Cakes

Toscakaka – Swedish Caramel Almond Cake

Toscakaka on Wire Rack

I have finally got my laptop back after it going in for a service, I was getting withdrawal symptoms after being without it and not being able to post this next bake. A while back my Lakeland order arrived (I always get excited about new bakeware goodies) I got a 7 inch loose bottomed square tin and a 9 inch loose-bottomed round cake tin, a silicone Swiss-roll flexi-sheet, and some ‘get a grip’ piping bags – can’t wait to try these out, I’ve seen contestants using them on the GBBO. Also in my order I got some Hazelnut flavouring as I thought this would be a great alternative from some of my almond bakes – I’m thinking a chocolate and hazelnut combo must be done, and finally I got some Raspberry Fudge Sprinkles – you know I can’t resist the raspberries.

I wanted to try out my new 9 inch loose-bottomed round cake tin first and while looking on the internet I saw this cake with an almond praline coating on top of the cake and I remembered seeing this in a book called ‘Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen‘ and I thought my mom is going to love this with all those caramelised flaked almonds on top.

I posted a picture of my Toscakaka I made on my Instagram and Signe Johansen said that it ‘Looks Perfect…’ which I thought was great to get a compliment from her, after doing her recipe.

Adapted from Signe Johansen Toscakaka

For the cake
75g Unsalted Butter
3 Large Eggs
150g Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I used Almond Extract)
150g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
75ml Buttermilk*
* substitute with 75ml Milk mixed with 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice or White Vinegar

For the topping
150g Flaked Almonds
125g Unsalted Butter
125g Light Brown Muscovado Sugar
50ml Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt (I only used a pinch)

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3-4 and lightly grease and baseline a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
Melt the butter for the cake mixture in a small saucepan over a low heat or place in a heatproof jug and melt in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds or until melted.

2. In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar and almond extract until pale, thick and fluffy, this should take about 5 minutes on high speed.

3. While the egg mixture is whisking; sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl.

4. Gradually add the melted butter, buttermilk and dry ingredients to the beaten egg mixture, alternating between them and folding through with a large metal spoon or rubber spatula as you go until everything is well incorporated – do this thoroughly but very gently scraping the bottom of the bowl, as it is easy to get little pockets of flour in the mixture but you need to converse as much of the volume as possible.

5. Carefully transfer the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin by scraping it gently out from as little height as possible, then tap the tin once or twice on the work surface to get rid of any big air bubbles.

6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

7. Half way through the cake baking start the Caramel Praline Topping so that it is ready to use by the time the cake is cooked. Put all of the topping ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over a low-medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to simmer for 3-4 minutes to thicken slightly.

8. Once the cake has come out of the oven turn the oven temperature up to Gas Mark 7. Use the hot praline to glaze the top of the sponge, while the cake is still in the tin – spread the nuts out evenly on top using a knife to help smooth them over the sponge.

Toscakaka In Tin before going into the oven
The praline topping added to the cake – ready to go back in the oven

9. Now put the cake back into the oven on the top shelf and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the topping is crispy and golden brown.

10. Once the cake is out of the oven place on a wire rack to cool slightly in the tin for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the tin to separate the praline from the cake tin. Gently remove the cake from the tin and place back onto the wire rack to cool before serving.

Toscakaka on In Tin

This cake will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days

Some of the variations that Signe Johansen suggests in her Scandilicious Baking Book are the following:
Coffee: adding a double shot of espresso in the praline topping, if you love coffee.
Coconut: Instead of flaked almonds use coconut flakes to make this in to a Danish Drommekage – Dream Cake 

Toscakaka on Plate ready for Serving

I think that we all loved the praline topping on the top of the cake, but I think it would of been better if the sponge was a bit thicker.

The next time that I make this Swedish ‘Toscakaka’ I think that I am going to adapt it slightly with another Toscakaka recipe that I have seen by Edd Kimber (The Boy Who Bakes). In Edd Kimber’s recipe he has used ground almonds in the sponge mixture, which I think would give an extra nutty flavour along with the praline topping, plus his sponge is thicker than the traditional Toscakaka.

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Biscuits & Cookies

Scones

Scones fresh out of the oven, GBBO 2014
I’m really enjoying the Great British Bake Off series so far, I think the contestants have made some really amazing bakes and I am loving the innuendos and funny voices from Mel and Sue. Is it me or have the technical and showstopper challenges gotten harder than the previous series.

It is really hard to decide out of the six remaining bakers who is my favourite I think that they all have created some great bakes, the judges have a hard task ahead of them.

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The new edition to my bookshelf

Some of my favourite bakes from the Bakers
Luis’s
 I thought that his 3D Biscuit Dragon Scene was amazing, like the rest of his bakes they are always presented well. You can tell that his graphic designs skills are coming through in his planning and execution of his bakes.

Richard’s Pirates 3D Biscuit Scene has great & I loved this Black Forest Chocolate Fondants from dessert week, so glad that they are in the new bake off book because they looked and sound delicious.

Kate’s Rhubarb & Custard Tart from pies and tarts week this is another one that I am glad is in the new book, I loved the red rhubarb spiral.

Nancy’s Showstopper, Jaffa Orange Cakes from the very first episode, they were so beautifully presented and looked very professional, hoping that I can find the recipe somewhere.

