Tosca CakePosted: May 19, 2012 Filed under: Budget, Cakes, Desserts, Traditional 12 Comments
Those of you who tune into my ramblings on Twitter might have noticed the little glitch I had with this recipe earlier in the week. I was baking from a Swedish recipe, and relying on Google Translate to, if not translate it fluently, then at least be consistent. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. What started as “2dl” in the original recipe was translated as “2 cups”, but “3dl” was translated as “3dl” (decilitres, i.e. 300ml-by-volume). Needless to say, there’s a world of difference between 200ml and 2 cups (470ml), and so the first version ended up in the bin.
Cue rant by me to long-suffering husband about untested recipes and the failures of Google Translate before I discovered, by comparing the original recipe with others I had found, the cause of the baking disaster. Success soon followed.
I’m really pleased that it did too, because I’ve been wanting to make this cake for some time. It’s a huge family favourite in Scandinavia and Germany, but surprisingly, I’ve not managed to find it in any Italian recipes from Tuscany, which is where it is supposed to have originated. However, Torta di Nonna looks as though it might be a long-lost cousin (& also looks fab & is on the ‘To Do’ list!).
The cake itself is a vanilla sponge, made via a slightly unusual method, but the crowning glory, in more ways than one, is the topping that’s baked onto it – a deliciously crunchy mixture of caramel and flaked almonds that is poured over the cake for the last 10 minutes of baking.
I found other variations out there, using the addition of fresh fruit, so I also whipped up an apple version this week. Personally, I thought the fruit version the best, but my valiant taste testers (husband’s work colleagues) voted the original just squeaked in as the favourite. I’ll post details of the variation below.
It’s a quick bake too – less than an hour from start to finish – so lets get cracking!
150g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
1.5tsp baking powder
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
60ml double cream
120g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
- Prepare a 24cm spring-form tin with parchment paper on the base and a double layer of parchment around the insides.
- Melt the butter and set aside.
- Cream the sugar, vanilla and the eggs until light and frothy (5-10 minutes).
- Sift the flour and baking powder together, then gradually add into the mixture whilst stirring.
- Mix in the milk.
- Pour in the liquid butter and mix to combine.
- Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Gently turn the cake after 20 minutes, to ensure even cooking.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the topping
- Put all the ingredients except the almonds into a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the butter and sugar have melted and the mixture has thickened.
- Keep warm over extremely low heat until required.
- After 30 minutes remove the cake from the oven.
- Increase the oven temperature to 225°C, 200°C Fan.
- Stir the almonds through the caramel and pour over the top of the cake.
- Put the cake tin on a baking tray and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. The baking tray will help prevent the bottom of the cake from burning while the topping becomes golden brown. I forgot this little detail with the cake in the photograph and you can see where it’s started to scorch 😦
- Remove the cake from the oven. The topping will be golden and bubbling.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
 For the fruit variation, use soft light brown sugar in both the cake and the topping. Just before it goes into the oven, scatter 2-3 Braeburn apples or pears (peeled, cored, chopped into 2cm pieces) over the batter. For the topping, use 40g each of flaked almonds, pistachios and un-skinned hazelnuts roughly chopped. NB The cake might need baking for 5-10 extra minutes before adding the topping – depends on your oven. The fruit pieces add moisture to the mix and so bear this in mind. If the top of the cake is wobbling, give it a little longer.
Thanks for a great recipe. I have bought something similar in Uk which had chocolate round the sides. It also had damp almondy sponge. Had similar name too.
My extended family are Swedish and we have a wonderful little baking book, which has recently been translated into English as ‘Swedish Cakes and Cookies’. The ‘Parsonage Gingerbread’ and the Cinnamon/Cardamom buns are among my favourite ever bakes. I will have to try the Tosca cake soon, yours looks delicious!
Made the cake yesterday, shared with friends – they all loved it! What they really liked was that it was new to them! Keep them comming – just love the quirkiness!
Just making this cake; thank you for sharing yet another lovely recipe. I hope my cake looks as lovely as yours.
Wow – you’re up with the lark today, Francesca! Hope you like the cake (’tis awesome with cream poured over it!) M-A 😀
Yes, a very early riser unfortunately. The cake is done and it is on a wire rack cooling at the moment. A mid baking panic when the topping sunk into the cake as it was not cooked enough in the centre – my fault not your recipe… So my cake will have some almonds in the sponge as well as on the top. A bit concerned about cutting it but I guess I can only wait and see. I’m going to give it to my friends at work so I hope they like it.
Thank you again for introducing me to this recipe. Hope you have a nice weekend.
If you’re not confident about cutting it ‘in public’, then just cut it at home and pack the slices neatly into a plastic box. Handy Tip: The caramel CAN set a bit hard at the edges, so my solution was to turn the cake upside down to cut when cold – that way, you don’t squish the topping into the cake trying to make neat slices. Good luck!
Thank you for the tips and advice. I took some photos and put them on Facebook and I linked them to your profile. I hope this is ok.
We loved the Tosca cake, so quick to make and tasted divine. Just a shame it does not last long and I had to do an encore!
Thank you MAB
This is divine! This is now gonna be a regular in the Etchells house! I’ve made 2 in 3 days! But whenever I make it one part of the caramel goes almost black! Is there a way to stop it?
Wotchers Cameron! Great that it’s so popular in your house! With the caramel, it sounds like one part of your oven is a bit hotter than the rest – you could try wrapping that bit of the tin in a few layers of baking parchment or thick brown paper and/or covering the top with foil to avoid the direct heat. Hope this helps! M-A 😀
Gotchers! Thanks for the great advice! I would REALLY like to go on the bake off but I’m only 14. 😦 Maybe they’ll have a bake off for teenagers. Thanks for the advice! 😀