Swedish Almond Caramel Cake
As a seasonal cook February can be a hard month when it comes to cake baking. There isn't a lot on offer other than forced rhubarb and blood oranges (and I've not spotted any of the latter so far this year, perhaps there is a limited supply with the poor weather conditions in the Mediterranean these last few months?). So I find myself turning to simple flavours for my baking needs using store cupboard essentials. Knowing I had several packets of flaked almonds lurking in the larder after the Christmas cake baking marathon (my husband makes seven to give away every year instead of presents), I started looking for possible ways to use them up. Finally I remembered the idea of the traditional Swedish cake Toscakaka, essentially a simple sponge base topped with an almond praline. It's a little rustic looking, but looks are most definitely deceiving. It's crunchy, chewy, moist and most important of all, utterly delicious - the perfect cake for an afternoon pick me up.
Ingredients for the cake:
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 medium sized free-range eggs
140g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp milk
Ingredients for the topping:
100g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
90g granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp milk
100g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until they are pale and fluffy.
Mix the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a second bowl.
Gently stir the flour mixture in to the egg mixture.
Add the melted butter and the milk and stir into the mixture until you get a smooth batter.
Pour into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the cake has just started to set.
Now to make the topping:
Put the butter, sugar, flour, milk, salt and almonds in a medium sized saucepan.
Heat gently until everything has mixed in and stir continuously. Let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes and it will start to thicken.
Remove from the heat.
Pour topping over the top of the cake, smooth over, then pop back in the oven for about 15 minutes until the topping is a lovely golden shade of brown.
Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and let it cool to room temperature before eating.