Warm spices make this cake ideal for fall

A cozy cake

Almond Cake

Photo: Daytona Strong
One of the easiest ways to try to embrace hygge—and the Norwegian equivalent, koselig—is in the kitchen. What better way to gather together in a “cozy” spirit than with a slice of a rich, flavorful cake and perhaps a hot cup of coffee or tea?

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

Of all the seasons, autumn is the one I look forward to most. I love the display of fiery colors on the leaves and the excuse to begin sitting in front of the fireplace with a good book again. The aromas of cinnamon and cardamom that fill my kitchen year-round seem particularly appropriate in these months. This almond cake, with its warm spices and pears—and the nutty fragrance of brown butter—is as cozy as can be.

This cake has its roots, somewhere along the line, in an almond cake recipe I found in one of Signe Johansen’s lovely Scandilicious books. I’ve made so many variations over time that it really looks nothing like hers anymore. This might just be my favorite variation—the addition of brown butter and a topping of fresh pears that soften into luscious slices in the oven while the cake bakes really take it over the top.

If you’ve never made brown butter before, it’s as easy as can be. After the butter melts on the stove, you simply keep it on the heat for a little while longer—watching carefully so it doesn’t burn—until the solids separate and it turns a golden brown. Its nutty fragrance is one of the most delicious aromas, and it’s perfect with the cinnamon and cardamom in this cake.

As the weather gets colder and autumn arrives, I hope you’ll give this cake a try and share a slice with someone dear.

Almond Cake

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups natural fine almond meal

2 tsps. baking powder (verify that it’s gluten-free if necessary)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly ground cardamom
¼ tsp. salt
1 pear, peeled, cored & sliced

Almond Cake

Photo: Daytona Strong

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-inch round springform cake pan.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Keep it over the heat and allow it to gradually brown, keeping an eye on it and stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. When it turns richly golden and has a nutty smell, remove it from the heat and pour it into a large mixing bowl, giving it a few minutes to cool.

When the butter has cooled slightly, add the sugar and beat for about three minutes until the sugar has begun to dissolve somewhat and the ingredients are well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions, then stir in the vanilla extract. Add the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and stir until incorporated.

Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly throughout. Arrange the pear slices on top, pressing them just slightly into the batter. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool, then remove from pan. Makes one 9-inch round cake.


Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook  (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).

This article originally appeared in the September 7, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Daytona Strong

Daytona Strong was formerly the editor of the Taste of Norway for The Norwegian American. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaStrongAuthor), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).