Oskar II Cake
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Apparently they sell them in Ikea, frozen, and tasty to boot, alongside the meatballs and pickled herring. I adore Swedes and Swedish food but detest Ikea – it’s probably my idea of hell on earth. I’ve been once, traipsed through never ending departments, dodging triple sized prams with small crowds of adults attached, trying to work out which department would hold the legs of the chair whose seat and back I’d secured an hour ago. Then at the checkout it would turn out the necessary screws were not in stock and the whole mission had to be abandoned.
I do like the furniture, nothing's wrong with that, and their customer service is actually very efficient. Just don’t make me go to the store.
So back to the Oskar II cake – king Oskar II of Sweden to you and me, he invented it? Baked it? Liked it? No matter, credit to him for the enormous macaron filled with buttercream, as that’s what it is.
The macaron cake layers are Basque in style – the King was well-travelled? The Basques stole the recipe off the invading Vikings? I’d better stop there before my patchy knowledge of history and geography becomes embarrassingly obvious to everyone.
The recipe is from Anne’s food blog – and she’s reliably Swedish. I just modified the buttercream, not being a fan of crème pâtissière which the original involves. Easier to make too.
- Makes a small two layer cake.
- For the cake layers:
- 4 egg whites
- 120g ground almonds
- 150g icing sugar
- For the almond buttercream:
- 100g butter, softened
- 180g icing sugar
- juice of ½ lemon
- 50g ground almonds
- a handful of toasted almond flakes to decorate
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (a good trick is to turn the bowl upside down, carefully – if the egg whites stay in, it’s done). Mix the icing sugar with the ground almonds, then fold it into the egg whites, until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment and draw a circle of 20cm in diameter for each layer. If it looks like both won’t fit in the oven at the same time, don’t worry – you can bake them one after the other, standing around won’t do any harm.
Spoon the cake mix onto the parchment and spread within the circles. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Cool on the parchment on a wire rack. Don’t try to peel the parchment off until completely cool.
For the buttercream, beat the butter with a hand or in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment until fluffy, keep beating while you add the icing sugar in three or four batches. Add the lemon juice at the end.
Toast half the amount of ground almonds in a dry frying pan, tossing often, until coloured a little. Let it cool down and stir into the buttercream together with the untoasted ground almonds.
Turn one cake layer upside down onto a serving plate and carefully peel off the parchment. Dot the buttercream all over the cake, peel the parchment off the top layer and place on the cream upside up. Press gently to spread the buttercream. Toast the flaked almonds until golden and sprinkle over the top of the cake while still hot – it will help them stick to the cake a little.