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October 25, 2008

A Little Cake and A Little News

10/26/08 - Photo added, and see the sidebar at right for info on SHF. Thanks!


Thank you all for your contributions to this month's Sugar High Friday - I am truly overwhelmed by the number of entries and the creativity of your creations. I am currently organizing them all and I'll try to respond to all of you sometime this weekend so you know I received your entry. Don't forget for those of you who haven't submitted yet, there's still time! The last day for submissions is Monday, October 27th, and the round-up will be on October 31st - although judging by all the entries so far, I might have to break it into several parts. I'm overjoyed to see all this fabulous baking going on out there!

By the way, I also wanted to thank all my readers for continuing to support Dessert First. There are so many things I've been wanting to do on this site and haven't gotten to yet -  I guess it's time for a few more updates on what I've been doing instead, isn't it?

First, the official publication date for Field Guide to Cookies is rapidly approaching - Nov. 19th. However, I've gotten reports that the book has already started showing up in stores, and I got to confirm this last week at my local Borders! If you do see the book at bookstores, post a comment here and let me know! I also have some other events in the works in November for the official release, so stay tuned!


Second, the other big thing that's been keeping me away from this blog is that I've just signed on to do my second book! I'm working with the same publisher I did Field Guide to Cookies with, and I'm super excited - and super busy doing research! As before, the topic is going to be a secret for a while, but if you keep a watch out on the entries and recipes I'm going to do for the rest of the year, you might get a hint as to what it'll be about:)


In the midst of all this excitement, I realized I miss just baking. I miss waking up and having the whole day in front of me, to ponder all the possibilities and permutations, to go to the market and look at what's available and let my mind meander over various muses and motives. I miss being in the kitchen, stirring eggs and sugar and flour together, filling pans with batter, and popping them in the oven, and waiting for the kitchen to fill with the scent of something delicious.

I managed to scrounge a few free hours together yesterday, and I found the perfect recipe to scratch the baking itch: Dorie Greenspan's Swedish Visiting Cake from her Baking: From My Home to Yours book. It is a supremely simple, one-bowl recipe that yields a satisfyingly golden, fluffy cake in less than an hour. It can be baked in a skillet, which makes for a wonderfully homey, run-next-door-and-invite-your-neighbor-to-share presentation, as the name of the cake implies. And best of all, it doesn't require a mixer, which means you get to stand there and whisk all the ingredients together into a smooth, shiny golden batter. Sometimes it's really gratifying to go back to the roots of baking and remember how rewarding it is to put something together all by hand.

The cake is flavored with almond and vanilla, but I added in a bit of cardamon, which I thought was appropriate since the spice is popular in many Swedish recipes. It gives the fairly mild cake a little whiff of the exotic, and also lets it fit in nicely with my SHF Spices theme. I also really love how the almonds and sugar on top give it that lovely thin crackly crust, which gives way to the moist cake below. You can serve it warm or at room temperature but I really like it warm, with perhaps a little drizzle of honey over the top.

It's been so amazing to see where my love of baking has taken me, but in the end baking will always be my first love, and what makes me happiest. Whether you love to bake or love to eat baked goods, I hope you all get a little sweetness in your weekend! Come back next week for my Daring Bakers entry, and, of course, the SHF round-up!


Swedish Visiting Cake

adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-in ovenproof skillet or a 9-in cake pan.

Combine sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk together until combined.

Add the two extracts and whisk until combined.

Add the flour and cardamon and fold in with a rubber spatula until fully combined.

Add the butter and fold in with the spatula until the butter is fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Sprinkle the sliced almonds and some extra sugar on top.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and the top is dry to the touch.

Let cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes before running a knife around the edges to loosen it before serving.


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Oooh that looks very good. Also, I'm very very glad to hear about the second book. How very exciting!

I look forward to seeing more of your recipes, and getting your books.

What a gorgeous cake! And CONGRATS on your next book! Can't wait to hear what it's about.

This cake has been bookmarked ever since I got the book last year. But I have yet to make it! I am trying to get back in to the kitchen as well, and think this cake will make a lovely morning treat. I'm sending in my SHF entry this Sunday, I swear!

