The weekend coffee share or the curious case of the cake with no fat

I was browsing Magnus Nilsson’s The Nordic Baking Book the other day, and came across what I thought would be a perfect autumn cake, päronkaka med kardemumma or a pear cake with cardamom. The thought of the fruit and that quintessential Swedish baking spice coming together sounded good.

I got some pears, made some vanilla sugar and got ready to bake. First up, Nilsson has a different way to preparing the tin that I normally use, greasing the tin and then dusting with breadcrumbs. I decided to follow this rather than my usual greaseproof paper lining to give it a try. The second thing I noticed was that the recipe had no fat of any sort in the ingredient list. He points out that many older recipes don’t have butter, harking back to the days of shortages.

The eggs and sugar are whisked together, and the dry ingredients folded in. The batter is then poured into the tin and topped with a pears, sugar and dots of butter.

We have quite a hot oven, so I usually need a little less time than recipes suggest, and did check 5 minutes before the suggested time and found the cake ready, though did wonder if had been slightly overdone, as the sides seemed quite crispy.

The cake was rather strange..tasty if a bit sweet for my taste, but not a light sponge, but dense and almost chewy. I believe I cooked it for too long, but the first time doing something new can often be hit and miss. However, I don’t think that was the only thing wrong, so my question is, has anyone else made a cake like this? If so, any handy tips?

Footnote: there is always the flour issue as I talked about in an earlier post. Apparently, Swedish flour is low in gluten. See this review of Polish flours from Journey From A Polish Kitchen.

So that is my entry into this week’s Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Do go and check it out – there are always some really interesting posts. 

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. Interesting that you found it heavy. I think traditionally sponge cakes have no fat in them, and are usually quite light. But perhaps having fruit on top inhibits the ability to rise. I love the pear/cardamom combination, so I’d happily eat it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel I did something wrong – not beat the eggs enough or too much. You are right in that traditionally sponge cakes had no fat. But you could be right about the fruit! Will just have to try it again….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks rather spectacular!
    My sponges never rise like they should, which is why I’ve given up on making them. It does sounds delicious, even though you say denser than you’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks good and I am glad it is tasty too. I think that in a recipe of this kind, the dough acts as the ‘glue’ holding the fruit together. I have had a slice of similar cake at a restaurant and it was also dense as you describe.

    Liked by 1 person

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