Body Cakes (Kroppkakor)

meat,potatoes — by Johanna

body_cake

I have never participated in a Body Cake competition; I don’t think I have the body for it. It’s not about how well or pretty you make them, the winner is the one who eats the most! They are heavy but still one of my favorites of the Swedish traditional comfort foods. There are many different variations of it; some areas do it with raw potatoes and some like them as I do below.

6-7 big potatoes
one egg
300 ml (1.2 cups) flour
one tea spoon salt
200 g (0.45 lb) bacon or salted pork
onion
one teaspoon salt and some pepper

Peel the potatoes and boil them until they are done. Mash the potatoes and mix with the egg and flour. Season with salt. Cut the bacon and the onion in small pieces. Start to sauté the onions. Add the bacon and sauté them together until the bacon is crispy. Season with some pepper.

Form the potatoes mixture into a big roll. Slice the roll in pieces. Press your thumb in the middle and fill it with some of the bacon mixture. Cover the filling and make a ball of it. The size can be a little bit smaller than a tennis ball. Repeat the procedure until you are done.

Heat up water with salt and when it’s boiling, drop some of the body cakes into the water. When the body cakes floats up, boil them for about five minutes.

Serve with lingonberry jam or cranberry jam, melted butter, grated carrots and a glass of beer. I also always have extra bacon pieces on the side. Leftover Body Cakes are great to slice and sauté the day after.

By the way I am now back in East Village from my lovely stay in Sweden, with some great stops in Copenhagen and London.

(This kind of Body Cake you can call Småländska Kroppkakor. This recipe is rewritten from a recipe in the Swedish cookbook Vår Kok Bok, 1975)

32 Comments »

  1. jim in north carolina:

    hi….i am amazed at how different your recipe
    is to my mom’s.

    we grew up making “krep-krockers” as we pronounced it.

    i very much enjoyed your rendition.

    thank you for the education. jim (yankee) in n.carolin

  2. Johanna:

    hello Jim, I would love to know the differences between the two recopies.

  3. Stacie Sich:

    Johanna,

    We have always had Kroppakor for Christmas dinner. But here we have always called them Krubs, or at least that is what has been passed down. The recipe I use has ground fresh potatoes in it, and we use bacon, ham and onions in the middle. Recently a relative came up with a recipe where you mix all the potato and bacon mixture and bake them in small loaf pans in the oven.

    Stacie

  4. Johanna:

    Thanks Stacie,
    It’s nice to hear about the Krubs. Your relative’s recipe reminds me of another Swedish dish that they call Lufsa. Lufsa is baked in the oven and is a mixture of fresh ground potatoes, bacon, milk, egg and some flour. This is in a way similar to Kroppkakor and easier to do when you make it for several people.

  5. kent:

    Thanks for the recipe on kroppkakor.Jag har bott i madisonville,kentucky i 6 år nu.Jag gillar att laga mat.
    jag vill laga lite mer svensk mat till min amerikanska fru.Jag har mina rötter i dalarna och norrland och vi har något som heter kams,jag älskar det.Vet du om receptet är lika? Vad jag kommer ihåg så tror jag kamsen är lite större eller så är det bara namnet.

  6. Johanna:

    Hej Kent,
    Har aldrig hört talas om Kams. Men genom att gå till Wikipedia http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitepalt fick jag reda på att Kams är Södra Norrlands namn på Palt och man äter dem med messmör. Palten och Kamsen görs på rå potatis men man använder oftast varken ägg eller lök i recepten. Om Kamsen eller Palten är större än Kroppkakan vet jag inte.
    Lycka till med de svenska måltiderna i USA. Min erfarenhet är att det går hem otroligt bra.

  7. June:

    Thank you for the Kroppkakan recipe. My grandmother handed down many Swedish recipes to my mother. But neither Grandmother nor my Mom ever needed to have the recipe on paper they kept recipes in her head and this was one recipe that I did not ask her to write down for me. Theirs was raw potato kroppkaka recipe. I will try your recipe also I like the idea of baking them in place of boiling.

  8. Doug:

    Hi.

    Back in the ’50’s when I was growing up my mom, dad, aunt, and uncle had a tradition of making a year’s supply of Kroppkakor every Washington’s birthday. Your recipe sounds similar to ours, except we always used salt pork rather than bacon. Also, we never served the Kroppkakor with ligonberry jam, but typically had it as a side dish with a meal. Most often we would slice the kroppkakor and fry them and then slather them with butter.

  9. Johanna:

    June,
    I have similar experiences with my mother and grandmothers. But my great-grandmother, who I never met, wrote down recipes in a small book. This book is now with me. Unfortunately I can’t read all her handwriting but it’s a great treasure anyway.

