Fancy a fika? Fika is the Swedish concept of going for coffee that revolves as much around the pastries consumed as the coffee itself.
Ahead of an ancestry trip I’m taking to Sweden this month, I’ve been furiously learning as much as I can about Scandinavian history, culture and food, including the glorious fika, which apparently Swedes take every day.
We didn’t grow up with fika, but my Swedish grandmother has a stubborn sweet tooth and sometimes makes coffee cake and Swedish pancakes. This almond caramel cake — called a toscakaka — might have to join her recipe box.
I made it yesterday with my friend, Kristina Wolter, the food stylist and recipe developer behind Girl Gone Grits. It’s an easy cake if you have a springform pan, and both the batter and the topping are incredibly simple to make and use ingredients you probably already have on hand.
After baking in the oven, the almond topping is as chewy and nutty as a praline. (Praline, I say! Even though I don’t know how to say that in Swedish.)
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Swedish Almond Caramel Cake (Toscakaka)
For the cake:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled
3 Tbsp. milk
For the topping:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup sliced almonds
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9- or 9.5-inch cake pan with a removable bottom by greasing with butter and sprinkling pan with flour, including the sides.
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until very light in color and texture, about 2 to 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Gently stir the dry mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Add melted butter and milk, stirring very gently. The batter should be smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake is just set, but not done. While the cake is baking, prepare the topping.
Put the butter, sugar, flour, milk and almonds in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until everything is melted. Stir the mixture continuously. It should bubble and become slightly thicker after about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
When cake has baked for 20 minutes and is sturdy enough to hold the topping, remove it from the oven and pour the almond topping over the hot cake. Put the cake back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 17 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbling.
Let the cake cool in its pan for 10 minutes before sliding a knife around the edge and removing the sides. Let cool to room temperature. Serves 10.
— Adapted from a recipe from Call Me Cupcake blogger Linda Lomelino (