Friday, February 10, 2012

A Visiting Cake!

This cake is called a 'Swedish Visiting Cake'.  And, yes, I made it almost exclusively for the name. 
Well, that and the fact that the Bicoastal Chef from the East Coast paid me a visit out here in the West.

This cake is very simple: the flavor base is lemon, vanilla, and almonds.  Unlike far too many dry cakes I make, this cake is delightfully moist.  And topped with a nice layer of crunchy almonds.

And, did I mention you can make it with one bowl and mix it together in approximately 5 minutes.  Yes, it is a wonder cake.  Thank you, Dorie Greenspan.

Start by rubbing the sugar together and lemon zest.
Next, add in the eggs.  Then add the salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

Then, stir in the flour. 

And, last stir in the melted butter (yup, melted, so you don't have to allow for time for it to come to room temp).

Pour the batter into a buttered (and floured) 9 inch pan (cake pan, cast-iron skillet, pie plate... whatever you have).

Scatter some sliced almonds of top.
Pop it in the oven and 30 minutes later you have a wonderful little cake on your hands.

The cake may be a bit hard to get out of the pan, so don't be afraid to serve it straight from the pan.

And, enjoy this lovely way to let your visitors know how delighted you are that they have come to see you!

Swedish Visiting Cake (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) melted butter
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds [next time, I will up it to 1/3-1/2 cup, I loved this part]

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

Pour the sugar into a medium bowl.  Add the lemon zest and blend the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Whisk in the salt and the extracts, if you're using them [which you should!].  Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour.  Finally, fold in the melted butter.

Scrape the batter into the skillet/pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar.  If you're using a cake pan or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist.  Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it.  You can serve the cake, warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turn out onto a serving place.

Serves 8-10