Best strawberry cake.
Food writer Ann Katring Ljung has revealed the recipe behind what she calls “the best cake ever.” We pass it on here along with a short chat with Ljung. When and why did you first make the cake? “In 1997, when we had just moved into a new house, and I wanted a real festive cake to eat at the new terrace.” And what are the reactions? “Shouts of joy and surprise, because it doesn’t taste like a traditional strawberry cake. The sweet and sour lemon cream and the mashed strawberries along with the cream cheese are great with the chocolate cake layers.” Is this a cake for all occasions? “No, don’t try to make it when you’re in a hurry. The cake bottom must be baked a day ahead and rest, or it will be difficult to separate it. But on the other hand it keeps amazingly well, it’s as good two days later as the day of. But most of the time it doesn’t last that long….” Ingredients for cake layers: 8 oz butter, 3 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 5 Tbs cocoa, 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 Tbs baking powder, 1 cup cold water. Ingredients for lemon cream: 3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 lemons (the grated peel and the juice of), 3 Tbs butter (in small pieces). Ingredients for strawberry mash: 9 oz strawberries, 9 oz cream cheese, 1 cup whipped cream, 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar. For decoration: 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped with 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar, 14 strawberries. Prepare the cake layer the day before and let rest over night. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a springform pan (9” diameter). Melt the butter. Whip egg and butter. Stir in the cocoa and the vanilla. Mix flour and baking soda into the batter. Add the melted butter and the water. Mix until even. Pour into the pan and let bake for about 50 minutes. Let cool and rest over night. The next day cut cake into four layers (hint: for an easier version, cut into three layers). The lemon cream: Wash lemons and grate the peels. Squeeze out the juice. Mix the juice with the peels, the sugar, and egg in a stainless steel pan and let simmer over a water-bath. Keep stirring as the cream thickens but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the butter pats. Let the cream cool. Strawberry mash: Whip heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Stir the cream cheese until soft and add to the cream-sugar mix. Clean and cut the strawberries and add them to the mix, keep stirring until the strawberries are somewhat mashed. Putting the cake together: Spread the lemon cream on top of one layer, add a layer, and spread half of the strawberry mash (or all of it if you are only doing three layers). Add the third layer and spread it with the remaining strawberry mash. Finally add the last layer. Cover the cake and put it in the fridge and let it sit there a few hours. Take it out shortly before you serve it. Decorate with whipped cream (and confectioner’s sugar) and strawberries. Enjoy!

Prince Carl-Philip inherits derelict country estate.
Sweden’s Prince Carl-Philip has inherited a derelict country estate in Södermanland, south of Stockholm. The Royal Court has confirmed rumors that have been going around among neighbors in Källvik, Södermanland, that Prince Carl-Philip has inherited the estate. “Yes, the prince received the house in the will of the former owner,” said Annika Sönnerberg at the Royal Court. The problem is that Ökenäs estate, which dates from the middle of the 1800's and consists of a main manor house and assorted small buildings, is in derelict shape and has not been lived in for several years. It is surrounded by dense forests, there is a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance, and the main buildings are surrounded by scaffolding and plastic sheeting.

Wedding guest hit by cannon.
A cannon salute was fired in honor of a happy couple at a wedding reception near Stockholm. One guest was left in no mood to celebrate however, as the cannon exploded and left her with a broken leg and burns. “The breech of the cannon flew off and hit her in the thigh. She broke her femur and suffered burns,” said Björn Engstrand of the Stockholm police. The woman was rushed to Karolinska University Hospital in a helicopter.

Sharp rise in Swedish Nazi Groups.
Locally-based violent groups of Nazis are sprouting up in more and more places around Sweden, new figures show. In the last two years 17 new groups have been formed, according to a survey carried out by the anti-racism foundation Expo. The study shows that that there are currently approximately 30 Nazi groups in Sweden. Every Swedish county except for Gotland and Jämtland have at least one group, although the highest concentration is found in middle and southern Sweden. Most of them lack formal leaders and are often inclined to carry out violent actions near their bases of operations. They call themselves free or independent, but are often tied to networks created by more established organizations such as Info-14 and the Nordic Union (Nordiska förbundet). Swedish security police service Säpo confirms the increase but is focused on a smaller number of organizations. “We are primarily interested in the criminal manifestations and thus we’re talking about a handful of groups,” said Säpo analyst Ahn-Za Hagström to Expo’s Internet newspaper.

