April 24, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Swedish Almond Cream Cake

Whew! Let me tell you, Friends... this is the most complicated recipe I've ever baked. It's no secret that I am not a baker (I screw something up nearly every time I bake something) and this was bound to be a disaster from the beginning. But I really wanted to try it!

This recipe was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Marion Fields. She passed away in 2008 at age 81; this recipe was passed down from her Swedish-born mother, Gerda Svenssen.

Per my usual "rules" for making these heritage recipes, I made it as-written to the best of my ability--no modifications. Make sure you read the notes for clarification of the recipe.

Okay, like I said--this was a very complicated recipe. I must have used ten thousand bowls and utensils, and I could have used about a hundred extra hands. I'll post this recipe, exactly as written first, and then I'll explain my notes. (The printer-friendly version is written with clarification.)

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Swedish Almond Cream Cake

1/2 c. butter
5 egg yolks, well beaten
3 T. milk
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
5 egg whites
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Cream the butter and slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar; beat well. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift the flour and baking powder; add alternately with the milk. Pour batter into two well-greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Cover with the following meringue: Beat the egg whites until very light; gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating until whites are stiff. Spread on the batter and sprinkle with the slivered almonds and the 1 teaspoon sugar and cinnamon which have been mixed together. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut around edges with sharp knife. Turn out on rack. Quickly invert on another rack so meringue side is up. Cool and spread with pineapple filling. Spread whipped cream on sides. Filling: In top of double boiler mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and dash of salt. Stir in 2 beaten egg yolks and 2/3 cup milk. Cook and stir over boiling water until thick. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 cup drained crushed pineapple.

As you can see, there is a LOT going on here. Not all of the ingredients are listed before the directions, either, but thankfully I read through it a few times before I went to the grocery store.

There are several parts to the directions: 1) making the meringue; 2) making the batter; 3) making the filling; 4) making the whipped cream; 5) prepping pans, baking, spreading, stacking, and spreading some more.

I don't know much about baking, but I do know one thing about using egg whites--when making meringue, you cannot have ANY yolk in the whites or it won't work. So I was worried I was going to mess that up, and I started with it first. I separated five eggs, and surprisingly, I didn't get any yolk in the whites.

I did everything in this order:

1) Prep the baking pans--I spread generously with shortening and then dusted with flour.

2) Make the meringue--beat egg whites with a wire whisk until soft. Mine looked like very soft whipped cream. I continued whisking while adding the sugar, and beat until it was stiff and held its shape when I stirred it. Then I set this aside in the fridge. (I was VERY proud of this meringue! Haha)

3) Next, I worked on the cake batter. I creamed the butter and sugar, then added the egg yolks and vanilla. I sifted the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, and then I alternated 1 Tbsp. milk with about 1/3 of the flour/baking powder until it was all in there. The "batter" was definitely more like dough. It was VERY thick.

I went over the recipe trying to figure out what I did wrong. It stated to "pour the batter" into the pans, but this was a dough--slightly less stiff than cookie dough. And there wasn't very much of it at all--I doubted there would be enough to cover the bottom of each pan.

I decided to start the batter from scratch and see if maybe I screwed something up. I was very careful to follow directions. Again, the "batter" was more of a dough. I didn't want to stray from the recipe, so I just did the best I could and tried to spread the dough/batter around the bottom of the pans.

4) Then I preheated the oven and took the meringue out of the fridge. I spread the meringue over the dough/batter, then sprinkled the slivered almonds and cinnamon/sugar over the top. I baked for 30 minutes.

5) While it was baking, I got to work on the filling. To make a double boiler, I just got a large saucepan and filled it halfway with water, then I placed a glass bowl over the top for the ingredients. I added the sugar, flour, and salt. Then I stirred in the milk and egg yolks with a wire whisk, and I continued stirring with the heat on high (so the water was boiling under the glass bowl). I cooked it until it was about as thick as I figured it would get, then I turned off the heat and added the butter and drained pineapple. It was a thin filling--I felt like it should have been thicker, but I hoped it would thicken up as it cooled.

