Caramel Almond and Hazelnut Cake (Toscakaka)

Toscakaka

I found this recipe on the beautiful Poires Au Chocolat blog, who in turn adapted it from the Scandilicious book. Toscakaka is a traditional Swedish cake. The Danes and the Swedes have a kind of friendly rivalry going on. If you have seen the crime drama The Bridge, this shows it pretty well.  One thing Danes and Swedes do see eye to eye on is cake.

Coffee and cake is an institution in both Denmark and Sweden. There are eight lovely bakeries within a ten minute walk of my flat in Denmark, and on weekends they are filled with people stocking up on cakes and bread. Casual high street bakeries are something I can remember from my childhood in Ireland, but they are few and far between these days. Bakeries are starting up again in Dublin now, but they tend to be more for special occasions than everyday.My favourite Aarhus bakery is SchweizerBageriet which sells the loveliest pastries. Locals complain about how expensive it is, but for me, spending a euro on a slice of homemade Wienerbrod (the Danish word for what we call a Danish, which they call a Viennese pastry) is a bargain.

In the South of Jutland, home to all of Denmark’s craziest food traditions, they have a traditional coffee and cake afternoon with sixteen homemade cakes. It’s the ironman of baking and eating, in which only the strongest and most disciplined can triumph.

This cake is very rich and decadent despite looking a bit austere. It lasts well in the fridge for a few days but it’s nicest when fresh.  Traditionally it is just made with almonds, but I ran out, and had some hazelnuts knocking around and I think the combination worked well. It could be great with some toasted pine nuts as well.Serve with crème fraîche, if that’s your kind of thing.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 75ml buttermilk
  • 75g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g plain/cream flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch salt

Topping

  • 150g mixed hazelnuts and flaked almonds
  • 125g butter
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 50ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160 C.
  • When it heats up a bit, toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden 8-10 minutes (keep an eye that they don’t burn).
  • Toast the hazelnuts in a saucepan over medium heat, then roll around in a tea towel roughly to remove the skins.
  • Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
  • Melt the butter for the cake in a saucepan, then allow to cool.
  • Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together for a few minutes in a bowl big enough for all the cake ingredients until they are dense, increased in volume and a light yellow-cream colour.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in another bowl.
  • Sift in about 1/3 of the flour mix to the egg mix.
  • Gently stir together with a spatula.
  • Add half the buttermilk, and stir in.
  • Sift in the next 1/3 of flour.
  • Add the remaining buttermilk.
  • Add the last bit of flour, then stir in the melted butter.
  • Stir the whole cake mix together gently so it’s well combined.
  • Pour into a lined, greased 9″ springform tin.
  • Bake until set and starting to brown on top, around 30 minutes.
  • While it is baking, make the topping by melting all the ingredients together over a medium heat (you can use the same saucepan from melting the butter for the cake).
  • Stir as the ingredients melt and blend together, and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes while stirring.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  • Turn up the oven to 200 C.
  • Pour the topping over the cake, smoothing the nuts evenly over the cake surface with a knife.
  • Bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until the topping is dark brown and bubbling.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack in its tin for a few minutes.
  • To remove, run a knife around the tin first (yes it is a springform, but the glaze dribbles down the side fusing the edge of the cake to the tin).
  • Leave to cool and serve at room temperature.
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9 thoughts on “Caramel Almond and Hazelnut Cake (Toscakaka)

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