Oh look, another title with weird Swedish characters! Faithful readers might recognize an element of the word: tårta, meaning cake, which we have talked about before. Dröm means dream, and thus the name of this particular cake is "dream cake". I don't know why it got that name - it's certainly not that spectacular, but it's a childhood classic for me. My mom used to make this all the time, and I think this was one of the first baking items I attempted to make on my own. I distinctly remember it being a disaster. The top of the cake was burnt to the point of resembling charcoal, and when I tried to salvage it by peeling away the burnt bits, I found that the bottom of the cake was still runny and uncooked. Lots of tears ensued. That, plus the great 1990 rice-cooking disaster, made me firmly believe that I should stay out of the kitchen. Luckily, things have changed. However, for some reason I still utterly fail every time I try to make omelette. It's like a curse, I tell ya.

Anyway, drömtårta is a Swedish classic. I think these types of cakes are called jelly rolls in English, although this one has nothing to do with jelly. It's a light chocolate flavored sponge-type cake that is filled with vanilla buttercream. You can find perversions of it in grocery stores - always unchilled and with the shelf life of a formalin-stored alien. I haven't dared to look at the ingredient list for one of those, but I'm pretty sure that you can believe it's not butter. Sadly, that seemed to be the only type of "dream cake" that Markus had eaten, prompting him to tell me that he doesn't like it. Well, that needed to be changed! I have successfully gotten him to like spinach (but sadly I have realized that I need to give up on broccoli, as dislike for that seems to be genetic), so how could I fail with a buttercream filled chocolate cake?! That, plus the fact that we had French vanilla buttercream in the freezer (leftover from the triple x macaron feast), prompted me to make this cake a few days ago.

I think it was the first time I made it since that disastrous attempt over 20 years ago. Appearance wise, it left a little to be desired, but it tasted just like moms, with better buttercream. I'll give you the buttercream recipe from the original version as well, but if I were you I would go with the French one, even though it's more labor intensive.

from Sju sorters kakor (Swedish Cakes and Cookies)

3 eggs
1½ dl sugar
3/4 dl potato starch
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder

Set the oven to 250°C.
Whip the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and airy.
Mix the flour and baking powder, sift the cacao and add the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Place a parchment paper on a cookie sheet with higher edges. Spread the batter out as evenly as possible (this is where I apparently went wrong, judging from the appearance of my cake). You want it to be quite thin (~3 mm) as it rises a bit when it bakes.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes.
Take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it lightly but evenly with sugar.
Transfer the cake upside down to the sugar coated paper. It's not as tricky as it sounds, as the cake will be stuck to the parchment paper that has been in the oven. Just be quick! Peel of the parchment paper carefully. Let the cake cool before filling.

Traditional buttercream filling

150 g butter
2 dl confectioner's sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk

Beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add vanilla sugar and stir in the egg yolk. Mix well.

French vanilla buttercream
Note! this recipe yields more buttercream than you need for filling the cake. It can be frozen.

80 g egg yolks (about 4)
½ vanilla bean
60 g water (60 ml)
125 g sugar
250 g unsalter butter, at room temperature.

Whip the egg yolks until they are light colored and airy.
Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and put them in a small pan. Add water and sugar, and bring to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides of the pan, this will remove any sugar crystals that have stuck there. Boil until a sugar thermometer reads 117°C.
Add the sugar mixture to the egg yolks, while whisking constantly.
Continue whisking until the mixture is cool. Add the butter little by little, and whisk until the buttercream is light and airy.

To assemble the cake:
Let the cake cool completely before filling it. Make sure your buttercream is at room temperature. Spread the filling over the whole cake and roll it up. Wrap the cake in plastic and store it in the fridge for a few hours before cutting it. The whole cake can be frozen, but note that if you use previously frozen buttercream (like I did), you can not freeze it again.

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