Scandilicious Toscakaka - Vanilla & Salted Almond Praline Cake

I made this cake last night for a barbecue I'm attending today and I was certain that I'd posted about it before. But I've gone through my archives and can't see it, so here it is. A very buttery, fluffy vanilla cake, topped with a chewy salted almond praline. It's a good cake for picking at over the course of a week; the caramel coating seeps into the cake as the days pass, working to preserve it and to intensify the flavours.

I first tested this cake on my work colleagues. I realised part-way through making it, that I didn't have the full weight of flaked almonds required for the caramel topping, so I topped them up with shredded coconut, this being an alternative topping suggested in the Scandilicious Baking book from which I took the recipe.

The cake was a roaring success. I had people coming up to my desk with a glazed look in their eyes, asking what was in it. I received emails asking for the recipe. Someone offered to be my eternal tea-making slave, if I promised to bring it in again on a monthly basis. 

Signe Johanssen, the lady behind Scandilicious, tips that it's the salt in this recipe that makes the cake and she is utterly correct.  But if you oversalt the praline, the cake will be ruined (as I discovered last year).  I use three quarters of a teaspoon, then when the praline has cooled down sufficiently, taste and add another quarter teaspoon if needed.

My own tip is to scale up the quantities for the caramel topping by fifteen per cent or so. That way, you get to keep a little bit of topping to one side, and eat it from the pan when it cools down. Having scanned some other blogs which have posted this recipe, I'm comforted to see that I'm not the only person who struggles to resist picking bits of the topping of the cake. If I'd followed my own tip when making this cake last night, I'd probably have a whole one left, not the half-eaten one shown in the photos (if anyone at the barbecue asks, it's meant to look like that).

I didn't make any adaptations to the original recipe, other than making the praline with coconut and almond, so won't publish it here.  The recipe can be found on Google Books here, or treat yourself to a copy of Scandilicious Baking.

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