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Prep 25min (+1hr 10min cooling time)Bake 40-45minMakes 8-10 serves
One of Scandinavia’s most loved cakes, both Sweden and Denmark have their own version of this wonderful cake (and, like all great cakes, the origins are unclear). A rich, buttery, moist cake topped with a crisp caramel-almond Florentine-like topping it is simply too good to care too much about its origins!
Melted butter, to grease
50g (5¼oz) butter, at room temperature
110g (½ cup/4oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
150g (1 cup/5¼oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
80ml (⅓ cup/2½fl oz) milk
Vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, to serve
Caramel almond topping
70g (2½oz) butter, cubed
75g (⅓ cup/2½oz) caster sugar
70g (⅔ cup/2½oz) flaked almonds
2½ tablespoons (50ml/1¾fl oz) pure cream
1½ tablespoons plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F (150°C/300°F fan-forced). Grease a 22cm/8¾in springform tin with melted butter and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined. Add the milk and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat on lowest possible speed until just combined.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth with the back of a spoon. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until almost cooked.
- Meanwhile, when the cake has been in the oven for about 20 minutes, make the topping. Combine the butter, sugar, almonds, cream and flour in a medium saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to stir over medium heat until well combined and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes or until thickened slightly.
- Remove the cake from the oven and increase the temperature to 200°C/400°F (180°C/350°F fan-forced). Quickly pour the caramel almond topping evenly over the top of the cake and then use the back of a metal spoon to spread evenly to cover the top. Return the cake immediately to the oven and bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until the cake is cooked through and the topping is golden brown.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a spatula around the outside of the cake to release the topping from the pan. Carefully remove the sides of the pan and set the cake aside for 1 hour or until cooled completely.
- Serve in wedges with ice-cream or cream.
Prep 20minBake 35minMakes 8-10 serves
Much more like a cake than a pie, this apple-dense traditional Norwegian dessert is comforting, homely and can warm the soul with just one mouthful – especially when served straight from the oven in generous scoops and topped with ice-cream or a large dollop of thick cream. Don’t overlook the fact that it is also pretty good served like any other cake, cooled and in wedges. The trick to this recipe is not to over-mix – only mix until the wet and dry ingredients are evenly combined.
- Melted butter, to grease
- 110g (¾ cup) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 110g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 3 medium (about 150g each) apples (such as golden delicious, royal gala or pink lady), peeled, cored and cut into 2 cm pieces
- 80g slivered almonds, toasted
- 100g butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
- Vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm springform tin with melted butter and line the base with baking paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, apple and almonds. Use a fork to whisk together the butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula to mix until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Stand the pie in the tin for 5–10 minutes before removing the sides of the tin. Serve warm in scoops or at room temperature in wedges with ice-cream or cream.
Prep 40min (+1hr 15min proving time)Bake 25minMakes about 16
The Swedes love their sweet buns so much they have even declared 4 October National Cinnamon Bun Day! These more-ish cinnamon-almond filled buns are the quintessential accompaniment to a fika (or coffee). The traditional twisting and shaping of them may seem a little tricky to start with but follow my instructions and watch this quick video and you’ll have it mastered in no time.
Ingredientsmelted butter, to grease
1 egg, lightly whisked, to glaze
flaked almonds or pearl sugar (see Baker's Tips), to sprinkle
Dough450g (3 cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
100g butter, diced
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
Almond filling80g butter, at room temperature
50g (½ cup) almond meal
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for 3–5 minutes or until the milk is lukewarm. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork, until the butter melts. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it (see Baker's Tips).
- Brush a large bowl with melted butter to grease. Add the dough turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (See Baker's Tips).
- To make the almond filling, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary. Set aside.
- Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- When the dough has doubled in size knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 30 cm x 50 cm rectangle, about 0.5cm thick. Place the dough on the benchtop so that a long side is closest to you.
- Use a palette knife to spread the almond filling evenly over the lower half of the dough. Fold the top third down to cover the filling and then the bottom third up, pressing down firmly.
- Use a large, sharp knife to cut the dough into 16 strips, each about 3.5cm wide. Use the knife to cut each strip in half three-quarters of the way up towards the folded end to make two 'legs'. Hold a strip at opposite ends and pull gently to stretch slightly. Then twist the two 'legs' separately about three times. Tie the two 'legs' together in a simple knot and then tuck the opposite end under the knot.
- Repeat with the remaining dough strips, placing them about 5cm apart on the lined trays as they are shaped. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 25–30 minutes or until risen and the dough no longer springs back when you poke it gently with a finger.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced).
- Brush the rolls with the whisked egg to glaze and sprinkle with flaked almonds or pearl sugar. Bake the rolls in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Pearl sugar (also known as hail or nib sugar) is a coarse white sugar used extensively in European baking. Because it retains its shape (it doesn’t melt during cooking) it adds a lovely textural sweet crunch to pastries, sweet breads and biscuits. Pearl sugar is available at specialty food stores and European-style delicatessens.
- The dough can be kneaded with an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, on low speed for 5–8 minutes or until smooth and elastic and comes away from the side of the bowl.
- The dough can be proved in the fridge overnight (in the greased, covered bowl). Stand in a warm, draught-free place for 1–2 hours, or until the dough reaches room temperature, before continuing with the recipe.
- These rolls are best eaten the day they are baked, however they do freeze well. To freeze, wrap individually in plastic wrap, seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. To reheat, place on a lined baking tray in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Scandi Baking.
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Photography by Alan Benson.