6) I was absolutely sure that the biggest disaster would be when I tried to turn the cakes out of the pans. In the directions, it says to turn it out on a rack, then quickly back over onto another rack so that the meringue is on top. I could just picture turning it over and all of the meringue falling off or getting totally squished. After I let the cakes cool for five minutes out of the oven, it was time.

I ran a knife around the edges to loosen it, and then I managed to maneuver a spatula underneath the cake to help me get it out--I was able to lift it and slide it onto the cooling rack without it falling apart! I literally did a victory dance around the kitchen. Then, I repeated with the second cake.

7) While they continued to cool, I made the whipped cream. The recipe doesn't specify if the whipped cream is sweetened or not, so I did not sweeten it. I just poured a pint of heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk until it was stiff. Then I put the bowl in the fridge to stay cool while the cakes finished cooling.

8) Finally, it was time to stack the cakes. The recipe doesn't specify stacking them, but I am guessing that it's a stacked cake because it has a filling; if it was meant to be two separate cakes, then it wouldn't have a filling. So, I spread the pineapple custard-like filling on the uglier of the two cake layers, and then stacked the prettier one on top. I took the whipped cream out of the fridge and spread it on the sides of the cake. Done!

It's not the prettiest looking cake, but it turned out MUCH better than I expected while I was preparing it. I was so sure that the cake would have texture of a cookie because the batter looked (and tasted) like cookie dough. It had a normal sponge-like texture for a cake. The filling didn't get much thicker, but it was absorbed a little into the cake (I imagine by tomorrow, all of the liquid will be absorbed--we ate it right when it was ready--at 10:00 pm! Haha. I definitely underestimated how long this was going to take to make.) The meringue was my favorite part--a great texture and perfect sweetness. I was disappointed that I couldn't taste the pineapple at all. The almonds gave a great crunch to the texture.

I may make this again someday, but it's a LOT of work--and now I have a kitchen full of dishes to clean. But it was a good recipe! And I feel a little more confident in trying more complicated baking recipes.


  1. Was it just okay or was it delicious. I may try making this one day for my husband. He loves all sweets.

    1. It was better than "just okay" but it wasn't "screaming from the rooftops amazing". Sorry that's not very helpful! I would definitely make it again, but I would probably sweeten the whipped cream (I liked it unsweetened, but the family didn't). And I would plan to make it ahead so that the filling could soak into it overnight. If you don't mind cleaning a LOT of dishes, it's worth a try! :)

  2. Ohmygoodness, that cake looks sooooo good! Please let us know how it is the 2nd day too. I'm impressed that you did all the whipping by hand. I totally would have caved and brought out the mixer. Hope you got some help washing all those bowls and pans.

    1. It was good on the first day, but definitely even better after letting the filling soak into the cake a bit. If I make it again, I would plan to make it a day ahead of time to allow it to soak in. And I probably should have specified that the "wire whisk" was the wire whisk attachment on my stand mixer! Hahaha. My carpal tunnel would NEVER allow me to whisk all that by hand.

  3. I'm also impressed that you whipped everything by hand! That's like they would have done when the recipe was first created, I'm sure. This recipe certainly has everything going on in it, with cake, and meringue, and filling, and whipped cream. Having the meringue layer in the middle is unusual. I'm glad it turned out so well for you!

    This reminds me of one of my husband's favorites: German sweet chocolate cake. There is nothing in the recipe that is really difficult, but it takes a hundred dishes and measuring cups and spoons and so on.

    1. I probably should have specified that the "wire whisk" was the wire whisk attachment on my stand mixer! Hahaha. My carpal tunnel would NEVER allow me to whisk all that by hand.

      And I know exactly what you mean about the German chocolate cake! It's Jerry's favorite, and I only made it for him once--because it's a TON of work (like this recipe was). And I hate doing all the dishes ;) However, I have it on my "40 Goals by 40 Years Old" list to do this year--I feel bad that I haven't made it in years.

  4. Sorry for all the comments on your blog! I'm playing catch up from having time off last week! This cake looks divine! All the hard work looks worth it!!

  5. Nope. Not even going to attempt that. Can I just stop by and have a taste?


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