(Stefan Wettainen/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press)
(Stefan Wettainen/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press)

Blueberry Tosca Cake (Blabarskaka med toscatacke)

Introduction

Toscakaka is one of Sweden’s classic cakes, supposedly named to honor Puccini’s beloved opera. It’s a staple at pastry shops throughout the country, usually presented as a buttery slice of sponge cake with a crisp almond topping. And the ubiquitous version is definitely appealing. But I tasted something different at a charming bakery called Bagarstugan in Mariehamn, in the Aland Islands. Bagarstugan is housed in the city’s second-oldest building, dating from 1866. It’s filled with appealingly mismatched antiques, and the bakers there make Tosca Cake with fruit, the offerings changing with the seasons. I was happy to be there during blueberry time. That cake’s deliciousness came rushing back to me one day when I discovered a recipe for Bagarstugan’s Rhubarb Tosca Cake in Kenneth Nars’s Alandsk Matguide. I tweaked it a bit and added blueberries. Here is the divine result.

Amount Makes

One 9-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • TOPPING
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar on medium high speed until pale and light, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and vanilla and then the flour mixture to the eggs, beating just long enough to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scatter the blueberries evenly over the batter, pressing them down to the bottom of the pan. 

Bake the cake until puffed and golden at the edges and just barely done, 50 to 55 minutes. 

Ten minutes before the cake is done, make the topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Combine the sugar and flour in a small bowl, then stir into the melted butter in the pan, along with the almonds and cream. 

Remove the cake from the oven and raise the temperature to 400°F.

Simmer the prepared topping until bubbly, about 3 minutes, stirring only once or twice so you don’t break the nuts. Quickly spoon the topping over the warm cake, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan with a small spatula. Bake until the topping is golden and crisp, about 10 minutes more. 

Cool the cake on a rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the ring of the springform pan. This cake is delicious warm or at room temperature. 

VARIATIONS: In the winter I make this cake with cranberries. Substitute one 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries for the blueberries. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of sugar before beginning to prepare the cake. Proceed with the recipe. 

For Rhubarb Tosca Cake, substitute 2 stalks of rhubarb for the blueberries. Trim them and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces, then toss them with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Proceed with the recipe.

Reprinted with permission from “Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking,” by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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