Swedes help find genetic link to men’s relationship problems.
A team of researchers from Sweden and the United States claim to have uncovered a genetic link to help explain the cause of broken relationships between men and women. According to a new study, some men carry a specific genetic variation that makes it harder for them to form lasting bonds with women. “It’s not necessarily the case that they are less capable of love. Rather it’s probably about a reduction of their social competence,” said Hasse Walum, a researcher from Karolinska Institutet. Researchers examined a specific gene, AVPR1A, as well as codes for receptors of vasopressin, a hormone found in the brain which affects behavior related to forming bonds and building relationships. Walum and his colleagues discovered that men, but not women, who have one or two copies of a specific variation of the gene, have twice as high a risk for encountering problems in their relationships or marriages. “I want to emphasize that men who carry this allele are not doomed to failure in their relationships. The effect is relatively modest. But the risks are greater than for other men. It’s possible that they are also more prone to infidelity,” said Walum.

Princess Lilian of Sweden and Wales.
She might be a Swedish royal and the Duchess of Halland, but Princess Lilian, who recently turned 93, is also one of the more illustrious daughters of the town of Swansea in Wales. Newspaper Wales recently marked the princess’ birthday by looking into her background and ancestry. Like very few other royals, Lilian was born into a working-class family in Swansea and grew up in “a tiny terraced house.” Despite meeting the king’s uncle, Prince Bertil, during the Second World War, the couple was barred from marrying by the Swedish king (several other Swedish princes had already married without the king’s permission, forfeiting their titles and rights to the throne). It was only in 1976 that the current king relented and allowed Lilian into the family. Ancestry researchers quoted by the newspaper sound thrilled with their ‘discoveries’: “We were charmed, we didn’t realize it was the most magical story. It’s a real-life fairytale. She’s loved in Sweden where she has a reputation for being a wonderful woman.”

Stockholm’s subway map – now in English.
If you’re vacationing in Stockholm but find Swedish tricky to maneuver, don’t worry. Our friends at The Local have translated Stockholm’s subway map into English! If you’re a Stockholm native, the English version might be somewhat difficult to decipher (“What on Earth is Peace Home Square? Not to mention Exhale?”), but we think you might find it as enjoyable as we did!

Four questions for Jan Guillou.
Swedish author Jan Guillou is on the carpet again. His autobiographical book “Ondskan” has been published in a new, easy-to-read version, made by Johan Werkmäster. Why did you agree to this, Jan? “I think it’s a natural course, almost a question of democracy. If you can make people with a handicap happy, then I think you should.” But the language and the style disappear don’t they? “Sure, but not the story. Of course it becomes a different work of art, but it’s the same thing with film.” Have you ever read any easy-to-read classics? “...What I read during my youth: Macbeth, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Robinson Crusoe.” Is there anything that cannot be made into easy-to-read? “Perhaps poetry and technical literature with advanced analyses.”

Best Citronsaft ever!
When life deals you lemons make… citronsaft. Chef and author Monika Ahlberg brings us what she calls “the best citronsaft ever.” You’ll need 4 lbs lemons, 4 lbs sugar, 60 grams of citric acid, 2 liters water, a bunch of fresh mint. Wash the lemons in warm water and peel them with a potato peeler. Divide the lemons and squeeze out the juice. Mix peels, juice, sugar, and citric acid in a big bowl. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the lemon-sugar mixture. Stir in the bunch of fresh mint and let the mixture sit overnight. Sift the mixture through a sieve and pour it in clean bottles. Store them in a cool place.

Bobo Stenson Revisited.
A few years back Nordstjernan sat down for an interview with jazz musician Bobo Stenson in New York. Stenson talked about his life in music, which started in Västerås when he was five years old and first sat down at a piano. “It just happened that way,” he said about becoming a musician, “I began to play more and more, and at twelve I was playing with other musicians.” Stenson lasted only one semester at the Royal College of Music: “I played much too much outside of school,” he said. Bobo Stenson and his contemporary jazz group Bobo Stenson Trio recently played at the Jazz Festival at Skeppsholmen. And their latest album “Cantando” gets 5 stars from the critic at Dagens Nyheter. We couldn’t agree more, this album’s a hit. “Cantando” will be released in the U.S. in September.

Prince of a der