Serious Eats: Recipes

Baking With Dorie: Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake

My friend Sally, she of the garden elves, showed up for a pancake breakfast this weekend bearing gifts: rosemary and bay plants transplanted from my garden into house-size pots and a recipe for her friend Ann Brettingen’s Swedish Apple Cake. According to Sally, the cake was so good she kept poking around in the pan to pick up all the crumbs. It was also so good that she made Ann stop everything and write the recipe down on the back of a napkin, the napkin she came bearing along with the plants.

As soon as I saw the recipe, I smiled—it looked very familiar. In fact, it is almost exactly the same recipe that my friend Ingela Helgesson gave me. Ingela’s recipe, which is in Baking, From My Home to Yours, is called a Swedish Visiting Cake and it’s turned out to be one of the most popular recipes in the book, and with good reason: It’s easy (it comes together in under 10 minutes), foolproof and, most important, great-tasting.

Here are the differences between Ingela’s and Ann’s cakes:

The measurements for the ingredients are a little different, but not different enough to stop you from imagining that either Ingela and Ann come from the same village or this cake is a national treasure passed down with few changes from mother-to-daughter through generations.

Since I’m not Swedish, I made a few changes in the recipe: I baked it in a cast-iron skillet (I’m a sucker for that rustic look); added a smidgen of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of salt; and glazed the finished cake with a little apple jelly.

If you love the Swedish Visiting Cake, you’ll love this one (or you might just want to add apples to the Visiting Cake); if you don’t know it, you’ll know its cousin when you pull Ann’s cake out of the oven.

Thank you, Ann. Thank you, Sally.

About the author: Dorie Greenspan is the author of several books on dessert, most recently Baking: From My Home to Yours. Dorie can also be found at and on the Bon Appétit website, where she is a special correspondent.

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