I first tried Swedish almond cake topped with toasted almonds at a friend’s birthday party. Her mom, who flew in from Sweden, made this amazing dessert. When I took a bite I could not believe my taste buds. The first words out of my mouth, after swallowing of course, were: “Can I have the recipe?” To my surprise the answer was NO! Don’t you hate that? I was crushed. Indeed, she was serious. The recipe stumped me for over two years. TWO YEARS!!!
For that reason, I made it my mission in life to successfully replicate this “secret recipe”. But how? For starters, I did not even know the name of the dessert. I was stuck! But, I persisted and found it. So here I am, many moons later, and I think I finally figured it out, sort of! This is MY version of Swedish almond cake topped with toasted almonds.
So, how did I figure it out? Well, my friend’s mom returned for a visit and naturally there was another party and yes, Swedish almond cake with toasted almonds was on the table! This time around, I examined it carefully, without attracting the attention of the other guests, of course. Then, my husband leaned over and said: “I think I know how she made the pastry crust: egg whites, sugar, and almonds.” I in turn said, ” I think I know what’s in the almond filling.” Voila, mystery solved.
Swedish almond cake, I’ve got your number! Well, kind of. You see, it’s not EXACTLY the same, but similar. Or, as they say in Asia, “Same same, but different! I am not kidding.
And now for a useful culinary tip: by all means, whenever possible, use an European butter because American butter has a higher water content than can cause your filling to turn out thin.
So, how do I know that my version of Swedish almond cake topped with toasted almonds succeeded? I took some into work, handed a piece to my friend’s husband and asked for his opinion. He took a bite, thought for a moment and finally said ” This is very good, and if I had never tasted my mother in law’s, yours would be excellent.” I think I did OK!
- Almond pastry:
- 1 lb. ground almonds (do not remove skins)
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- 7 egg whites
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup flour
- dash of Kosher salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cups sugar
- 7 egg yolks beaten
- ¼ tsp. almond extract
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 4 Tbsp slivered almonds toasted
- Preheat oven to 400'F
- First, make the almond pastry base: Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with vanilla, sugar and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks, like for meringue.
- Place almonds in a food processor then grind until they resemble a coarse meal. Combine the ground almonds with the flour. Next, gently fold the almond meal and flour mixture into the meringue until they are thoroughly combined.
- Next, line a 13"x 9" baking dish with parchment paper. Pour the almond mixture into the baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow the "cake" to come to room temperature, then invert onto a large cutting board.
- To prepare the filling: In a double boiler heat cream and sugar. Slowly add in the beaten yolks while whisking. Then,stir in the almond extract and slowly stir in the unsalted butter until it all melts into the custard.
- Next, transfer the custard to a bowl and place in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours.
- Toast the almonds until slightly brown.
- Finally, to assemble the dessert, cut the almond cake in half lengthwise. Spread half of the frosting and top with the other half. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.