Toscakaka: Swedish Caramel-Almond Cake

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Tosca cake is a rich sponge cake topped with crunchy, buttery almond caramel. The cake is partially baked, then covered with brown-butter toasted almond caramel sauce, and put back in the oven to finish the cake and darken the caramel.  It’s a simple and rustic cake that can be made in about an hour, perfect alongside some coffee.

Tosca cake is one of the most popular cakes in the Nordic countries, especially Sweden. Kaka means cake in Swedish. The cake also goes by toscakage in Norwegian and Danish, or toscakakku in Finnish. Tosca cake is very similar to the Danish drømmekage, or dream cake. In fact, you could swap out desiccated coconut for the almonds in this recipe to try making a drømmekage

There are two theories for the origin of the name. One is that tosca refers to Toscana, and that the cake emulates the almond-flavored desserts in Tuscany. The other is that the name refers to Puccini’s opera, in which Tosca is a famous singer who must choose between submitting to a corrupt chief of police or having her lover killed. But here, you can have your cake and eat it too.

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Ingredients:

Yields an 8-inch (20cm) cake.

For the cake:

MetricCups
100g unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons (30ml) double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs
135g granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Almond Caramel Topping:

MetricCups
50g unsalted butter
65g sliced almonds

65g granulated sugar
80ml double cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Cake

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Preheat the oven:

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).

Prepare a springform pan:

Line an 8-inch (20cm) springform pan with parchment paper, grease the pan and parchment with butter and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour and set aside.

Melt the butter:

Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour in the cream and vanilla extract and set aside to cool slightly while preparing the other ingredients.

Sift together the dry ingredients:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 

Whip the eggs:

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the eggs and sugar on high speed. Whip until the mixture becomes pale yellow and expands 3 to 4 times the original volume.

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Fold in the dry ingredients:

Using a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs quickly but gently. Whipping the eggs and sugar builds a fragile aerated structure, working fast and carefully you prevent losing too much volume.

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Fold in the butter mixture:

Fold the melted butter mixture into the batter, again working quickly but gently to preserve as much volume as possible. Stop mixing as soon as it’s combined.

Bake the cake:

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven at 175°C (350°F) for 20 minutes until just set. While the cake is in the oven, make the topping.

Almond Caramel Topping

Melt the butter:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Toast the almonds:

Add the almonds to the butter and toast them until they turn a light golden-brown. Keep stirring them so they toast evenly.

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Pour in the cream, sugar and salt:

Pour in the double cream, sugar and salt and turn the heat up to high. Boil until slightly darker tan and it begins to thicken. Take off the heat and keep the almond caramel at the ready for when the cake is done.

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Final Assembly

Top the cake:

After baking for 20 minutes, the cake won’t be completely done, but it should be set enough to support the topping. Pour the almond caramel onto the cake and spread it out evenly.

Bake the topping:

Return the cake to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The caramel topping will be brown and bubbling.

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Cool the cake:

Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. After 10 minutes, slide a knife around the edge of the cake and release the side of the springform pan. Let the cake cool to room temperature.

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