Friday, December 12, 2008

Have some cake in a hurry!

have some cake
Originally uploaded by 3Birds
I needed cake this afternoon, and I needed it fast. Ever have a day like that? Usually I go with some variety of sponge cake, but today I tried a new recipe adapted from one in Dorrie Greenspan's "Baking, From My Home to Yours" called Swedish Visiting Cake. The idea is that, if you look out the window and see friends on their way to visit, you can get this cake mixed and baked and ready to slice by the time they arrive and sit down for coffee.
If you can see about a mile that would be so, as long as your friends took a good 20 minutes to cover the mile and as long as you took your time greeting them and brewing the coffee. It takes a mere 15 minutes to prepare and another 25 to bake. Since it uses melted and cooled, rather than softened butter, you can get started right away. Here's what you do:

Heat oven to 350. Take out 2 eggs and set aside. Grease and flour, or spray a 9" cake pan, or lightly butter a 9" cast iron pan.
Put 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl, followed by the zest of 1 lemon and 1/4 t salt. The microplane is your friend. If you don't have one, order one, then use a box grater or a zester until your microplane arrives. If you use a zester, you'll want to chop the zest fine before mixing with the sugar. Work the zest into the sugar and salt with your fingers.
Use a whisk to mix in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in 1t of vanilla extract and 1/2 t almond extract.
Now you have a choice. If you have almond meal or almonds and a food processor, whisk together 3/4 c flour and 1/4 cup almond meal. If not, just measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold this (or the flour and almond meal, well mixed) into the sugar and egg mixture.
Last, fold in the melted and cooled butter. If you live in a cold and draughty house like mine, you might need to remelt the butter. Just make sure it's not very much warmer than room temp. when you add it, or you might cook the eggs and that would be nasty.
Pour the batter into your prepared vessel, then sprinkle over slivered or sliced almonds, or even coarsely chopped almonds and some sugar, coarse if you have it, regular if you don't. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. It should be golden on top and a little bit 'underdone' in the middle.
Be a pal and don't overcook this! If you do, poke some holes in it with a cake tester and brush it with some sugar syrup, maybe with a bit of kirsch mixed in. But really, just don't overcook it and all will be well.
If you have a toddler in the house, make him hold his slice on a plate while you snap a few pictures for your blog. It builds character!

dinner tonight: pork shoulder roast, braised red cabbage, roasted red potatoes

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