We had some friends in town this past weekend and to celebrate their arrival (driving long hours with three small children is no small feat) I made one of my favorite treats to share. A Swedish Visiting Cake. From one of my favorites, Dorie Greenspan.
This one-bowl, no standing mixer required, recipe is from my well-used copy of Baking: From my Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I make this recipe so much, than when I open up this well-loved cookbook, and it falls open obediently to page 197. No lie. It’s like, this cookbook knows me or something.
I adore this cake. It’s never failed me. I’ve been making this chewy, buttery, hint of almond goodness to share with friends for years. I also appreciate how accessible this recipe is. It uses simple ingredients like sugar. Lemon zest. Flour. Butter. I always have these items in my kitchen.
A tad bit of almond extract gives this cake a little bit of pop, and the almond slices sprinkled on top makes it beautiful. Oh, and baked in a cast iron skillet? (Which is how I make mine every time) Completely charming and rustic.
In Baking, Dorie says she got this recipe from her friend, Ingela who’s got it from her own mother. (Side note: I love recipes passed down from mothers.) Dorie writes:
“Ingela … said her mother used to claim that you could start making it when you saw guests coming up the road and have it ready by the time they were settling down for coffee. That’s only a slight exaggeration.”
I’ve always loved the visual of seeing friends and family come down the road, and in a moments time, throw together a delicious cake. Visiting with people you love in your home, with homemade sweet treats and happy conversation, might be one of the best things ever.
Almond Swedish Visiting Cake
adapted just slightly from Dorie Greenspan
makes 8 to 10 servings
1 cup of sugar, plus about 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
grated zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
a handful of sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet and set aside. In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar till the sugar becomes soft and smells like lemony goodness. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and mix together with the lemon-scented sugar.
When blended, add the vanilla and almond extracts. Then add the flour and continue to stir. Once the flour is incorporated, add the butter and continue to mix.
Pour the batter into the buttered skillet and and sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and tablespoon or so of sugar. I just eyeball this part, making sure there are almonds and sugar scattered somewhat evenly on top. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, and let cool for at least five minutes before serving. Slice into wedges and serve. If you have some, this cake is also great with an accompaniment of berries on the side.
*note: In her cookbook, Dorie mentions you can also use a 9-inch cake pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. Just place a baking sheet under the pan while baking.