Tag Archives: orange

Toscakaka med Apelsin (Swedish Almond Cake with Orange)

Toscakaka med Apelsin (Swedish Almond Cake with Orange)
by Anna Brones

When spring rolls in, I always think of my mother giving me a package of pink, yellow and blue feathers. They had thin metal wire at the tips, to be wrapped around branches. From the kitchen window I could see my mother cutting thin branches from the birch tree. She would bring them inside, set them in a large glass vase, and I would get to work attaching the feathers.

In Sweden, just like at Christmas you decorate a tree, at Easter time you get out the påskfjädrar and decorate a collection of branches, a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. And my mother was sure that we always had a few bags of påskfjädrar on hand so as to make our house a colorful celebration of the season.

Many people in Sweden celebrate Easter, whether or not they have religious leanings. In fact, today it’s mostly celebrated as a secular holiday, one where everyone gets time off to celebrate the long weekend. Easter weekend is a time to gather with friends and family and eat good food together. There are the traditional Swedish holiday dishes like pickled herring, but whatever is served on the table is always an indicator of the season, with spring-friendly foods. And there are eggs of course. After a winter of heavy foods, the Easter celebration can be refreshing.

If you’re lucky, you may be gifted a cardboard egg, full of sweets, and if that isn’t enough for you, there’s sure to be an assortment of cakes to go with coffee. Because in Sweden, there is always cake and coffee.

Which brings us to the question: what kind of cake to serve?

Toscakaka is a classic Swedish recipe; you’ll find it in many an old cookbook, and it’s often an option at pastry shops. Its almond and caramel top makes it a step above ordinary cakes, which makes it a good option for a festive and celebratory meal. But the magic of this recipe is when the caramel seeps into the cake during baking, making for a moist and flavorful cake.

As we come out of the winter and citrus season, we thought it only fitting to celebrate the arrival of spring with an infusion of orange. The orange zest and juice in the cake pair well with the rich caramel on top, and giving it the perfect balance of flavors. You’ll often find this type of cake made with baking powder, but we opted to make it rise by separating the eggs and whisking the egg whites, similar to making a meringue.

Glad påsk!

Anna & Johanna’s Toscakaka with Orange

one 9” cake

3 ½ oz (100 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (3 ¾ ounces, 106 grams) blanched almonds
3 egg yolks, room temperature
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup (3 ¾ oz, 106 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 ½ oz, 100 grams) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces, 71 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon orange zest + 3 tablespoons orange juice

almond & caramel topping
3 ½ oz (100 grams) butter
1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces, 71 g grams) brown sugar
3/4 cup (3 ¾ ounces, 106 grams) blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Grease a 9” spring form pan and sprinkle some breadcrumbs evenly.

Grind the blanched almonds for the cake in a food processor until almost finely ground; there could still be a little chunks of almonds left.

Cream together butter and brown sugar until well blended and creamy. Add one egg yolk at the time and mix it well together. Sift in the flour and carefully fold it into the batter together with the ground almonds. Add in the milk and orange zest. Stir as little as possible until you get an even and sticky batter.

In a grease-free bowl, whisk the egg white with an electric whisk (or by hand). When soft peaks forms add in the cane sugar little by little. Whisk until stiff peaks forms. Carefully fold the sugar and egg white mixture into the batter and keep folding until the batter is evenly blended. Be careful not to over stir.

Pour the batter into the greased and breaded spring form pan.

Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25 minutes at the lower part of the oven. While cake is baking prepare quickly the almond & caramel topping.

Melt the butter together with the brown sugar. In the mean time chop the rest of the blanched almonds roughly. When the butter and sugar is melted add the almonds and stir together until it thickens.

Take out the cake from the oven (if the cake feels too wobbly let it bake a little longer). Poor the almond & caramel over, carefully spread it evenly. Bake the cake for another 10 – 15 minutes or until cake had got a nice color and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted to the thickest part of the cake.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool. Once cool, remove the cake from the pan.


This post was also published at Foodie Underground.


Other articles by Anna & Johanna

Mazainer – Swedish Pastry Classic
Lussebullar – Swedish Saffron Buns
Kanelbullar & kardemummabullar
Anna is also my partner for my 1st book (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2015)

Cooking in Marrakesh – Semolina Pancakes

The best tagine I have ever had is the one I cooked myself while attending a cooking class in Marrakesh, Morocco. Its probably also the only proper tagine I have ever had. Raja (the cook) who really did most of the work that day, also led me carefully through and demonstrated every step in how to make other traditional Moroccan dishes such as salad, Berber bread and chocolate layered semolina pancakes. I watched and learned. Smelled and ate. It was absolutely my best day in Marrakesh.

