Today fettisdagen is celebrated in Sweden and this is the big day for having a Swedish semla. This year’s semla season have been extraordinary in Stockholm, with all the bakeries making their own versions of the traditional semla. Most trending have been Mattias Ljungberg’s Semmelwraps, which you can try at the Tössebageriet if you’re in Stockholm. We’re in New York though, longing for semlas today. But a few days ago we baked this semla layer cake to show you guys what to do if you want to celebrate fettisdagen in an extraordinary way. Yum.
Swedish Semla Layer Cake
- 25 g fresh yeast or 1 pkg dry yeast
- 1 cup / 2 ½ dl milk
- ⅓ cup /¾ dl sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed in a mortar
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- 75 g soft butter
- 2 ½-3 cups / 6-7 dl flour
- 1 egg for glazing, lightly whipped with a fork
- 300 g almond paste
- 3 tbsp milk or water
- 2 cups / 5 dl heavy cream
- Icing sugar
Crumble the yeast in a bowl. Heat the milk to 98 °F/37 °C. Pour the milk into the bowl with yeast. Stir until the yeast dissolves and add sugar, salt, cardamom and vanilla extract. Add the butter. Work the flour into the dough little by little until the dough is smooth. Keep working the dough for 5-10 minutes. Let the dough rise under a tea towel for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 355 °F/180 °C. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a round bun. Put the bun in a buttered cake pan with a removable bottom and a diameter of about 7-8 inches/19-20 cm. Let rise under a tea towel for another 30 minutes. Brush the bun with egg and bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes (if the surface of the bun is turning brown towards the end you can move the bun further down in the oven). Take out the bun and let it rest in the pan for a couple of minutes. Remove the edges of the pan and let the bun cool under a tea towel.
Grate the almond paste and mix it with milk or water. Whip the cream and pour it into a piping bag with a star shaped tip.
Cut the bun into three layers and cut out a triangle out of the top one. Spread almond paste and pipe cream over each layer. Put the layers together and powder with icing sugar.
Serve with coffee or milk or the old fashioned Swedish way: put your slice of the semla in warm milk in a soup-plate.