When I visited Paris in April, I’d grab breakfast from Eric Kayser every morning before heading off to tackle the city’s food. It was just around the corner from my hotel, and as I passed it every day walking to the Metro, I’d inevitably be tempted by one of the delicious-looking treats and breads. Warm baguettes with chunks of salty Comte, pain au raisin with coffee, chunky and complex walnut-chocolate chip cookies…
But my favorite was the financiers. Buttery but not greasy, sweet but balanced, they were like glorious muffin tops (the best part of muffins, of course) with crisp-chewy caramelized edges. I only wished I could reproduce them when I returned home.
Without realizing it, I found all the elements of financiers that I loved– in this Swedish Visiting Cake. I actually decided on the recipe because I was on a lemon spree (after making some incredible lemon bars) and the cake seemed quite simple to make. The beautiful photos over at honey & jam didn’t hurt either.
Swedish Visiting Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
serves a 9-inch round pan (8-10 slices)
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional- I left this out because I don’t like the taste)
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 tbsp (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
approx. 1/4 cup sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C
2. Butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or regular cake/pie pan.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the 1 cup sugar and zest and blend with your fingers, rubbing the zest and sugar together until the sugar is moist and lemony. Lick off the sugar that is stuck to your fingers.
4. Whisk the 2 eggs in one at a time. Whisk in the salt and extract(s).
5. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the 1 cup of flour. Fold in the melted butter.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and sugar (I used large crystal turbinado sugar). I don’t know if it made a difference, but I put extra sugar on the edges to make sure I’d get those lovely caramelized edges.
7. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until it is golden and somewhat crisp. I left it in a little longer to make sure it got really crisp edges, and it still stayed moist inside!
8. Let the cake cool for a few minutes, then run a knife around the pan to loosen it. Serve warm or at room temperature. I found that by the second day, the lemon flavor had intensified a bit, but the trade-off was losing some of the crispiness of the edge crust.
Storage: The cake will keep for about 3 days, covered and at room temperature.