This is my first recipe from the book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly, formerly of St John now of Bread Ahead bakery, London. It’s a book I needed on my shelf, really, given the overlap with my area of interest – and the name of this blog. So thanks Rachel for the gift.
Gellatly lists this as Swiss almond cake, but I can’t quite bring myself to do that. Thing is, I’m sure this is a version of toscakaka – a Swedish almond cake (here’s a version on Poires au Chocolat). Either way, it’s delicious. A huge, almondy beast with an absurdly rich, crunchy, buttery almond topping. As with the classic toscakaka, you partially bake the batter, then add the topping, then continue baking.
200g caster sugar
4 tbsp milk (full fat)
40g plain flour
50g ground almonds
200g flaked almonds
200g unsalted butter
260g caster sugar
400g plain flour (I use Stoate & Sons stoneground, which isn’t that pale bleached colour of more mainstream flours)
1 tsp baking powder
100g double cream
1 1/2 tsp almond extract or essence*
1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 26cm springform cake tin.
2. Preheat the oven to 160C.
3. Make the topping mix by gently heating together the butter and sugar in a saucepan. When melted, add the milk, flour, ground almonds and flaked almonds and stir to combine. Put aside.
4. Make the cake batter, starting with melting the butter.
5. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and caster sugar until the colour lightens and the mix is airy. (I reduced the sugar from 300g to 260g and it was still very sweet!)
6. Beat in the melted butter, then the cream and essence (or extract!).
7. Sieve together the flour and baking powder then fold this into the batter.
8. Pour the batter into the cake tin, then bake for 25 minutes.
9. Carefully take the cake out of the oven, and gently spread the topping on.
10. Increase the heat of the oven to 180C then put the cake back in and bake for another 40 or so minutes. It’s tricky to judge when this cake is done, as the skewer may come out of the cake itself clean, but the topping will still be smeary. You want the topping itself to be browned nicely.
11. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then remove and either serve warm with cream or whatever you fancy, or allow it to cool completely.
Oh, and you might want to invite friends over to help you as it is substantial. The best bit is the edge of the topping where it’s caramellized against the tin. Good stuff, thank you Mr Gellalty.
* I’m not going to try and explain the difference here, just use what you have – preferably a natural not synthetic product)