Vintage Swedish Copper Cake Pans

Today’s post is not about food, but about my love for quality, craftsmanship, and the usual habit of looking for a bargain wherever there is one to be had, which together tend to combine into a careful examination of any flea market that I come across, the search for hidden and unappreciated things that I would know the value of – and appreciate.

Things like this.

Swedish Tin-Lined Copper Cake Pans

Like many a cooking aficionado, I covet copper cookware.  I don’t necessarily covet it for cooking everything I can imagine in it (I am a big believer in using the right tool for the job), but I love the looks of it, and it is reputed to be better for doing a lot, if not all, kitchen jobs in.  Ah scratch it, I’d want it for the looks alone!

In any case, during my last trip to the local flea market, I spotted the gleam of copper and had to stop – and there they were, dusty and tarnished and rather sad looking, stacked together with an old, dried-on paper sticker (the sort that leave ugly residue when removed) on the side saying “from 1930s”.  No price.  I initially read the “30s” as the price (thinking, 30sek or Swedish crowns), so I offered a 50sek bill, which the seller gave me no change to – and when I looked confused, she pointed to the sticker and I realised that it wasn’t actually the price.  So when I apologized and enquired as to the price, she said that she’d meant to sell them for 20 sek each (~ €2), but that she’d let me have all three for 50.  Accidental bargaining, yay!

I took them home, removed the ^!£”%!^@ sticker (which took scrubbing and liberal application of household benzene – I keep it around for just this sort of thing), and polished them gently with a bit of salt and 24% vinegar, and the gleam came back near-instantaneously.

I’d originally assumed from their construction that they may be French, until a somewhat-indignant Swedish friend took it upon himself to explain to me that Sweden has had its own copper mining, and that, in fact, it has been the largest in Europe for over a millennium (see Great Copper Mountain), and its own copper industry for as long as anyone can remember (or at least ten centuries!), and that in his opinion, most copper items found in Sweden are most likely to be local.  Putting it that way, I have to agree with the voice of reason that these are, indeed, local.  Makes them no less attractive to me in any way – more so, perhaps.  I like things which have a local history, and it’s rather fitting that they decorate the walls under the tall, tall ceilings of our 1940s-built kitchen.

Used, aged and gorgeous!

So now, I am torn – with a tested cake recipe, I could now try baking in these (I have checked and the tin lining appears to be in good condition on at least two out of three), or I could hammer tiny hooks into kitchen walls near the ceiling and hang these up for decoration, or I guess I could take them down occasionally and bake in them, and then re-polish and hang them back up… I may have to go with option #3 here.  The temtation to do both is just too great.

There is no real moral to the story – well, beyond “if you see a flea market, check it”, but I figure that ought to be obvious!

That, and maybe, like with any other part of living space, if you do not love your kitchen enough (though I certainly do!), perhaps it just needs some prettier, interesting things in it which speak to you, to make it a more welcoming, happier space for you to spend time in – and therefore, to cook.

So, happy bargain-hunting and happy cooking to you all!


4 thoughts on “Vintage Swedish Copper Cake Pans

  1. Those are beautiful! And you certainly did a good job of cleaning them up … if you hadn’t said they were from a flea market, I’d have thought they were brand new. I love flea markets. Some stuff are so horribly old and worn, you just have to try see past all that gunk to recognize a good quality piece. I wouldn’t have the heart to use these, esp after it’s so nice and spanking clean now.

    1. Precisely! Flea markets are like an adventure in seeing-through-mess to find the few valuables!

      Regarding using these – I’m tempted to, but I have a horrified thought that the cake (despite greasing and flouring and the fact that it drew away from the previous pan I’d baked it in to test) may stick to the inside of them, and I’d have to scrub it out. We’ll see how brave I feel next time around!

  2. Did you ever bake in them? I have a lovely, old tin-lined copper mold pan but I’ve never baked in it. I think it might be safe as long a the tin is in good shape. Any advice?

    1. It should be safe if the tin on yours is in good shape, but I never baked in mine – they are now hanging decoratively in my kitchen. I also would caution against baking at high temperatures, because tin melts easily (at 230C), which shouldn’t be a problem with small cakes that don’t require high-temperature baking.

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