The day started at an indoor market in Mellah (one of the neighborhoods inside Medina) where I could pick meat and vegetables for the cooking lesson. The market had everything from meat (even live chickens), vegetables, bread and milk. We got some beef, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, chili and olives for the tagine and some apricots, eggs and dark chocolate for desert.

The salad we made was really simple and fresh. Just finely chopped onion, cucumber, yellow pepper and tomato. Seasoned with a splash of olive oil, salt and freshly chopped mint.

The beef tagine was cooked in a traditional ceramic tagine cookware on low heat for about 3 hours. At the bottom we arranged onions, garlic and chopped fresh cilantro. The cookware was placed on the stove and the heat was set to low. The meat was placed on top and spices (ginger powder, cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper) were added at the edges around the meat. When the meat had been turned once we arranged carrots, potatoes, zucchini, one whole chili, ½ lemon, olives and parsley on top. Lastly we poured in a mixture of both olive and sunflower oil. Before the tagine “hat” was placed on top, a little water was added. Now and again we scooped up the cooking liquid and poured it over the vegetables and meat. In this way all ingredients got a nice taste of the spices without moving them around.

The semolina Berber bread  we made was baked on top of the stove in a skillet. In Morocco, bread is  served to almost any meal during the day and a must when having tagine. Raja’s recipe used only semolina flour but I stumbled upon some breads in the city that seem to have a mixture of semolina and wheat flour. Unfortunately they were not as nice. Our local deli (a hole in the wall) in Kasbah sold something that looked like a rye version of the bread. That was amusing!

The sweet dessert semolina pancakes were really the thing that won my heart and also something that was new to me. These pancakes should not be mistaken for the more well known pancake, begrhir. Begrhir is a yeast based semolina pancake that is often served for breakfast with honey. These pancakes are baked on only one side and the yeast create decorative holes on the surface. Raja’s dessert pancakes were sweeter and made with baking powder. They create similar decorative holes but are baked on both sides.

Below I have tried to translate Raja’s semolina pancake recipe as best I could. Raja used a typical Moroccan teacup when measuring the ingredients, so her cup measure was slightly less than a standard measuring cup. My recipe is as close as I could come!

Sweet Semolina Pancakes
serves 2-4 people

one egg
½ cup sugar ( I used sucanut)
½ cup milk (+ more if batter is too thick)
¾ cup semolina
one teaspoon baking powder
¼  sunflower oil (optional)*

zest from one lemon**
one teaspoon ground cardamom**

I don’t really remember the order Raja mixed the ingredients together but I did it this way: Whisk egg and sugar until well blended before adding the milk. Mix together semolina flour and baking powder. Add the semolina mixture to the batter and whisk well together (make sure there are no lumps). Add the oil, lemon zest and cardamom. Let the batter rest for 15-30 minutes before baking the pancakes.

Heat up a frying pan with some neutral oil (if using nonstick you don’t need any oil in the pan). When the pan is hot lower the heat to medium. Spoon up some batter in the pan with a sauce ladle (You may need to add more milk to the batter if it’s too heavy. It should be fairly easy to pour into a pan). When the pancake has nice decorative holes and starts to get firm on top flip the pancake over. The other side should now have a nice brown color. Press down the pancake with your spatula so the pancake doesn’t rise. Continue until done. Repeat until batter is finished.

It may take some time to get used to how much batter you need for every pancake. A finished pancake should be about 1/8” thick.

Serve the pancakes with sour cream and seasonal fruit and berries for breakfast or brunch. I loved it with a simple apple & orange fruit salad spiced with mint and chopped pistachio. The pancakes can also be done as Raja’s desert, layered with melted dark chocolate (she added some neutral oil to the chocolate) and topped with fresh mint and fruit of your choice. Serve it cool when the chocolate is firm.

*Raja used some neutral oil in the batter and fried the pancakes in a non-stick frying pan. As I didn’t use a non-stick pan I learned that the pancakes got a little greasy with oil both in the batter and in the pan.  They still tasted great but got firmer and easier to handle with oil only in the pan.
**Raja didn’t flavor her pancakes with cardamom and lemon, instead she used 1-2 teaspoons vanilla sugar. I just didn’t have any at home when re-creating the recipe. Both versions are equally delicious.

If you planing to go to Marrakesh and want to participate in a cooking class, I can warmly recommend Raja’s class. Contact Jean Peres at Riad Dar One for details and booking.

Story and recipe was originally posted at EcoSalon on 19th January 2012.