Count Spen’s famous cake (Spenstårtan)

There is a famous cake known as “Greve Spen’s cake” or “Count Spen’s cake.”  There are both English and Swedish newspaper notices about the cake and its ancient origins. It has even been given the status of being an Östergötland provincial court.

This description is taken from a report in Mat & Dryck where Count Erland Spens told that the cake was included as early as the 17th century when the family came to Sweden from Scotland. The cake sometimes appears on the family’s coffee table, even though it is quite powerful to eat. The buttercream means that the cake usually does well without a refrigerator on hot summer days, unlike the sensitive whipping cream.

Count Erland Spens stated in particular that the cake should be decorated with fresh fruit and not with canned as stated in some recipes. It is easy to bake and anyone can handle it. If the whole cake is not eaten, it can very well be frozen.


Cake recipe for 8 people


For the cake base:
3 1/8 cups grams almond paste
1/2 – 3/4 cups whipping cream
butter for the baking paper

For the buttercream:

1 1/3 cups butter
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
2 ounces – Kirschwasser or Cherry brandy

For the decoration:

1 dl roasted almond shavings
blue and green grapes etc., alternatively canned fruit such as pear pieces or mandarin wedges

Make the cake like this

Preheat the oven to 500°. Brush thinly with melted butter on the wax paper lying on a plate.

Grate the almond paste and whip the cream. Stir out the grated almond paste with so much whipped cream that the paste can be spread over the baking paper on an oven-safe tray. Bake in the middle of the oven until the cake base is light yellow and dry, which takes about 10-12 minutes. Make sure that the edges do not burn. (oven temperatures may vary)

While the cake base cools, whisk the butter and powdered sugar until white and porous. Add the egg and continue to whisk. When the buttercream is smooth, whisk in a little Kirschwasser or cherry brandy. Of course, it also goes well with any other alcoholic flavoring.

Divide the cake base into four equal squares. To remove the bottoms from the wax paper, you can turn the whole thing over and gently pull the paper off. Spread plenty of buttercream on three of the bottoms. Fold the cake bases together and coat the top with a thin layer of buttercream. If the buttercream is enough, the edges can also be coated. Sprinkle with roasted almond shavings and possibly around the edge of the cake and garnish with fruit and berries. You can also decorate the cake with clicks of the buttercream, possibly colored with caramel color.

The above recipe is taken from Swedish Landscape Courts by Oskar Jakobsson and printed at the General Staff’s Lithographic Institute in 1965.