It’s not often that I bake the same thing twice in one week, but this one called for it. The first time I made it, it was on a whim. Lounging around on a lazy afternoon last week, I flipped through Beatrice Ojakangas’ The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. My friend, S., who’s a fellow writer, had recently encouraged me to incorporate food into the novel I’m working on, so earlier that day I got to know one of my primary characters better by discovering how food plays a role in her life. Of course, I need to bake for inspiration, then, don’t I? The character, whom I’ll call Eva, is Scandinavian. The coming months could be very delicious as I discover some of the sweet treats she might have baked.
Anyway, back to the cake. Still warm from the oven, and delicately accented with the essence of brandy, I couldn’t help but eat dessert before dinner. However, I wanted to make the flavor more pronounced, so when I made it again on Tuesday for my book club friends, I increased the amount of brandy by a tablespoon and finished it off with a brandy glaze. That did the trick.
Swedish Brandy Butter Cake
Adapted from/inspired by The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brandy
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons water
brandy glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping off excess flour. Using a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then add eggs and brandy and keep beating. Mix together flour and baking powder and add it to the batter, adding the water a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is going.
Once incorporated, pour into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from pan when cool enough to touch, then cool on a wire rack (or if you’re like me and enjoy cake while it’s still warm from the oven, eat it right away). Drizzle brandy glaze over cake. Serve the cake on the day you make it if possible—that’s when it’s at its moistest and most delicious.
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons brandy
Stir powdered sugar and butter together, then add milk and brandy, stirring until smooth.