There are bulbs popping up everywhere. It’s good to see that the afternoon I spent back in October planting daffodil and snowdrop bulbs into the rock-hard earth in our communal ‘garden’, has paid off. I say that, but actually there’s only one snowdrop so far. I’ll take it, it’s better than none.
The flat is getting its own dose of not-quite-seasonal colour.
I spent Saturday pottering around in the kitchen. As well as that chilli con carne, I also came up with cinnamon buns and Toscakaka, a Scandinavian cake which is topped with crunchy, gooey, caramelly, almondy goodness.
The recipe comes from Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious Baking and has become a staple in my baking repertoire. It’s easy as anything but fun to make – you get to work with caramel! Plus it makes a great pudding.
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake that I made of using a short pan – I liked the idea of a dinky little cake. Use the tallest spring-form pan you can find, else the caramel will leak everywhere and you have a VILE clean-up job on your hands. I’d also go extra safe by putting the tin onto a baking tray to catch any drips. A larger pan also means a thinner layer of almonds, meaning more crunch. Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Adapted from Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious Baking
3 eggs (I use large)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g butter, melted (I use salted butter)
125g light brown muscavado sugar
150g flaked almonds (sometimes I use a little less, 100g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grease and line a spring-form 23cm round tin, one with high sides. Place the tin on a baking tray, in case of drips. Pre-heat oven to 170c.
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until voluminous, pale and fluffy (the ‘ribbon’ stage). Have ready the flour and baking powder in one bowl, and melted butter and buttermilk in another. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour and butter alternatively, keeping in as much air as possible. Pour into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden and firm.
Whilst the cake is baking, make the caramel. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over a low/medium heat for 5 minutes until thickened.
When the cake is done, turn the oven up to 200c and pour the caramel over the cake. Spread it out so that the almonds make a smooth layer. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the nuts have gone a toasty brown – keep an eye on it as they can burn.
Cool slightly then remove from the pan – be careful, caramel is hot! Serve as it is, or with some fruity compote on the side. Blueberry is good.