The Chocolate-Almond Daim Cake
Long, long, ago (well, in 2005, actually...), I wrote up a little review on that most refreshing shopping oasis: the IKEA snack bar. Since then, hundreds of interested souls have traveled to this very website in search of a recipe for the Daim Cake I mentioned. Although that wasn't the intention of the original article, who am I to turn away a gang of hungry travelers?
To that end, I bring you: the homemade Daim Cake.
And now for a quick disclaimer.... IKEA's official website propaganda describes their Daim Cake as: "An original cake made out of Daim candy and almond cake."
For my Daim Cake (well, cakelets, really), I make almond cakes with crushed Daim bars and a simple chocolate ganache. If you've eaten the IKEA original, you can't help but notice that my version is less a thin, flat torte and more an individual snack cake. In fact, I think my version is more like what snack cakes should be... small, cute and made without industrial preservatives.
But yes... this Daim Cake is different. If you need thin tortes, go to IKEA. If you want something that ranks high in the "tasty" category, is simple to whip up and fun to assemble and eat (not to mention something that will probably impress the hell out of your neighborhood coffee klatch), give this recipe a whirl.
Daim bars in their natural habitat... my kitchen.
Now then: The first step (and this may be the hardest part of the process) is locating the Daim bars. I found mine at The Sweet Life on the Lower East Side, but if you're not a Manhattanite, you can probably search for them at your local IKEA food shop or a neighborhood candy store that cares. Barring that, substitute the Skor bar, which is awfully similar to the Daim and much, much easier to find here in the states.
You'll need one Daim bar to accommodate three mini-cakes. Making the full recipe (six cakes)? Get two bars. Get three if you're snacky. Put them in the freezer when you get them home.
Unadorned mini almond cakes
For the almond cakes, you'll need a standard-size muffin tin and:
Flour and butter (to grease and flour the muffin tin)
8oz sweetened almond paste (often sold in a can or tube)
3 fresh eggs, separated
2 Tbsp cream
3 Tbsp pastry flour/cake flour
1 tsp powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour six cups in a standard-size muffin tin.
2. Blend together the almond paste, egg yolks and cream until they form a smooth, thick, almond-scented mixture. Incorporate the flour.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the teaspoon of powdered sugar until you achieve firm, white peaks.
4. Scoop about half of the whipped egg whites into the almond mixture and fold it in until all the white is incorporated.
5. Scoop the remaining half of the whipped whites into the almond mixture and fold it in. Don't overwork the mixture at this point.
6. Fill six cups in the muffin tin with the batter. (In a 12-cup tin, I usually alternate filled cups with empty cups so it's balanced.)
7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out without batter stuck to it.
8. Cool 5-10 minutes in the tin, then run a butter knife around the edge of each cake to help release them from the pan. Be free, little cakes!
Assembling the Chocolate-Almond Daim Cakes
Once you have cooled cakes, use a serrated knife to cut the rounded tops off. These are tasty. Eat one now, and save the rest for later snacking... maybe with berries and whipped cream. Yum.
Bisect each cake so you have two equally-sized tiers to work with.
Take the Daim bars out of the freezer. Don't unwrap them. Immediately throw them down onto the kitchen floor as hard as you can. Pick them up and throw them again. Do this again if it makes you feel good. You're trying to shatter them as much as possible without sending chunks of chocolate flying across your kitchen. Once those bars are appropriately pummeled, open up the packages and pour out the pieces onto your cutting board. Chop up any large hunks so you have a nicely uniform "crumb."
Make the chocolate ganache in a small saucepan with:
2 cups chocolate pieces (I believe IKEA uses milk chocolate, but I prefer semi-sweet or dark, myself)
1/3 cup cream
1 Tbsp butter
Combine the chocolate, cream and butter in a saucepan over very, very low heat. Whisk all the lumpy chocolate bits until the sauce is smooth and shiny. Don't let it burble. Burbling is bad in this case.
Take apart the bisected cakes and lay them out on across a sheet pan you've covered in a protective layer of parchment, wax paper or plastic.
Use a small rubber spatula or a butter knife to spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over the tops of the lower layers and the bottoms of the uppper layers. Evenly sprinkle about a half-teaspoon of the Daim bar crumbs on each ganache-coated bottom layer (like the middle cake in the photo above), then put the tops on 'em (like the cake in the foreground).
Cover each cake with a smooth layer of ganache, sprinkle another half-teaspoon or so of crumbs on the tops, and finish the cakes by spreading another teaspoon or so of ganache across the Daim-crumb-topped cakes.
You should be able to smooth out most irregularities in the ganache with a butter knife that you've warmed in a glass of hot water... but don't get crazy about it. They should look a little irregular. It's better that way.
See? Tasty, simple and fun to make.
Cool the cakes at room temperature until the chocolate firms up, and serve 'em with hot coffee. Spare yourself the mad IKEA crowds, and dream of furniture-assembly instructions that make sense.