I got my review copy of A Field Guide to Cookies last week -it's a wonderful accomplishment! Well done. I love the format and think that it will be a much loved and well used book by any cookie lover who owns a copy.


Congrats! Wow, that's so great!

Your cake looks fantastic!



This is what I call a real pan cake ...hehe get "pancake"
Joke aside this is a serious almond tart, deliciously moist and very very almondy, no I did not taste it but you don't need to is so clear in the photo...well done.

I love the name of that cake (and the look and flavours of it too!) You must have been so excited to see your book selling! And congratulations Anita for the second book! I'm curious to find out what the them will be!

I love the name of this cake. Love it. And though I enjoy tackling something complicated if just for the thrill of victory, simple and pure is where baking began. Bookmarked and thanks. Also, I just bought Dorie's book for $9.99 at Ross and am joining. Yay!

This looks fantastic - and what a sweet name! Congratulations on the book(s)!

I'm so glad things are going so well for you! I will watch for your book. I have wondered about this cake in the book - yours looks really wonderful!

What a fun recipe--looks divine!

(And congratulations on the book!)

Sugar and spice make everything nice. Good luck with more of your baking adventures, and congrats on the official publication of your cookie cookbook. Mmm, I wonder what your second book will focus on. Could it be cake, pudding, chocolate ...? :P

Congrats Anita that is soooo great that you are already signed up to do another book! Fun.

that is so exciting to get your 2nd book deal!! can't wait to see them!

First of all, congratulations! Looking forward to both books.

This cake looks fantastic. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

The cake looks amazing. I need a piece right now, please! And, congratulations!

Hi Anita,

Congratulations on the book, and your new deal! I've seen Field Guide at both local B&N and Borders for about 3 weeks now.

I'm going to have to make that Swedish Visiting Cake's too tempting! =)

I have seen your book in Borders too here in Long Beach, CA!!! I am so happy for you Anita! Can't wait to book #2!

Oh Anita, I am sooooo happy for you! Congratulations!
This is a lovely cake!

Can't wait to see your book in stores in Australia! I' hope they do get here!

And congratulations for signing on your second book!! Beautiful cake too!

You are incredibly talented and deserve all the success! Here's to many more books to come, dear Anita!

That must be so exciting to find your cookbook at Borders! I know I would be beside myself. :)

Also - I love your blog, and I wanted to let you know I passed a brilliant blog award on to you! You can check it out on my post from today. :) Congrats!


Delicious looking cake (and since I'm Swedish, it's even more appealing!)

Congrats on the books... so exciting!

Thank you so much for your delicious blog! This is my first comment but I'm a long-time reader and I really enjoy your entries! This cake looks great--I absolutely love Greenspan's cookbook and look forward to trying this recipe next!

Congrats on the 2nd book deal! I'll have to run out and see if my store has your book yet!

I am going to search for your book! SO fun! And Congrats on the next one. You truly are amazing. I haven't tried this cake yet, but I need to. It looks fabulous!

Congrats on your 1st book--and on the next one, too!

I've had my field guide to cookies book since September 19. I ordered it from amazon -- I thought I was preordering -- but it arrived in a few days. Congrats!

Congrats on the impending second book! You should come over and do a book tour of Australia! :D

Congratulations on the second book deal, Anita. That is great news! I'll keep a lookout for your first book.

Congratuations for the first book and the upcoming one! Anita. I'll check my border store soon.

Congratulations Anita! Must check the first book out soon, sounds great. And this cake looks so good too!

I got your Cookie book a few weeks ago in Canada! I have made the Sables and they were wonderful. I have many more checked off to get through, especially during the holiday season. Love the format!

congratulations on all this good news--can't wait to hear more about the new, new book! i just got back to the states, and will head on over to the bookstore to see if your cookie guide is on the shelves! this cake looks great--it's one i've been wanting to make myself.

Wow! So many good things coming across your path! I'm very excited for you. I've been following your work for such a long time, it's amazing to see where things have led. Congratualations!

Your cake looks delicious !

wow, that is so exciting!

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