Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Simple Danish Sand Cake - Sandkage

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I hope you are in the mood for something a bit different. Sandkage is the Danish version of pound cake, and the one I want to share with you is unlike those you've tasted before. There are as many ways to make this cake as there are Danish grandmothers lurking in the kitchens of memory. I had the great good fortune to have my first taste of it in the kitchen of a neighbor when I was a child. The cake I'm familiar with used almond meal rather than the cornstarch that is found in most recipes for the cake. To be honest, I am not crazy about the texture of the cornstarch version of sandkage. I much prefer the slightly grainy texture of the cake when it is made with almond meal. Back in the day, there were no processors to make easy work of grinding nuts and seeds. We used a glass milk bottle to crush nuts placed in the bottom of a wooden salad bowl. It was was an inelegant but effective way to prepare the meal needed to make a genuine sandkage. Somewhere along the way, I lost my recipe for the cake, and rather than settle, I stopped making it. You can imagine my delight when I found Barbara Bordnick's recipe in The Way We Ate. It was very close to the version I remembered and I simply had to give it a try. I must tell you that I really like this cake. It is perfect with morning coffee and it makes a wonderful base for crushed and macerated fruit. The recipe is straight forward and I do hope you give it a try. While I've taken the liberty of adding almond extract to the base recipe, it is optional and you can omit it if you wish. Here is how a real sandkage is made.

Danish Sand Cake - Sandkage...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Barbara Bordnick and The Way We Ate

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces finely ground almonds (about 1/2 cup)

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (I also lined the bottom of my pan with parchment paper and greased it as well.)
2) Cream butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in egg yolks, one at a time, until well-blended. Add almond extract if using, then add flour, baking powder and almonds to mixture. (I actually whisked dry ingredients together before adding then to wet ingredients.)
3) In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until very stiff, then fold them carefully into batter. Transfer mixture to prepared pan.
4) Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Invert again and allow to cool completely before serving. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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Ginny Hartzler said...

You got me on this one...I have never heard if it. But if it is like pound cake with almonds, it must be wonderful.

Priya Suresh said...

Wonderful cake with beautiful crust.

Kim said...

I'm sure it's delicious with the almond meal:)


I love almond flavors ... so I must try this cake.


Melinda said...

Sounds interesting -i nhave not heard of this one either.

M :)

Jeannie Tay said...

That sounds absolutely perfect for a yummy afternoon treat:) I love the fine crumbs of this cake.

Buttercup said...

I know I would enjoy this. I keep ground almonds to bake with and I'd like to try this.

Jamie said...

This is so simple but there are two great things it makes me think of right off the bat, Mary. First, this is exactly the kind of cake my husband loves for breakfast and coffee breaks. Second, something so simple can be the happy backdrop of so many slight flavor changes (even if untraditional), apple slices, vanilla, chocolate chips.... beautiful cake!

David said...

Mary, Very interesting...I love pound cake and stepping it up with almond meal would really kick it up another notch! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Anonymous said...

I remember eating this while living in Danmark over 25+ years ago. Thank you for publishing this recipe!

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