Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book is a real treasure. Take this little gem, for instance, which gets its name from her friend Ingela’s mother, who used to “claim that you could start making it when you saw guests coming up the road and have it ready by the time they were settling down for coffee.” Not quite. But real close.
Swedish Visiting Cake
By Dorie Greenspan in Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched or not
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast iron skillet or other heavy, ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch round cake pan or even a pie pan.
Pour the sugar into a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest and blend the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in the salt and the extracts. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar. If you’re using a cake or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.
Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist. Remove the skillet from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it. You can serve the cake, warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.