This cake is actually called Ellen Svinhufvud cake and it is a very classic old Finnish dessert. The origin of the name dates back to the wife of a Finnish president called Pehr Evind Svinhufvud; his wife loved this cake and she served it often with some afternoon coffee - we don’t have afternoon tea here in Finland, we drink coffee, a lot of coffee.
The best part about this cake is that it is naturally gluten-free without making any adjustments and of course without using any binders, or other not so delicious edibles.
The overall flavour of this cake is too delicious for words, and really, I’m not exaggerating now, it is a total dessert heaven. It consists of thin layers of macaroon sheets and some coffee flavoured buttercream. It can be a bit heavy, so serving it with some fresh fruit or berries is a good idea, but it is just as good served with just a strong cup of delicious dark roast coffee.
The fact that this is a traditional recipe should not hinder you from making adjustments with it; just use the basic idea and start adjusting it the way you want it. I, for example, like using Baileys with it, just because I think that Baileys compliments the flavour of coffee so well. Try tasting some Baileys Tiramisu, if you get the chance, and you’ll see what I mean.
One thing I have always wanted to make is a cake like this with some whipped cream, dark chocolate, Kirsch and cherries; I think it would work well with the light almond taste and the crisp layers of macaroon sheets.
This is to be seen, someday I will make it.
You can also substitute the almonds with toasted hazelnuts; it will give a whole other kind of taste to the cake.
This recipe is adjusted from a recipe which appeared in a Finnish magazine once. I am going to warn you though that this cake is not the easiest or fastest thing you can make, but I assure you that the taste is worth it.
If you want to make a dairy free version substitute the cream with almond- or soy cream and the butter with a dairy free margarine.
Ellen Svinhufvud Cake Recipe
-1,4 cups confectioner’s sugar
-6 egg whites
-150 grams ground almonds (nut meal)
-0,4 cup strong coffee
-0,24 cup Baileys (or just coffee, or something else)
-0,6 cup cream
-5 tbls sugar (you can use 2 tbls muscovado sugar and 3 tbls regular sugar)
-300 grams butter
-100 grams ground almonds (nut meal)
-a handful of toasted almond slivers
Start by measuring the confectioner’s sugar and then separate the egg whites. Beat them with a mixer until they become sticky, this will not resemble regular meringue and it will take something like 15-20 minutes to beat them.
Preheat the oven to 125 Celsius/ 257 F.
Add the nut meal carefully to the egg and sugar mixture, fold it in.
Line two baking trays with baking paper and start spooning the mixture onto them. You should make four rectangular shaped cake bases with the mixture.
Bake them until they are dry, but not yet burned. It will take something like 1 1/2 hours. Change the position of the trays in the oven a couple of times when they are baking.
Make the filling meanwhile.
Add the sugar to the coffee (the coffee should be hot) and let it cool. Add the cream and the Baileys.
Beat the soft butter until it is creamy. Add the coffee mixture to the butter small amounts at a time. Lastly add the nut meal.
When the cake bases have dried and are done, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool.
Layer each cake base with the buttercream and decorate the cake with toasted almond slivers and confectioner’s sugar.
Measure 1,4 cups confectioner’s sugar and separate 6 egg whites.
Beat them with a mixer until they become sticky (15-20 minutes).
Fold 150 grams of nut meal into the mixture gently.
Layer two baking trays with baking paper.
Make four equal sized rectangular shaped cake bases.
Heat the oven to 125 C/257 F and place them into the oven. They should bake for something like 1 1/2 hours, until they are dry, but not burned. Keep an eye on them at the end of the baking.
Meanwhile make the filling.
Measure 0,4 cups strong hot coffee.
Add 5 tbls of sugar to the coffee. I have added the Baileys already to the coffee in that picture, but you should really add it with the cream after the sugar has dissolved into the hot coffee.
Add 0,24 cup of Baileys with 0,6 cup of cream to the coffee after it has cooled down and the sugar has dissolved. Mix everything together.
Measure 300 grams of butter. It should be of room temperature (like everything should be when you start baking). Beat it until it is creamy. Add the coffee mixture to it small amounts at a time. Lastly add 100 grams of nut meal and mix everything together.
When the macaroon layers are done place them upside down on some baking paper. Take a kitchen cloth and moisten it with ice cold water and then just move it along the baking paper. This will make it easier for you to take the macaroon sheets of the baking paper without breaking it.
Be careful, these macaroon sheets break easily. You should also avoid moistening them with the kitchen cloth, just be careful and you’ll have no problems. My sister demonstrates with her hands.
Start pulling the baking paper very carefully.
Let them cool down before you start putting the cake together.
Layer each cake base with the butter cream and place them on top of each other.
Decorate with toasted almond slivers and confectioner’s sugar, or with something else.
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