Today is my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. He’s visiting from Sweden, and we always make a particular Swedish cake for him called Kronans Kaka or Crown Cake, which along with Princess Torte is traditional for birthdays. It’s a peculiarly delicious recipe that uses almonds and mashed potatoes in place of flour, and it has no leavening of any kind. This makes it a good, gluten-free dessert choice, and it’s also Kosher for Passover. My kids love it for its sweet, moist texture.
I’ve modified the recipe I found in The Complete Scandinavian Cookbook in several ways:
- The original recipe calls for blanching and grinding almonds, but now almond flour is available nearly everywhere, and I’ve adjusted the recipe accordingly. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill, but Trader Joe’s will do in a pinch.
- The original recipe also calls for bitter almonds, which are illegal in the United States. They’re not necessary for the cake, but if you live where they are available, I recommend using them because it gives the batter a unique tang.
- The recipe recommends topping with lemon sauce, but my father-in-law greatly prefers chocolate frosting, and I’ve included my favorite recipe below. It’s halfway between glaze and frosting because the cake tends to be friable and will crumble under stiff frosting.
- The original recipe calls for the pan to be coated in bread crumbs, but I just use a bit of almond flour to keep it gluten-free.
- Finally, the original recipe is too small! I always double it, and the ingredients list reflects this.
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened salted butter
1-1/2 cup almond flour
6 bitter almonds, blanched and finely ground (optional)
4-5 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled, mashed, and cooled (I recommend Yukon gold)
Preheat the oven to 400 degF. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the butter, almond flour, bitter almonds (if available), and potatoes. Make sure you beat in the potatoes thoroughly or the batter will be lumpy.
Butter a mold or springform pan, coat with a little almond flour, and pour in the cake mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is slightly browned on top and solid throughout. Beware baking too long; the cake will crack. Let cool slightly, then turn out onto a plate (if using a mold).
When completely cool, frost with orange buttercream frosting and decorate with slivered almonds and slices of orange peel. Birthday candles optional. Serves 8. Refrigerate leftovers (assuming there are any).
Orange Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 bar of Maya Gold chocolate (see below for substitutions)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 t vanilla
16 oz. powdered sugar
Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 30-second increments until chocolate is melted. Stir together. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, adding warm milk as necessary to obtain the right spreading consistency, neither stiff nor runny. Stir in vanilla.
Substitutions: Maya Gold is a deliciously spiced organic dark chocolate bar made by Green and Blacks. I can always find it at Whole Foods, and it is sometimes available in large supermarkets in the organic/natural section. If you cannot find Maya Gold, you may instead cream the butter with 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and either add 1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring or 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest when you add the vanilla. If you want a subtler chocolate flavor, use less chocolate/cocoa; conversely, if you want a stronger chocolate flavor, use more. It’s a very forgiving recipe and easy to experiment with.
Note: This recipe makes about twice as much frosting as you will need for a Kronans Kaka. It’s an excellent excuse to make two cakes, but you can also either halve the recipe or put the excess in the refrigerator where it will keep for at least two weeks.
This cake was the perfect ending to a lovely dinner, for which I made bearnaise sauce for the first time. Tasty, but needs a little work. Once I’ve mastered it, I’ll share that recipe with you as well.