After having attempted the buttercreams in Prinsessornas kokbok and in Sju sorters kakor, I just have to recommend the latter method instead. I gave up on my crystalizing sugar syrup after the third attempt, and there wasn’t a discernable taste difference. However, if you are making the cake for someone gluten-intolerant, use potato starch or corn starch instead to thicken the buttercream.
I know this cake looks like a lot, but while it is time-consuming, it isn’t overly complex. It is best to make this cake the day before it is supposed to be eaten — or at least several hours.
For the almond meringue layers
150 g (5 1/3 oz) almonds
200 g (7 oz) powdered sugar
5 egg whites
For the praline
50 g (1 2/3 oz) almonds
50 g (1 2/3 oz) sugar
For the buttercream
2 1/2 dl (1 cup) water
2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
300 g (1 1/3 cup) butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 dl powdered sugar
150 g (5 1/3 oz) marzipan
50 g (1 2/3 oz) almond flakes (or chop up whole almonds)
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Set the oven to 175°C (345°F). You are making four layers so draw in total four squares, about 18x18cm (7×7 inches), on two baking papers. If you’re using see-through silicone baking sheets, you can place a paper square of the same size underneath and use it as an outline instead.
- Start by making the almond meringue layers by blanching the almonds and grinding them finely, preferably using a nut grinder or a mixer. You can also use store-bought almond flour instead.
- Whisk the five egg whites into a stiff foam. Sift the powdered sugar. Then add the icing sugar and the ground almonds to the egg whites. Stir them in, as gently as you can.
- Bake one sheet (two layers) at a time, in the center of the oven. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until they are slightly golden. If they are underbaked, they won’t be very stable. As soon as they are out of the oven, remove the layers from the baking paper. You can do this by flipping them upside down on another baking paper and then peeling off the baking paper.
The almond praline
- Prepare a baking tray with a baking paper. Make the almond praline in a heavy-duty saucepan or frying pan (I use a cast-iron frying pan).
- Melt the sugar together with the almonds until the sugar caramelizes. Be careful so it won’t burn — and be careful not to burn yourself, either.
- Place the almond caramel on a baking sheet and leave them to cool.
- Heat the water and two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan until the butter melts.
- Add the flour to the buttery water and whisk until it thickens.
- Remove from the heat. If it got lumpy, press it through a sieve. Let it cool and then stir in the five yolks.
- Stir the butter together with the powdered sugar. Then stir in the yolk mixture.
- Chop up the almond praline — the original recipes suggests grinding it but I prefer a medium-coarse chop instead. Stir the praline into the buttercream.
- Gently toast the almond flakes a few minutes — keep an eye on them, as they burn easily. Let them cool.
- When your almond meringue layers and almond flakes have cooled, it’s time to put your cake together. Take one layer and spread it with the buttercream. Place another layer on top and repeat. Then cover the sides with buttercream. Sprinkle the cake with almond flakes.
- Give the marzipan a mild green color (or experiment with something to your liking!). Roll it out with a rolling pin. This is easiest done on a baking paper or some plastic wrap. Then cut the marzipan into strips and decorate the cake. The traditional way is with a diagonal ribbon and a large “Rococo style” bow, but go for whatever takes your fancy. Pink roses are quite common, too.
- Cover and chill the cake and enjoy it the next day.