Add fresh strawberries for tasty Swedish Tosca Cake | SummitDaily.com

Add fresh strawberries for tasty Swedish Tosca Cake

Editor's note: High altitudes makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.

A classic ending to Swedish celebrations, this Tosca Cake may be a new culinary experience for many Americans.

I discovered the recipe in a Swedish baking book, adjusted it for our altitude, and I'm delighted with the results. It's a one-layer vanilla sponge cake, baked until it's almost done, crowned with a rich mixture of caramel and almonds, and returned to the oven until the topping bubbles and turns golden.

As the cake cools, the upper layer hardens into a sweet, crunchy shell that contrasts beautifully with the light cake below it … unusual, by our standards, and very pleasing.

The cake is best served at room temperature on the day it's made. I like to accompany it as the Swedish bakers often do, with fresh strawberries.

Make sure your pan's sides are at least 2 inches high or the topping may overflow the pan.

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Vera Dawson teaches high-altitude baking classes and is the author of two high-altitude cookbooks, "Cookies in the Clouds" and "Baking Above It All" (available at The Bookworm in Edwards and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at veradawson1@gmail.com.

Swedish Toscakaka (Tosca Cake)

Make in a 9-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides

Adjusted for elevations of 8,000 feet and above

Cake

1 ¼ cups plus 3 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour

Scant ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk, room temperature

3 large eggs, room temperature

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s

Topping

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

2/3 cup superfine sugar

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose four

Pinch salt

1 cup sliced almonds

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Open your springform pan, flip over the bottom (so the lip is down) and lock it in place (this makes it easier to remove and/or cut the baked cake). Line it with a circle of parchment paper and grease the pan and the paper well with a flour-vegetable oil spray. Set aside.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk until fully combined. Set aside. In a 2-cup measure or small bowl with a spout, combine the melted butter, vanilla and room-temperature milk and whisk until blended. Set aside, making sure the mixture remains warm enough (but not hot) to keep the butter in a liquid state.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until quite thick and lightened in color (this can take 5-6 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Add the flour and the butter mixtures, alternating between them (three additions of flour, two of butter), starting and ending with an addition of flour. Beat at low speed until just barely combined after each addition (don’t overmix or your cake will be tough). Scrape the thin batter into the prepared pan, slide it onto a cookie sheet and bake until the top is dry and set and the batter doesn’t jiggle if you gently shake the pan, 20-25 minutes.

4. While the cake bakes, make the topping: Combine the butter, sugar, cream, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and, while stirring, melt the butter and blend the ingredients well. Add the almonds and continue to stir as the mixture simmers for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the extracts. Set aside.

5. Take the cake out of the oven when it’s baked to the point described in No. 3 above and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. If the cake has domed, gently press down the high center to level it as much as you can without cracking the cake’s surface (it doesn’t have to be completely level). Pour on the topping and spread it evenly to cover the cake completely. Return the cake, on the cookie sheet, to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep golden brown, 10-17 minutes.

6. Remove the baked cake to a rack to cool. When the topping has stopped bubbling but is still warm, run a buttered knife or offset spatula between the edges of the cake and the pan, pressing towards the pan’s side; this will prevent the topping from sticking to the pan as it cools. Let the cake cool completely. Cut with a sharp serrated knife, gently sawing through the crunchy topping. Store leftovers, covered, at cool room temperature, for one day.