The audible crack that comes from slicing into the outer brittle layer of this cake is most satisfying. There’s a wonderful game of contrasts happening here with the soft, cushion-like sponge laying beneath an arbor of flaked almonds bound together with a buttery caramel. This cake is my version of the popular Scandinavian toscakaka. When making the cake, it might feel a little odd to place something that feels quite heavy on top of a cake that is just set, but follow through confidently and you’ll be rewarded greatly.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Food styling: Benjamina Ebuehi
Photography: Holly Wulff-Petersen
Season: Year Round
For the cake
150 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
150 g caster sugar
75 ml buttermilk
70 g unsalted butter, melted
For the topping
150 g flaked almonds
120 g salted butter (or if using unsalted add a 1/4 tsp of flaked sea salt)
120 g light brown sugar
3 tbsp double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160 fan. Grease a springform or loose-bottomed 9-inch (23-cm) cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder and cardamom in a small bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer or electric whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are thick and pale. The eggs need to reach ribbon stage: when you lift up the whisk attachment, the batter should leave a trail on the surface that holds its shape for a few seconds before dissolving back into itself.
Gently fold in half of the flour with a rubber spatula, being careful not to knock out too much air. Pour in the buttermilk and continue to fold the batter until the buttermilk is fully incorporated. Fold in the rest of the flour, ensuring there aren’t any pockets of flour hiding at the bottom of the bowl. Carefully pour the melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is just set. There shouldn’t be any wobble in the middle, as it needs to be firm enough to hold the weight of the almonds.
To make the topping, lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until needed. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar, cream and vanilla and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the almonds, ensuring they’re evenly coated.
Pour the mixture on top of the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to very gently spread it evenly over the surface. Put the cake back into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before running a palette knife around the edge of the cake to stop it from sticking to the sides of the pan. Let it cool completely before removing it from the pan and slicing.
There’s definitely more than one way to cake – a simple loaf cake enjoyed with a cuppa, or a lavishly decorated chocolate cake layered with and slathered in rich chocolate buttercream for a celebration. Benji’s book has got you for both, and more.