Swedish almond cake
- Serves 16
- Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 30 min, plus cooling and chilling
Swedish almond cake, also known as mandeltårta, is a light, fluffy cake with a creamy custard icing and toasted almonds.
- 24.9g (9.8g saturated)
- 22.6g (19.7g sugars)
- 200ml whipping cream
- 300g caster sugar
- 8 medium free-range eggs, separated
- ½ tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Oil to grease
- 200g almonds, lightly toasted, cooled and finely ground in a food processor
- Tiny splash almond extract
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g flaked almonds, toasted, to decorate
- Put the cream and 75g of the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a gentle heat and heat until steaming. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks, cornflour and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat with a balloon whisk until combined.
- Pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, beating with a balloon whisk until smooth. Clean the pan, then pour the mixture back into it and heat very gently, stirring constantly with a balloon whisk, for 4 minutes or until the custard coats the back of a spoon very thickly (see Know-how).
- Once the custard is thick enough, pour it into a bowl, lay a sheet of cling film on top to prevent a skin forming, then cool completely.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and lightly oil and line the bases of 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form (the peaks won’t flop over when you lift out the beaters). Scatter over half the remaining sugar and whisk again until stiff. Add half the ground almonds, then gently whisk again (it won’t go back to being stiff after this point). Fold in the rest of the sugar, almonds and the almond extract, then the flour.
- Divide the mixture between the cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes until light golden and shrunken away from the sides (they’re not supposed to rise much, so don’t panic!). Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out on to wire racks to cool completely.
- Put the butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the cold custard, beating all the time. Beat in a tiny pinch of salt. The mixture should be easily spreadable but not runny or greasy – chill in the fridge for 10 minutes if it feels too soft.
- When the sponges are cool, put one on a serving platter and spread with a third of the custard mix. Top with the second sponge, then spread over the remaining custard, covering the sides of the cake, too. Cover and chill. Take the cake out of the fridge 40 minutes before slicing and scatter with the flaked almonds.
Because of the number of egg yolks, the custard will thicken on the bottom of the pan very quickly. This is normal – just keep stirring to bring everything back together. But don’t let it boil – it should steam but not bubble.
Make the sponges, cool, wrap well and freeze. Defrost, then ice to serve. Or keep the iced cake, covered, in the fridge overnight, then bring up to room temperature before serving.
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