I have to apologize for going (once again) randomly A.W.O.L on my blog. But somewhere between the excitement of finally finding a good job (that I liked), fitting that job into my daily schedule, fitting my baking/social life/videogames/cookie-eating around my job, quitting my job half a week later due to harrassment from my manager, being depressed about said job and eating copious amounts of cookies to cheer me up and then feeling even more depressed due to the fact that I ate copious amounts of cookies, I was just not really in the mood to blog.
Throw in the fact that I'm not allowed to go running and you got yourself a recipe for stress.
But thankfully... thankfully there are simple things in life. Thankfully there is flour, eggs, and sugar. Thankfully, there is an oven that works and mouths to be fed. Cookbooks to be read and ovens to be turned on at 350 degrees.
Thankfully there is... cake.
If there is anything more simple than this cake... I would like to find out what it is. Or, rather, if there is anything as simple and good tasting than this cake.
Dorie Greenspan... you're a genius, man (like my little rhyme there? Smoooooth).
This cake, a "swedish visiting cake", is spectacular. Though it uses common ingredients found in most cakes, it has a different way of mixing, thus giving the cake a very crumbly, almost sweet bready taste. With this particular dessert, there is no shame in using your finger tips to eat it. As long as it's accompanied with a napkin to catch the crumbs that will inevitably scream mutiny and try to escape from your grasp, leaving its brothers and sisters to accept their fate...
The crumb. It lives to see another day.
If you've got some almonds, sugar, butter, lemon zest and eggs on hand...then I highly recommend making this cake. It's simple. It's easy. It won't get you fired from your job. In fact, it might just get you promoted. And the cool part is? You can even make it in a cast-iron skillet for ultra awesome presentation. Or you can be like me and use a cake pan. Whatever works.
Swedish Visiting Cake
(adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
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)
1. 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.
2. Pour the sugar into a medium bowl. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.