So for the first time in bake off history nobody was voted of the show in European Cakes week, so Kate and Richard can live to bake another day… In pastry week!! Looking forward to watching an Extra Slice tomorrow as Jo from JoBlogsJoBakes went down to London with a cake that she made and it is going to be shown on the show, how exciting for her, can’t wait to read all about it on her blog.

This scone recipe comes from the new Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking Book, nice to see Mel and Sue on the front cover.
The day before I made some Fresh Berry Scones from a previous bake off book.

Makes 8-9
250g Self Raising Flour
50g Caster Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter, chilled and diced
1 Medium Egg, at room temperature
100ml Buttermilk

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7, line a baking try with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift the flour and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Add in the pieces of chill butter, and coat them with the flour then rub in using your fingertips. The mixture show look like fine crumbs and no lumps of butter should remain.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and 10ml buttermilk with a fork, just to combine.  Then pour into the crumbs and mix in with a round-bladed knife to make a fairly soft, but not wet or sticky dough.

If the dough feels dry and is difficult to bring together add in a little more buttermilk or milk a teaspoon at a time. Don’t overwork the dough a light touch is all that is needed!

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for just a few seconds to bring the dough together, so that it looks a little smoother. Gently pat the dough to about 3cm thick, then using a plain or fluted round 6cm cutter, cut out your scones. Press together the all the trimmings, pat out again and cut out the remaining scones.

5. Place the scones on your prepared baking tray, lightly sprinkle with flour and bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes until they are a good golden brown.

6. When they are done transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly, eat warm from the oven or the next.

Scones on wire rack, GBBO 2014

Spread your scones with butter and/or jam or an topping that you choose. I did mine with jam and served with fresh strawberry and raspberries, my mom also had clotted cream with hers.

Scones, jam, clotted cream and fresh fruit, GBBO 2014
Scones with Jam, Clotted Cream & Fruit
Scones, jam and fresh fruit, GBBO 2014
Scones with Jam & Fresh Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after doing the two different scone recipes these past couple of days both from Bake Off Books, I think that we all preferred these plainer scones they were so soft and light and they were also a lot easier to make as I did not have to try and incorporate the fresh berries.

I think I have a new go to scone recipe now, the buttermilk makes them so beautifully soft and fluffy, 100% better than store bought that leave you with dry mouth, you won’t regret trying these out they are amazing!!

If you don’t just want to have just plain scones you can try adding some of the following, if you fancy a change from the norm.

For Fruity Scones
50g Sultanas or Raisins, stir in before adding in the egg mixture.
You could always use dried cranberries or glacé cherries, the choice is yours.

Biscuits & Cookies

Fresh Berry Scones

 

Flower Presented Fresh Berry Scones

So it been a while seen I made some scones and I love to eat them when they are still slightly warm from the oven, so much better than store bought. This fresh berry scone recipe is from The Great British Bake Off: 100 Foolproof Recipes, the only thing that I changed was instead of blueberries I used strawberries.

Makes 8-9
250g Self Raising Flour
60g Caster Sugar
50g Unsalted Butter, chilled and diced
1 Medium Egg, at room temperature
100ml Buttermilk, at room temperature
50g Raspberries
40g Strawberries
a little Buttermilk or Milk, for brushing
Demerara Sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7, line a baking try with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift the flour and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Add in the pieces of chill butter and rub them into the flour using your fingertips. The mixture show look like fine crumbs and no lumps of butter should remain.

3. In a small bowl put the egg and 100ml buttermilk and beat with a fork, just to mix. Pour this into the crumbs and mix with a round-bladed knife to make a rough looking dough. Add the berries and using your hands to bring the mixture together to make a ball of slightly soft dough, with the berries evenly distributed – try not to squash the berries to much as you mix. If there are any dry crumbs at the bottom of bowl work in a little more buttermilk.

4. Lightly dust your worktop and hands with flour. Turn out the scone dough onto the worktop and gently pat it out to about 3cm thick. Dust a plain round 6cm cutter in flour and then stamp out your scones, re-flour when it starts to get sticky. Press together the scone off cuts, pat out again and cut out the remaining scones.

5. Place the scones on the baking, spacing them slightly apart – to allow for spreading. Lightly brush the tops of each scone with buttermilk or milk the sprinkle over the Demerara sugar.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until they are a nice golden brown, on the underside too – these fresh berry scones will take slightly longer to bake than regular or dried fruit scones.

7. Once the scones are out of the oven transfer them immediately to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly, then eat warm. These are best eaten on the same day.

Fresh Berry Scones

Spread your scones with butter, jam and/or clotted cream – I served mine with fresh raspberries and strawberries

Fresh Berry Scones with Jam, Clotted Cream & Fresh Fruit
Scones with Jam, Clotted Cream & Fresh Fruit
Fresh Berry Scones with Jam and Fresh Fruit
Scones with Jam & Fresh Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first time that I have used buttermilk to make scones, it is certainly something that I will be doing again as they were softer than any that I have made or even had before.

The scones were soft and moist and the added fruit baked in them very well after having trouble with the dough itself and the sprinkling of Demerara sugar on top of the scones gave it a nice crunchy top.

The next time that I make these I will not be putting the strawberries in as I think the extra juice from them made the scone dough quite sloppy and hard to work with, so will be doing the blueberries next time.