Sometimes confused with the equally tasty but completely different Swedish Almond Cake, this cake can stand on its own feet. Swedish Nut Cake is similar to carrot cake except it uses crushed pineapple and walnuts to achieve that tender and earthy consistency. Swedish Almond Cake, on the other hand, relies on almonds, both ground and flaked, to create a light-as-air cake sandwiched with a velvety vanilla custard.
Swedish Nut Cake
This cake is unique in that it has no butter or oil in the batter. This is saved for the utterly decadent frosting that has both cream cheese and butter in it. Amazingly, you don't miss the fat in the cake itself. It is kept both moist and tender with a generous amount of crushed pineapple and pineapple juice.
Traditionally, the cake is flavored simply with vanilla, almonds, and the aforementioned pineapple, but I like to add a little something extra with a spoonful of fresh lemon or orange zest and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. These two enhance the other ingredients with their fragrance and flavor, elevating this cake to something even more scrumptious. If you don't have fresh zest on hand, dried will do fine; you'll just need to add more to get the flavor profile you want.
Swedish Nut Cake is usually made with two cups of sugar, but I cut mine back to one since it gets plenty of sweetness from the pineapple and frosting. But if you like your cake really sweet, by all means, add another cup of sugar.
This batter is so easy to whip up. Just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another, then stir both together until there is no flour visible. Don't over mix or your cake can be tough. While the cake is baking, mix up the frosting and you'll have a delicious dessert ready to eat within the hour.
The traditional frosting for a Swedish Nut Cake is truly fabulous. Simply whisk together softened cream cheese, softened butter, a cup or two of powdered sugar, and a spoonful of fragrant vanilla extract. As with the batter, I also include grated fresh lemon or orange zest and a pinch or two of cinnamon. I think they make the frosting even nicer, but if you want to stick with the traditional recipe, leave them out.
Your cake can be frosted directly out of the oven, but I prefer to wait until it cools so the frosting doesn't melt and slide all over the place. It is not a pretty cake, but you can glam it up a bit with some walnut halves or a sprinkling of lemon zest and finely ground almonds. I like it just as it is, but my husband swears it's even better with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tea and Swedish Nut Cake Pairings
This humble but delicious cake goes really well with nutty black teas. I had mine with Coconut Macaron Dessert Tea and it was a wonderful pairing, but I think it would also be good with Porch Sippin' Pecan Black Tea or Oregon Breakfast Black Tea with hazelnut and orange.
Swedish Nut Cake
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoons fresh lemon or orange zest
- 1 20-oz can pineapple with juice, pureed
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch by 13-inch pan and set aside.
In large bowl stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, walnuts, and baking soda.
In small bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and pureed pineapple and juice. Add to dry mixture and stir until moistened and no flour is visible.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
While cake is baking, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, walnuts, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Set aside.
When cake is finished, let cool 15-20 minutes then spread evenly with frosting. If you wish, dust evenly with finely chopped walnuts before serving.