Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ellen Svinhufvud Almond Cake

Ellen Svinhufvud Almond Cake

I've never been so glad to have decided to keep a physical recipie file as when I came to make this cake earlier in the week. I made it a couple of years ago but had not tried again since as although it is not difficult it is sinfully rick and does require a bit of a time commitment to assemble. It came to mind again when I was thinking of something to bake for my father's birthday, he is on a low-carb diet so the traditional sponge was out. I went to the recipie folder on my laptop and could I find it? No. Printed recipies? Also no. I had already set my heart on making this recipie so began a google quest with permutations of 'Finland, court, cake, almond, egg white, cream, coffee etc...' just as I was ready to give up hope I had one last look in the file - and there it was, the pages had just been stuck together with the remenants of my last attempt at it.

So what do you get with this cake that I spent so long (unnessicarily) searching for? Its namesake is the wife of the third president of Finland who would serve this at her coffee evenings over a hundred years ago. It is a decadent combination of layers resembling giant macaroons sandwitched with whipped butter and cream flavoured iwth coffee and more ground almond and then coated in toasted flaked almonds. A small piece is enough to satisfy and it has a lovely chewiness to it from the slow cooked merangue layers. It is also a great gluten free option as it has no flour in it or for those who want something to satisfy a macaroon lover without having to baby dozens of neat little shells.

The recipie that I used (although I'm sure I found it on a different blog) is from here, however it isn't particularly clear and I had to use a bit of guess work as to what was needed basedon my experience making macaroons so I have expanded on it a bit to make it easier to follow.

Ellen Svinhufvud Almond Cake (3)


Almond Base

  • 6 egg whites (200 ml)
  • 150g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 150g finely-ground almond
  • 1 tsp natural almond essence (optional)


  • 150 ml strong coffee
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar
  • 150 ml cream (single or whipping)
  • 100 g finely-ground almond
  • 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp natural coffee essence or coffe liquor (I used Kahlua)


  • 50 g almond flakes
  • Icing sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 125 ะก
  • Line 2 baking trays with the parchment paper
  • In a dry frying pan toast the ground almonds for the base until golden, watching closely as they will easily burn, cool down (optional but it gives a more nutty flavour)
  • Whisk the egg whites until firm adding gradually the icing sugar, look for a 'soft peak' texture so that the mix is firm enough to form peaks but they don't stay. If dropped from a spoon or the whisk it should fall in a 'ribbon' rather than a blob
  • Fold in the ground almonds
  • Divide the batter evenly into 4 parts and spread each part into a rectangle of 10x7 in, smoothing the top with a spatula *
  • Bake for an hour and a half. During the baking change the place of the trays several time. When done the layers should be dry to the touch and not flexible but you don't want to let them dry out completely.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, turn out onto a cooling rack and remove the baking paper
  • Toast the ground almonds for the filling until golden and leave to cool
  • Dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee, mix in the cream and any liquor
  • Beat the butter until light and fluffy (it become very pale, almost white), gradually pour in the coffee mixture. Fold in the almonds.
  • To assemble the cake spread the filling on the first cake layer, spread filling on the top of the next layer before placing it on, repeat.
  • Top the upper layer and sides of the cake with the filling
  • Toast the flaked almond and, once cool, press into the sides of the cake
  • Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours so the filling can firm up
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving. Serve chilled.
 *Rather than creating a rectangular cake I used two round 7" cake tins and baked the layers in two batches so that the cake would resemble a traditional birthday cake more
 It's really important with this filling that the cake is entirely cool before layering or the butter/cream will melt, the layers will slide off and you'll be left with a big mess (not that this has ever happened to me when baking in a hurry!

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