Aside from the fact that this cake tastes undeniably devine, one of the things I like about it the most is the subtle way you can pick off the sticky caramel almonds from the top when no one is looking with fairly unnoticeable consequences. Its not the done thing to swipe a greedy finger through the icing on a cake but you can get away with it here. Be warned, once you start you may end up with a topless and naked sponge cake and some unimpressed guests. If there was ever an award for moreish-ness (excuse the made up word) this cake would triump.
Its a super light sponge base which I decided to spike with cinnamon and vanilla, basted and topped with a crunchy caramel almond praline which is left to set and encase the pillowey cake. This recipe is from ‘Scandilicious Baking’ and is therefore (I’m told) a classic Scandi treat which quite frankly just makes me want to visit the region even more. I took the recipes advice and added a tsp of coffee to the praline topping which adds a really deep and intense flavour.
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 150g plain flour
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 75g melted butter
- 75ml buttermilk (or add a tsp of lemon juice added to normal milk)
- 150g flaked almonds
- 125g soft light brown muscovado sugar
- 125g butter
- 50ml milk
- Pinch fine salt
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a loose bottomed tin (8cm of so wide) with parchement. If making your buttermilk add the lemon juice to the milk now and set aside for a few minutes.
- Whisk the eggs, vanilla and caster sugar on a high speed for at least 5 minutes until really thick and creamy to get in as much air as possible. It really will pay to do this for a good length of time.
- Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Sieve over half this dry mixture into the eggs and extremely gently using a metal spoon fold in making sure retain the air.
- Add half the buttermilk and fold in. Add the remaining flour, fold in and finally the rest of the buttermilk.
- Finally fold in the melted butter.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and set. It is important it is set so that it doesn’t collapse when you coat it in praline!
- While that bakes, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan or hot oven for a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Add to a saucepan with the butter, sugar, milk, salt and coffee.
- Heat until all melted together and then bubble for a few minutes until thick.
- When the cake is ready remove from the oven and increase the heat to 200°C. Pour the praline over the cake, smooth out and bake for 8-10 minutes at this higher temperature until the top is golden and gooey.
- Leave to cool before cutting to allow the caramel to set and encase the cake.
This can be enjoyed on its own or with healthy lashings of custard