Saturday, August 2, 2014

Scandinavian Almond Cake


How is it possible that it has been over a year since I posted in this blog.  I made a huge decision last year that I wanted to sell my house.  I am a single mom and wanted my kids to be able to live in a home in their school district.  They no longer need to do that so hence, the decision.  I knew it would take me a year to get my house in order, weed out a lot of things, and put it on the market.  I did all of that.  I let go of things that were very dear to me, but realized they were only possessions.  I sold a lot, gave away a lot and dumped a lot.  I had no choice since I was downsizing to an apartment.  I put my house on the market on a Friday, the first week of May.  I had an offer on Sunday.  It was that quick.   I am so grateful it sold that quickly and I am also grateful that I have a very lovely apartment that is cozy and comfortable and perfect for me and my daughters, who are only going to be here during summers and school vacations.


That does not mean that I stopped baking.  Oh no!!!!  I just didn't have time to blog about it, though I really wanted to.  I am ready to start again and this is the absolute perfect recipe to start with.  The first time I tasted this perfect cake was when I was working at The Paper Store. One of my co-workers brought it in and said her neighbor makes it all the time and always brings one over to her.  It was a cute shape, was my first thought.  But it looked kind of plain. Once I tasted it, my head exploded with flavor and the texture was so moist.  The first thing I did when I got home was go online, order myself a pan and wait for it to arrive.  buy this cool pan here

Actually, I ordered several pans since it was around Christmas time. I baked a cake in each pan and gave them away as Christmas gifts, along with the recipe.

I'm not going to say they came perfect when I first started baking this cake.  The recipe is pretty vague. I like it's simplicity, but it didn't tell me how to prepare the pan other than spray it with PAM, and that is the key to this whole thing.  I will get into that a little later in this blog.  Once I figured it all out, it took me no time whatsoever to whip this out.  There are times I wish I had more than one pan so that I can make 2 or 3 at a time, but for now I will stick to the one pan I have.  Without further ado, here is the recipe for this yummy cake.

1 1/4  cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
2/3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick melted butter



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Prepare the pan.


If you look at this picture closely, you will see lots and lots of scratches in the corners.  That is because I sprayed it with PAM like the recipe said and the cake stuck to the pan.  You can also see that it is a little bowed at the bottom of the picture.  That is because I stretched the pan, thinking the cake would come out. Because of the ridges, once it is stuck, it is stuck.  There is no getting around it.



The secret is to spray it with BUTTER PAM and then dust it with flour.  There might be some people out there who don't feel the need to dust it with flour, but it works perfectly for me, so I will continue to do it.  Here is the other secret, you must let it cool on a rack for about 35-40 minutes.  If you try to take it out sooner, it will be too hot and it will break.  If you wait longer than that, it will start to cool down too much and get stuck in the pan.  I am so happy to pass on this information so that you don't have to ruin any cakes like I did.  Of course we all still ate them, but they were not pretty.


Beat sugar, egg, almond extract and milk.


Add flour and baking powder, mix well.


Add melted butter.  Mix well.  The batter will be runny.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or cake tester to come out clean.  If it does not come out clean, add 5 minutes and so on.  I find that different ovens produce different results.



Perfection!!!  And, it smells heavenly!


I am not sure how this comes out so golden and crispy shiny, but it does every single time.


Once you let it sit for 35-40 minutes, take a butter knife and score the sides on either end.  Do not try to push the knife into each curve. Just take the knife and gently push the top of the cake down all along the long sides.  Turn the cake over and hold your hand underneath lengthwise.  As it comes out, gently catch it and place it on a cooling wrack.


Once it is cool, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.  

VARIATIONS:

For extra crunch, before pouring batter into the pan, sprinkle sliced almonds on the bottom of the pan or use 1/4 cup ground almonds.


You could cut each individual ring as a single piece of cake, but who are we kidding, we would be eating several pieces.  So, for me, a slice is about 3 rings.  This is perfection in your mouth and it makes a wonderful cake when visiting family and friends, especially during the holidays.  Enjoy!!

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