dust with icing sugar.