Let’s talk about this cake. This is the cake I made for my boss and his family. Currently, his wife is undergoing chemotherapy (she is expected to make a full recovery), and we decided to put together a care package of food for them after the latest round. Not only was I happy to do this for my boss, but I was able to bake and release, which is my favorite type of baking.
I was only instructed to make something apple-flavored. Although I had no idea what I wanted to make, it was clear that I did not want to make a pie or anything else that involved rolling out dough. In a food blog search, I found a cake recipe with apples that was modified from another. Ideal. I printed this recipe at work and left it there, and it proved very useful.
Rather than searching and reprinting the recipe at home, I decided to use the recipe from another cookbook and add apple slices since I’m sometimes lazy about the dumbest things. That’s okay, and I’m human.
Because, you know, I can’t say it better myself, here is what the author has to say about this cake…
There is a golden sugar crust on top of a thin, light cake with a soft, chewy, moist interior reminiscent of cakes made from almond paste. It is already very satisfying in its plainness, but I enhanced the flavor by adding almond extract and vanilla extract.”
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this cake. It takes minutes to put the batter together. There is no need for a mixer, and there is no waiting for it to come to room temperature. This is my kind of recipe. The recipe calls for baking this in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. It’s easy to resolve this problem if you own cake pans or a 10 inch cast iron skillet.
In the end, I chose the solution “I own cake pans” for no particular reason. Next time, I’ll try “I own a 10 inch cast iron skillet” due to the fact that this cake took FOREVER to bake. Well, not forever, but like double the time, it took to bake. Trying to fit in this cake after making dinner and before going to the gym becomes impossible. I guess that part of the problem was the cake pan I used was too small and maybe adding the sliced apples threw the cake off. It just didn’t know what to do with itself when it was baked with apples.
I made this cake twice. My first attempt did not turn out well, and I baked it at 350F for approximately 35 minutes. After an hour, the cake was still raw in the middle. While I went to the gym, I left this cake in my husband’s good(?) hands. It was instructed to take the cake out when it was not wet in the middle, not to ruin it. Yeah. I came home to an undercooked cake that was sitting inside an oven that had been turned off. Huh? Okay, let’s not even talk about it.
A second cake was made after stomping, pouting, and removing the first cake from the pan.
I wised up and used a larger 9.5-inch cake pan this time. As a result, I had a cake I could give someone after an hour of baking. It was cake consistency rather than lumpy cold gravy. Nevertheless, this second cake baked for double the 25-30 minutes the recipe calls for AND about 20 minutes in; when I realized it wasn’t even close to done, I stepped up the heat to 375F. It’s a mystery to me.
I did get a chance to taste cake #1, otherwise known as the hot mess in this Swedish cake saga. I was able to eat some of the edge pieces, and they were delicious.
In comparison to its deformed hot mess sister, Cake #2 looked fabulous. It was fully cooked and nicely golden brown (loosely covered with foil towards the end). Sugar made the top puff up and sparkle, but the inside was still moist and cake-like, and the apples got nice and soft.
I will make this again for my consumption. Perhaps with apples, and it would be interesting to see if my problems are related to apples instead. As I consider the possibility, the more likely it seems.
You can find the original recipe after the jump. My cake was modified from it. In essence, this means omitting almonds and substituting sliced Pink Lady apples instead. No need to tell me I’m a visionary.
Swedish Visiting Cake
makes 8 – 10 servings
1 cup sugar, plus a little bit more to sprinkle
One lemon zest grated
Two large eggs
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
I used two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Half a teaspoon almond extract
All-purpose flour, 1 cup
Melted and cooled one stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not) OR 1 apple sliced
Set the oven to 350F and place a rack in the center (if you are using apples, bake them at 375F). Cast iron skillets, pie pans, cake pans, or any heavy ovenproof pans seasoned with butter work best.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and water. With your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it is moist and aromatic. Mix in the eggs one by one until well combined. Stir in the extracts and salt. Mix in the flour using a rubber spatula. Stir in the melted butter.
Use the rubber spatula to smooth the batter on top of the skillet. You can arrange your apple slices in a pattern you like or scatter the sliced almonds over the top. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Place the cake or pie pan on a baking sheet if you are using one.
Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until the outside is golden and crisp; the interior will remain moist, if not even “slightly damp.” (For me, this took closer to 60 minutes). Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and bottom to loosen it. Cake can be served warm or chilled in the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.
The cake keeps well. You can freeze it for up to two months if it is well wrapped and kept at room temperature for about five days.