Around the world in 80 dishes No. 53: Norwegian spiced chocolate cake

Ingredients to serve 8-10

150g butter, softened
250g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
120ml whole milk
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tablespoons strong coffee or espresso
2 tablepoons cocoa powder

For the icing

200g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
2 teaspoons coffee powder
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, plus more to finish (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Scandinavians seem to love the combination of chocolate and spices – possibly something we picked up from our Germanic neighbours. This marbled cake is always a staple at my family's birthdays, weddings and special occasions, but don't save it for high days and holidays. A generous slice is divine any time.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 23cm round cake tin and fit the bottom with baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking each one in thoroughly, along with a tablespoon of the flour each time to prevent the mixture splitting, before adding the next egg. Mix the rest of the flour, the spices and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Mix together the milk, yoghurt and coffee in a jug. Stir about a third of the flour mix in to the butter mixture and then stir in one-third of the liquids, alternating until everything has been incorporated and you have a thick cake batter. Put one-third of the batter in a smaller bowl, add the cocoa powder and stir thoroughly.

Pour half the plain batter in to the bottom of the cake tin, then pour the chocolate batter on top. Cover with the remaining half of the plain mixture and use a fork to swirl through the layers to create a marbled effect. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean of any cake mix.

Remove the cake from its tin after 10 minutes or so and leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting by creaming the butter with the icing sugar, the coffee and cocoa powders and the vanilla extract in a medium bowl.

When the cake is cool, spread the icing all over. Sprinkle with a little extra cocoa powder if you fancy a double cocoa hit.

Taken from 'Scandilicious' by Signe Johansen (Saltyard Books, £20).