Monday, June 27, 2016

Visiting Cake

When you have a really, really good cookbook, like any wonderful work of art you return to it over and over throughout the years and discover new things. For me Dorie Greenspan's 2006 Baking: From My Home To Yours is such a cookbook. Well written, flawless recipes, beautiful photographs, and the 'Playing Around' feature with suggestions for how to give the recipe a new twist are all so appealing. Best of all these are baked goods that you just want to eat!

This past weekend we went visiting and stayed overnight at Natashya's home  near Sacramento. Saturday morning I woke up early and baked a Swedish Visiting Cake from Dorie's book. I baked it in a pie pan and, truthfully, it almost didn't make the trip because it smelled so wonderful that Sweetie and I wanted to eat it as soon as it came out of the oven!

This is a simple cake, one layer and not a tall layer either. The top is golden with a darker crispy edge and a scattering of sliced almonds and sprinkle of sugar to dress it as much as it's dressed. It's the combined fragrance of lemon, vanilla and almond that make it so irresistible. We had some with tea and coffee in the afternoon and it was enjoyed by all.

You can make this cake pretty quickly. By the time your oven has preheated, you can have warmed the eggs in a bowl of water, melted the butter (or margarine in my case) in the microwave, zested the lemon and mixed it with the sugar, whisked the batter ingredients together and folded in the flour and butter. It only takes about 20-25 minutes to bake and is ready 5 minutes later. Remember this one when you get a hankering for a quick cake that tastes divine. Remember it, too, when you are going visiting. I can assure you that it would be a hard hearted hostess who could turn this cake away.

Swedish Visiting Cake
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
Serves 8 - 10

1 cup sugar, plus a little more (1-2 teaspoons) for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons, 4 oz.) margarine, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy ovenproof skillet, a 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 our fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Whisk in the salt, vanilla and almond extracts.

Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Then fold in the melted butter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Scatter the top with the sliced almonds and the extra sugar. I also used about a 1/2 teaspoon of sparkling sugar for extra crunch.

Bake the cake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the edges. The inside will remain moist, even slightly damp. That is OK.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes. It will be a fairly flat cake. After the five minutes have passed, run a thin knife around the side and bottom of the cake to loosen it. I used a small offset spatula to loosen the bottom since I was transporting the cake in the pan.

You can serve the cake warm or cooled, directly from the pan or turned out onto a serving plate.

Well wrapped, this cake will keep for about 5 days at room temperature or for up to 2 months in the freezer. Good luck on getting it to last that long. Hard not to eat the whole thing at one go after the first 5 minutes of smells that good.

1 comment :

  1. ...and DELICIOUS it was ("was" is the operative term here).