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Food columnist celebrates 10 years of writing for The Forum with Scandinavian Almond Cake

Sarah Nasello is also celebrating by hosting a holiday giveaway series on her blog SarahBakesnd.com.

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Sarah celebrates the 10th anniversary of her column with a tender and delicious Scandinavian Almond Cake.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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FARGO — This week marks the 10th anniversary of this column, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a slice (or two) of this ultra-moist and delicious Scandinavian Almond Cake. My first taste of this specialty was this past fall at Stabo, the Scandinavian imports boutique in downtown Fargo (a.k.a. one of my favorite places on the planet).

The Stabo was celebrating its 50th anniversary, and they had a variety of sweet treats to enjoy: krumkake, sandbakkels and slices of almond cake. My son, Giovanni, and I loved all the specialties, but we kept remarking on the cake. It was lovely but simple in appearance, and we were unprepared for its sweet almond flavor and tender crumb structure. It was superb.

Stabo sells a special pan created specifically for Scandinavian Almond Cake that is long and shallow with ridges on the surface, which promote rapid and even heating and give the cake its signature fluted presentation. I knew I couldn’t leave without purchasing this pan, and I was delighted to find that it even came with a recipe.

I went home that day and baked my own Scandinavian Almond Cake. The recipe is basic and made with pantry staples most of us already have on hand: flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, egg, almond extract and melted butter. I modified it slightly by adding a splash of vanilla extract and a little salt because that’s how I roll, and you could also add citrus zest and other extracts to change the flavor.

I have made this cake half a dozen times in the past couple of months and always marvel at how easy the process is. You can mix the batter by hand or with an electric mixer and have it baking in the oven within 10 minutes. I bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the toothpick test comes out clean.

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Each holiday season, I add a new recipe to my Nordic repertoire, and this Scandinavian Almond Cake is my pick for this 10th anniversary year. Baking and gift-giving are my love languages, and to celebrate this occasion, I am hosting a holiday giveaway series on my blog, SarahBakes .

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A special cake pan is used to create the ridges and even structure of the almond cake. Sarah is celebrating her 10th anniversary with a series of holiday giveaways on her SarahBakes blog, including this Scandinavian Almond Cake pan.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Each week, I will feature a new prize for one lucky winner based on my favorite things, and this week’s winner will receive their very own Scandinavian Almond Cake pan. For details on how to enter, please visit me online at sarahbakesnd.com .

It has been an honor and a joy to share my love for food and family with you these past 10 years. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives, and here’s to more delicious times together. Skol!

Scandinavian Almond Cake

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 ¼ cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined; set aside.

In a large bowl, add the sugar, milk, egg, almond and vanilla extracts. Beat well with a hand whisk or electric mixer. Add the flour mixture and stir until fully combined. Add the melted butter and beat until the batter is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

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Greasing the pan with a flour-based baking spray will help the cake easily release from the grooves of the pan.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Just before adding the batter, spray the cake pan generously with a flour-based baking spray (like Baker’s Joy or Pam with Flour), coating the entire surface, including the top rim. Pour the batter into the pan and use a knife or offset spatula to smooth the surface until evenly distributed. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

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Use an offset spatula or a knife to smooth the batter evenly into the cake pan.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Place the cake pan in the center of the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a knife or offset spatula to gently loosen the cake from the sides and top rim of the pan. Place a wire cooling rack over the cake pan and flip to invert it. Gently remove the pan from the cake and let the cake cool completely before serving.

When cool, dust the top with a generously sprinkling of powdered sugar, slice along the ridges and serve.

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Dusted with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and sliced around the grooves, Sarah's simple Scandinavian Almond Cake is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

To store:

Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. To freeze individual slices, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Let the frozen cake and slices thaw in their plastic wrapping while coming to room temperature.

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Sarah’s Notes:

  • Greasing the cake pan well is very important as this cake can otherwise stick to the surface. I get the best results when I use a flour-based baking spray.
  • You can vary the flavor of this cake by using different extracts, liqueurs and citrus zest, added at the same time as the almond extract.
More recipes from Sarah Nasello
This potpourri is the perfect way to make your home smell warm and inviting this Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the holiday season.

Recipe Time Capsule:

This week in...

Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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