    Doug,
    I am nearly sure that the original “kroppkakor” recipe had salted pork instead of bacon. My mother and the “kroppkakor” recipe in my cookbook also suggest salted pork. The salted pork really makes it complete, so thanks Doug for bringing it up. Next time I will ask my favorite butcher if they have some.

  10. Fran:

    Johanna, My Great-Great Grandmother brought this recipe from Sweden. Her son married a German girl. She made this and instead of using bacon, we fry diced up salt pork. We serve it with pork roast and sauerkraut. This has become a family favorite through the generations. My sons now enjoy it also. Our recipe is as follows:

    2 Cups Milk
    1 egg
    1 T. sugar
    a little nutmeg

    Beat this well together. Mash 5 meduim sized boiled potatoes. Add 1 Cup bread crumbs. Mix enough flour to make a stiff dough as for biscuits. Cut salt pork(I use 3#) in small squares. Fry until brown. Roll dough to about 1/2″ thickness and cut in circles(about 3″ diameter). Roll into balls, placing salt pork in the middle. Boil until floating. Then 10 minutes longer.

  11. Annalisa Carlson:

    My Grandmother was from Oland and she made her Kroppkakor like this: Raw grated potatos, small amount cooked mashed potatos ( cold ) with cheese cloth strain out water. Mix small amout of flour to firm up dough. Meat mix: salt pork, steak, onion, and all spice, chopped fine. Salted water at a soft boil put in dumplings, when the come to the top there are done. Cut in half put butter on top..EAT..We just made them today! Tomorrow we will fry them in a pan in butter..The Best:)

  12. LaVonne Carlson:

    My husbands family made theirs from fresh grated potatoes. After grating you place the potatoes in culindares to drain. Mixing to help drain the water from the potatoes. When most of the water is drained, place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Pour the water of the starch and add the starch back into the potatoes. You then add flour to the mixture. It should be enough to hold the dumpling together. making a large dumpling (size of tennis ball) push into the middle a nice size chunk of salt pork. Oh forget to tell you to get the kettle of water boiling, then reduce flame as a rapid boil will make a mess of the dumpling. Lower into water and let boil until they come to the top. My mother in-law would take the thick water from the pan when all were cooked and add cinnamon and a small amount of sugar as a gravy. Always served them with fresh cooked cranberries. Next day cut in half or thirds and fry in butter on both sides until crisp and pour milk over and let cook until thickened.

  13. Johanna:

    Fran, Annalisa and LaVonne, I am so happy you are sharing your great and mouth-watering recipes of Kroppkakor for me and everyone who is coming here. I have to try them all. Thanks!

  14. Robin:

    Hi,
    I remember in 1964 I left Scotland for a few months to work in Sweden in a sawmill. We worked hard and the single guys ate Monday to Friday in a local hotel in a small Smoland village at 6 pm. The recipes cirulated weekly and thursday i think was the Kroppkakor with lingonberyy jam day. Two huge balls that I couldn’t eat after the first lot and so I had a salad instead. I think the cook was rather upset and couldn’t understand why I didn’t like her beautiful Kroppkakor. But I would like to try them now, I think I have wider tastes now than when I was nineteen.

    By the way my son who is just 20 has been studying at Lund for oen year on an exchange and has never seen Kroppkakor. Oh dear, these people from Skona.

  15. Ina:

    Hello! The most importand thing to have on kroppkakor is allspice, whit out it, it is not going to taste as it shoud.

    Good luck!

    Ina

  16. Karin:

    I agree with Ina. Allspice is what gives the
    kroppkakor their authentic taste, whether the Oland
    type (made with raw potatoes) or the “white” kind,
    made with mashed potatoes.

    Karin

  17. Marilyn:

    Thank you for the Kroppkakor recipes. I remember my grandmother and our moms making them for Xmas Eve dinner and our husbands going Yuk! until they tasted them. Then there were none left for us. We must get together and make them again. What wonderful memories you bring back. Thanks

  18. Kendra:

    With Norweign and German blood my parents we have a slight variation of what we lovingly call “Krub”!
    We use only raw potatoes, mixing in flour, salt and pepper. Then the “balls” are dropped into the boiling water to cook. We serve them with butter, and bacon on the side.
    At ages 1 and 3, our grandsons love it also!

  19. Dave:

    What a treasure. When I was a boy, a man who lived next door, “Grampa Lundstrom” made these things that I thought were called “crumpcrockers.” They were awesome. We ate then with milk & butter poured over the top. I’ve missed them frequently since he died and no one out here in Denver had ever heard of such a thing. They were snow white, like his hair, and had salty pork inside. I can’t wait for the weather to cool so I can try these recipes here.

  20. Philip:

    If you are using some grated raw potatoes in your mixture, you are making the Öland variant of this dish.

