A culinary work of art

Toscakake, so irresistibly delicious, so easy to make

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American


Photo: Kristi Bissell
Toscakake, a classic Scandinavian favorite, is a simple moist yellow cake topped with a layer of crispy caramel and almonds.

“I lived for art, I lived for life …” So begins the famous aria, “Vissi d’arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera Tosca.

And while it’s not known for sure whether Scandinavia’s famous Toscakake—Tosca Cake—derives its name from Puccini’s opera, it certainly is a work of art.

This classic Scandinavian cake is the delicious convergence of opposites: A rich, crispy layer of caramel and toasted almonds on top and a moist, tender sponge cake underneath.

Toscakake is so irresistibly delicious, yet it is an easy Nordic baking project for a busy afternoon. So, why not brew a pot of coffee and get started!

Why this recipe works

Toscakake is a coffee break favorite and belongs in the repertoire of anyone with an interest in Scandinavian baking—or really just anyone who loves a good cake! This recipe works because:

The addition of almond flour to the cake makes for a particularly moist and tender crumb;

The topping is chock-full of toasty, caramely almonds that provide a satisfying crunch to contrast the softness of the cake; and

It’s relatively quick and easy! The cake can be mixed and baked in under an hour. Add a little cooling time and a cup of coffee and you are good to go.

Toscakake – Tosca Cake 

Makes 10 slices


  • 9-inch springform pan


For the cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsps. almond flour
  • 1 ½ tsps. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • tsp. fine salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
  • Whipped cream for serving, optional


  1. Warm butter in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave until the butter is melted. Add milk. Stir and set aside to cool.
  2. Set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  3. Whisk flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until fully combined. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until light in texture and pale yellow in color, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla.
  5. Leave mixer speed on low and add of the cooled butter and milk mixture followed by of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat this process two more times ending with final of the flour mixture.
  6. Transfer the cake batter to prepared springform pan. Bake until golden brown and a tester poked into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan and set it aside to cool slightly.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the topping. Set the oven to broil and make sure the oven rack is still in the middle position. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and fine salt and sauté until the almonds are just beginning to brown. Add the sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the mixture is slightly darker tan in color and is starting to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Pour the topping over the cake and broil until topping is nicely browned and bubbly.  Keep a very close eye on it—this will happen in only a minute or so. I leave the oven door propped open so I can make sure it doesn’t get too dark. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the cake to cool in the pan.
  9. Before serving, run a knife in between the cake and the edge of the pan to make sure that it is not sticking before you remove the sides of the springform pan. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream if desired.



Photo: Kristi Bissell
Toscakake, a classic Scandinavian favorite, is a simple moist yellow cake topped with a layer of crispy caramel and almonds.

Where does the name Tosca Cake come from? Besides the theory that it was named after Puccini’s opera Tosca, some believe it is called a Tosca Cake because it is “in the style” of an Italian almond cake.

What is a springform pan and do I have to use one? A springform pan is a round cake pan with removable sides. It’s commonly used for cheesecake, but it is also great to use for cakes like this where you want to add a topping while the cake is still in the pan and serve it right side up (no flipping out of the pan necessary). You could certainly use a regular 9-inch round cake pan instead. Just plan on cutting and serving it straight from the pan.

How do I store Tosca Cake? The cake is best the day it is baked, but you can store any leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days tightly wrapped in plastic.

This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.