I was gifted a lovely cook book from a friend of mine entitled: Scandinavian Classic Baking by Pat Sinclair. In the book I discovered a beautiful almond cake I have never heard of before, The Norwegian Toscakake.
Almonds are a staple in Scandinavian Desserts. The Kransekake and the Fyrstekake consist mainly of almonds, and there are many other cakes that require marzipan. I once asked a Norwegian friend of mine, “Why all of the Almonds? It’s not like Almonds are native to the Nordic region!” We both concluded that Almonds keep well in storage, and could be used anytime of the year. Who knows, but they sure are delicious!
Ingredients for the cake:
1 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp. of Salt
1 tsp. of Almond Extract
4 large eggs separated
Ingredients for the topping:
1/2 cup of sugar
2 T. of Flour
1/2 cup of Butter
2 T. Milk
3/4 cup Sliced almonds
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
Separate the eggs and beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Also, whip the egg yolks so they are pale in color. Fold the egg whites into the beaten egg yolks.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Sift together and fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in three additions.
Take the melted and cool butter along with the almond extract and fold these ingredients into the mixture, making the batter homogenous. Pour into prepared 9 inch cake or springform pan.
Bake 350 degreed F for about 25 minutes.
For the topping, place butter, milk, flour and sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens a bit. Add the almonds and extract. Generously pour over the baked cake and broil until it has browned. (1-2 minutes).
“Tosca”, from what I have gathered could mean many different things. Some sources suggest that the cake is named after Puccini’s Opera, and others say it refers to the praline-like topping.
This cake uses whipped egg whites, which makes the sponge light and an excellent density. The topping is poured over the kake after it is done baking and then broiled again to obtain a hard shell and a great texture contrast. This cake is excellent with coffee, and very easy to make. I think the next time I make a Toscakake I will add some coconut or try different nuts in the praline topping, and serve it with some cream and berries.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates Scandinavian Baking! There are many recipes worth trying.