Recently, my friend Elizabeth invited me over for dinner. One of my favorite things about Elizabeth is that she has never once shown up to my house without a cake in her hand, and this time, I decided to return the favor. We were having a summer-ish menu because it was 75 glorious degrees outside, and I wanted a light cake that sort of went with the mood of the evening.
I busted out the big guns:
I decided on her Swedish Visiting Cake. It’s a light cake, with a hint of lemon. It’s definitely not a typical “dense” cake with a need for frosting. Dorie Greenspan refers to it as a “finger cake” (ew) and I agree. It’s perfect with your morning coffee the next day. Trust me on this. It’s delicious.
Here’s the recipe:
Swedish Visiting Cake (adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours)
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch cake pan or even a pie pan.
Pour the sugar into a medium bowl. Zest a lemon. Or, do like me, and lose your patience and stop zesting after a few minutes and squeeze some lemon juice into the sugar. Zesting makes me tired!
Add the zest and blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
Whisk in the salt and the extracts. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar. If you’re using a cake or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.
Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it. You can serve the cake warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.
I love this cake not only because it’s amazingly yummy, but it’s also pretty. The sugar sprinkles and almonds make it really pretty up close. See?
This cake makes me want to sit in my backyard with a book and some coffee. Or, the way I ate it: with friends. Also wine. Who doesn’t love cake and wine?