This classic Swedish cake is the delicious coming together of opposites: A rich, crispy layer of caramel and toasted almonds on top and a moist, tender sponge cake underneath.
An easy Nordic baking project for a busy afternoon. Brew a pot of coffee and let's get started!
Why This Recipe Works
Tosca Cake is a fika (coffee break) favorite and belongs in the repertoire of anyone with an interest in Nordic/Scandinavian baking. Or really just anyone who loves a good cake! This recipe works because:
- The addition of almond flour to the cake makes for a particularly moist and tender crumb;
- The topping is chock full of toasty, caramel-y almonds that provide a satisfying crunch to contrast the softness of the cake; and
- It's relatively quick and easy! The cake can be mixed and baked in under an hour. Add a little cooling time and a cup of coffee and you are good to go.
For the Cake:
For the Almond Topping:
Nothing too unusual here with the exception of the almond flour added to the cake which results in a very moist and tender crumb. The topping is bolstered by a final sprinkle of flaky sea salt. The crunchy salt crystals provided that delightful sweet/salty combination (think salted caramel) that balance out the sweetness of the topping.
How to Make This Recipe
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and making sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Set the pan aside while you prepare the cake batter.
- Melt the butter on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add the milk to the melted butter and stir to combine.
- Whisk the flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until thick in texture and pale yellow in color, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla.
- With the mixer speed on low, add one-third of the butter/milk mixture immediately followed by one-third of the dry ingredients. Repeat this process 2 more times, ending with the final third of the dry ingredients. Mix until the ingredients JUST come together.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. LEAVE THE CAKE IN THE PAN AND Let it cool slightly while you prepare the topping.
- Turn the oven setting to broil and leave the oven rack in the middle position. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the foaming subsides, add the almonds and salt. Saute, stirring constantly, until the almonds just begin to turn brown. Add the cream and the sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and turns a lighter shade of tan, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the hot almond mixture over the top of the cake and spread evenly over the surface. Transfer to the oven and broil until the topping is golden brown and bubbly. This will only take about a minute so keep a close eye on it!
- Sprinkle with sea salt and allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the pan. Carefully remove the sides and serve!
- Don't overmix the cake batter. That leads to a tough rather than tender cake. Mix on low speed until everything JUST comes together. I will often turn the mixer off while some streaks of flour are still visible and finish mixing with a rubber spatula by hand.
- Bake the cake all the way through. Cakes bake more quickly from the outside in. Be sure the center of the cake is done before removing it from the oven. The center of the cake should be puffed up and level with the sides and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Leave the cake in the pan after it comes out of the oven. You are going to want the cake in the pan when you add the topping.
- LEAVE THE OVEN RACK IN THE MIDDLE POSITION AND KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE TOPPING WHILE IT BROILS. I can't stress this one enough. It will brown VERY quickly. I keep my oven door propped open while it broils so I can watch while it caramelizes. It will only take about a minute and it can go from perfect to burnt within seconds!
- Run a knife around the outside of the cake prior to removing the outer ring of the springform pan. Just to ensure none of the topping or cake is sticking to the sides.
- Don't forget to sprinkle with sea salt! This little touch adds so much flavor and balance to the cake.
There are two prevailing theories: The first is that it was named after Puccini's opera, Tosca, and the second is that it is called a Tosca Cake because it is "in the style" of an Italian almond cake.
A springform pan is a round cake pan with removable sides. It's commonly used for cheesecake, but it is also great to use for cakes like this where you want to add a topping while the cake is still in the pan and serve it right side up (no flipping out of the cake necessary). You could certainly use a regular 9-inch round cake pan instead. Just plan on cutting and serving it straight from the pan.
The cake is best the day it is baked, but you can store any leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days tightly wrapped in plastic.
Once you've mastered the Tosca Cake, get ready to try one of these other delicious Swedish cakes that go PERFECTLY with your afternoon cup of coffee! I've got several for you here on the blog:
I hope you give this Swedish Tosca Cake a try the next time you are looking for something sweet and Scandinavian to go with your afternoon fika. It's sure to become a new favorite!
Swedish Tosca Cake (Toscakaka)
- 9 inch springform pan
For the Cake:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Flaky sea salt such as Maldon, for sprinkling
- Whipped cream for serving optional
- Warm butter in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until the butter is melted. Add milk. Stir and set aside to cool.
- Set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
- Whisk flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until fully combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until light in texture and pale yellow in color, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla.
- Leave mixer speed on low and add ⅓ of the cooled butter and milk mixture followed by ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat this process two more times ending with final ⅓ of the flour mixture.
- Transfer the cake batter to prepared springform pan. Bake until golden brown and a tester poked into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan and set it aside to cool slightly.
- While the cake is cooling, make the topping. Set the oven to broil and make sure the oven rack is still in the middle position. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and fine salt and sauté until the almonds are just beginning to brown. Add the sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the mixture is slightly darker tan in color and is starting to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the topping over the cake and broil until topping is nicely browned and bubbly. Keep a very close eye on it! This will happen in only a minute or so. I leave the oven door propped open so I can make sure it doesn’t get too dark. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the cake to cool in the pan.
- Before serving, run a knife in between the cake and the edge of the pan to make sure that it is not sticking before you remove the sides of the springform pan. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream if desired.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Swedish Tosca Cake and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.