Friday, January 9, 2009

Swedish Visiting Cake

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for a theme or a name. I love holidays, all things seasonal, and theme parties. My last birthday party was poker themed and my cube at work is decorated with different nautical accessories.

So when I came across Dorie's Swedish Visiting Cake, a cake apparently traditionally made for Swedish women when their friends were visiting, I really wanted to make it. It looked delicious. And this weekend was perfect, because I was going to visit my best friend who lives in Union Square! Could a title ever be more appropriate! I planned to make the cake and bring it to her.

Making the cake was so easy. Honestly, figuring out what to wear in the morning takes more effort (well at least for me it does!) You don't even need to pull out the mixer. Since the recipe calls for melted butter, a simple whisk will do.

And the results show that sometimes the simplest things are the best! The cake was plain, sweet, with a hint of almond flavor and lemon, and a moist texture. I'd recommend going easy on the almond extract, as too much can make it taste chemically (or maybe that's just the grocery-store brand extract I'm using...whoops). Anyway the cake wound up being so good I may not have actually shared it with my friend...oops...but I bought her a bottle of wine when I was in the city! Soo let's just say that substitutes...

Swedish Visiting Cake, from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours
1 cup sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract*
1/2 pure almond extract*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch round cake pan or pie pan (I used a cake pan).

Pour the sugar into a medium bowl, and sprinkle the lemon zest over. Rub the zest into the sugar until sugar is aromatic. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in the salt and extracts.

Using a spatula, stir in the flour, then fold in the melted butter.
Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with sugar and scatter with almonds.

Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until it's golden and a little crisp on the outside. The inside will be moist. Remove from oven, let cool five minutes, and then use a thin knife to loosen the cake. Serve. Can be kept for about 5 days if stored airtight.

*You can use any flavor extract you want, or leave extracts out altogether.

Note: I tested my cake with a toothpick and it was done at 27 minutes, but not golden on top. I preferred that rustic, browned look, so I broiled it for just a minute. But if you do that, watch carefully! It browns very quickly!!

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