World’s Best Cake is a pretty serious claim to make, but Sweet Paul founder Paul Lowe stands behind the title. Lowe’s recipe for the superlative baked good comes from his new book “Eat & Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You’ll Love,’’ and comes with the following disclaimer:
This cake was awarded the title of Norway’s National Cake a few years back. It’s called verdens beste in Norwegian, and I agree that it just might be the world’s best. You may be skeptical of its superiority, since it isn’t iced as are many American cakes. When we photographed it, I left it at the studio apartment of Alexandra Grablewski, this book’s photographer, and the next day she confessed to having eaten two huge servings. “I guess the Norwegians are right,’’ she said.
We suppose you’ve been warned.
Lowe will be at Crate & Barrel, 777 Boylston St. at Fairfield, from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 to sign copies of his book and demo a craft for fans.
World’s Best Cake
10½ tablespoons (1 stick plus 21⁄2 tablespoons) butter, softened
12⁄ 3 cups granulated sugar
11⁄ 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
1⁄ 3 cup whole milk
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 vanilla bean
Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle position. Line an 8-x-12-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Beat the butter and 2⁄ 3 cup of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix well on low speed.
Mix in the egg yolks and milk.
Scrape the batter into the baking pan.
In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks. Spread on top of the cake layer. Sprinkle with the almond slices.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed. Cool on a wire rack in the pan. Transfer to a cutting board.
When the cake is cool, put the cream in a medium bowl and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Discard the vanilla pod. Beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.
Cut the cake in half crosswise with a serrated knife. Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with the cream. Place the other half, meringue side up, on top.
Let the cake sit for 1 hour in the fridge before serving.
Text excerpted from SWEET PAUL EAT AND MAKE, © 2014 by Paul Lowe Einlyng. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.