  21. Carl Eric:

    I think Krubs are the Norwegian equivalent of Swedish kroppkakors. I just made some today and steamed the Russet potatoes in 2 inch cubes instead of boiling them. This made for perfect consistency when I then riced the potatoes. It is hard to overcook the potatoes if you steam them – whereas if you over boil them you have a very thin dough that is hard to manage or correct with extra flour. And the potato flavor is more intense. I then followed Johanna’s recipe which is just like our family recipe. I added a bit of nutmeg to the dough which I will now always do. Is the suggested allspice added to the filling or the dough? Sounds good and I am guessing it goes in the filling! They are far better cut in half and fried after boiling. When eaten right from the pot they are delicious but there is a raw flour taste that simmering does not cook through. Years ago on a camping trip we added fresh basil to the melted butter. Not very Swedish but delicious nonetheless. This has become standard with one side of the family. This is comfort food at its best! Thank you Johanna

  22. JC:

    I have enjoyed all of the recipes here and am amazed by the variations to one of my Swedish family’s favorite winter dishes! Our version is very different from the rest on here.

    Here goes:
    3/4 lb Bone-in Pork Chops
    1 Smoked Ham Hock
    6 Peeled Potatoes
    1 Onion
    Water
    Flour mixture (flour, salt, pepper, allspice)
    4 Beef Boullion Cubes
    2 Bay Leaves
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Remove meat from the bone and drop bones into a large stock pot. Add ham hock, onion, beef boullion, bay leaves and 2/3 stock pot of water. Heat to boiling.

    While you are waiting for your water to boil, dice pork meat and set aside. Also, dice onion. Chop potatoes and place into blender. Puree potatoes adding 1 potato at a time. After potatoes are pureed, place them into a strainer to remove liquid. Place potatoes into large bowl and mix flour mixture in 1/2 cup at a time until it forms a thick paste consistency.

    Get your hands wet and place one scoop of dumpling mixture into your hand. Flatten mixture in your hand and add several pieces of pork to the center. Form a ball. Drop dumpling into stock pot mixture ONLY after it has reached a low boil. Remember to rewet your hands after every dumpling or they will stick. After you have dropped the last dumpling into the stock pot, salt and pepper well. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 1 hour.

    We use the liquid that has thickened during the cooking process as a gravy over the dumplings and eat rolls with lingonberry jam as a side.

  23. JC:

    One mistake…the onion has been added to the stock pot and doesn’t need to be chopped again! Sorry!!

  24. maria:

    Hi, you should use allspice insted of normal peppar :-) Then you get the real Swedish tast!!!

  25. Denise:

    My Norwegian family also used the term “Krub” but we don’t use any potoatoes. A mixutre of blood, water, salt and flour made into a large dumpling filled with pieces of cooked side pork and summer sausage and boiled for an hour then eaten with melted butter or fried with cream.

  26. Kevin:

    Denise or someone else,

    Do you have a recipe for the dumpling with blood mixture. My grandmother made it that way versus using a bag, but no one in the family remembers how she got it thick enough using blood.

    Thank you

  27. Jen:

    I used all spice! as someone else said it is true to the real swedish taste… Cant get the potatos right though!!

  28. Johanna:

    yes allspice is great!
    The potatoes can’t be too “watery” so fresh potatoes are not any good. I suggest to use the kind of potato that works for mashed potatoes.

  29. Gloria Johnson:

    I’ve been searching for a recipe my husband’s family referred to as doughbellys. Nothing was ever written down and anyone who made them has long passed on. This is probably the closest thing I’ve found, however they stuffed them with small swedish meatballs. I was under the impression I HAD to have a potatoe ricer to make them, so I may just surprise my husband with some this week.
    Anyway, Thank you!

  30. Johanna:

    Hi Gloria,
    This makes me really happy to hear. Although I have never heard of doughbellys or body cakes stuffed with meatballs.

  31. Lise Rasmussen Simring:

    Thanks for posting this! I have both Swedish and Norwegian relatives, so this was our traditional Christmas meal. It is so labor intensive, that it is hard to do more than once per year. My father insisted on using a brick of salt pork instead of bacon, and it is difficult to dice. The main difference with our family recipe and the one you posted is adding allspice into the saltpork/onion mixture while it is frying.

    We also always made many extra so we could cut them in half and fry them in butter and add extra filling as topper the next morning. What delicious glutteny! I don’t eat pork anymore, so this is a dish I miss terribly and I’ve never found any good substitute. We’ve tried it with veggie bacon, but it just isn’t the same. Any ideas are welcome!

  32. Johanna:

    And thank you Lise for sharing your experience with kroppkakor. I think it’s hard to substitute the bacon. But, I suggest mushrooms, sauteed with plenty of butter. It will be a total different thing but I think it will work really well.

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