Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TWD: Swedish Visiting Cake

Well, it's finally happened.

After years of working on my baking, trying new recipes, having massive disappointments and failures, mingled in with some mediocrity and a few really great recipes sprinkled in, it's finally time to pack away the apron.

It's been fun. I love mixing and measuring, nothing soothes me more after a long day than getting lost in a recipe. And even though things don't always turn out utterly yummy... sometimes they do and even when they dont, my friends and family still gush and coo as only friends and family can do.

But this weekend, all that changed.

It all started with Nancy of The Dogs Eat The Crumbs (who, by the way, I just LOVE. She always posts all the crazy 1/4 recipe, 1/2 recipe , 8 inch pan, 10 inch pan, etc measurements (metric, even!!!) that keep math-idiots like myself from pulling my hair out when I don't want to bake an entire recipe to take a bite of and throw away. Stupid diets). She chose a recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie that I have been DYING to try.

The name is simple: Swedish Visiting Cake. And there is a picture accompanying the recipe... that shows a very dry looking cake baked in a skillet with sliced almonds on top. Now, honestly... the picture doesn't make the recipe look all that appealing. But the story that goes along with the recipe, about how it's so quick and easy that it's said you could whip it up in no time for unexpected guests who show up on your doorstep intrigued me. Not that I ever have guests like that... (but I might now).

 So, I was very excited to be finally attempting this recipe. The fact that the timing of the recipe coincides with my busiest time of year (tax season) and also my trying to eat healthy (marathon training season) did not bode well. But I was determined to make this recipe.

Saturday, I did it. And of course... it started off bad. I was halving the recipe, and making it in two mini loaf pans. I managed to halve the recipe easily, except... I totally forget to only use HALF the zest of a lemon (I actually used an orange) and I used the whole thing. I feared a citrus overload, but I kept on plugging. Initially, when I realized my mistake, I considered just making a whole recipe... but decided that that much orange can't be a bad thing.

The moment I took the mini loaves out of the oven, I realized it. I could already tell, just by looking at the cakes that I was done with baking. For years I've been searching for the one thing.. the one baked good that knocks my socks off and with the crunchy, yet moist crust settling on the counter as they cooled, I started to think... could this be the one? This could be the one!!! It could really, finally be the one!!

I waited for them to cool for 5 minutes and then cut into one of them.


Seriously. This is/was hands down the absolute best thing I've ever put into my mouth. It was sweet and slightly gummy and chewy and lightly crispy on top. The texture was amazing. The flavor was amazing. And the effort was amazingly easy.

Hands down, bar none, the best thing I've ever baked. And I honestly can't imagine ever making anything else so satisfying. It's comfort dessert at it's best. It's like the macaroni and cheese of desserts. It's the one, I tell you!!!! THE FREAKING ONE.

I had fantasies that night of adjusting the recipe... maybe adding cocoa for some of the flour to make a chocolate cake. Maybe throwing in some chocolate chips. The opportunities are endless and I feel like there's no reason to bake any more. I've found my baking soul-mate.

Other recipes need not apply.

Swedish Visiting Cake
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan

The easiest cake you'll ever make. I don't even know what else to say except I know that this is a recipe I'll know by heart very soon. I see myself making this many, many times throughout the year. It's simply delicious. The flavor profile is very basic... just sugary (and citrus-y if you added a shit ton of orange zest like I did), but it's the texture of the cake that sets it a part. It's light, but rich. It's moist, but chewy.

I didn't sprinkle the top with almonds, because I didn't have any, but I did use all almond extract in the recipe (simply because I'm out of vanilla extract). It seems like the type of recipe you can easily sub things in and out and still wind up with a delicious treat.
It's amazing.

Find the Recipe here on Nancy's blog, The Dogs Eat The Crumbs.