Daim Cake Recipe

Gâteau aux Daims

Daim Cake

Sometimes I come upon a recipe and I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. Case in point: the Buttercrunch Almond Tea Cake, as baked by Zarah Maria in Copenhagen. The original recipe comes from Lisa Yockelson’s book Baking by Flavor and is a tea cake studded with chunks of Heath bar. Heath bars I don’t do (never had one, not sold over here) but Zarah Maria had the brilliance to use Daims instead. Daims? That I will do.

Daims are a Swedish bite-size confection of milk-chocolate-covered crunchy caramel with specks of almonds. Originally made by a company called Freia Marabou, they have been a popular treat in Scandinavia since 1952. The French discovered them by way of IKEA, who was the sole importer for quite a while. Purchasing a bag of those red-wrapped candies was an efficient way to ease the stress and tension of building whatever piece of furniture you had also bought, and it is harder to snap at your spouse (or whoever your assistant builder is) for misplacing the screwdriver when your jaws are stuck together by caramel.

Kraft Foods acquired Freia Marabou in 1993 and started distributing Daims more widely on the French market, selling them in regular grocery stores, introducing them as a larger-sized bar, and even working with le MacDo to produce a Daim McFlurry (vanilla ice-cream mixed with bits of Daim). I myself enjoy them very much (caramel, chocolate, almonds, you can’t go wrong!), although with a little more restraint than the average consumer who, according to a study conducted by Kraft Foods France, usually eats nine Daims in a row.

Anyway. Zarah Maria had tempted me in an inescapable way, so I hunted for the original cake recipe (Amazon’s “search inside” feature? Very convenient.) and made it, in addition to the gingersnaps, when my cousins came over for tea and cakes last week. Apart from the Daim substitution I changed a few other things, using powdered almonds instead of slivered, all-purpose flour and baking powder instead of cake flour, omitting the almond extract and allspice, lowering the sugar content and using yogurts instead of milk and cream.

The resulting cake was simply wonderful, fine-crumbed and moist, and reminded me a lot of the coffee cakes I like to make. The Daim chunks had mostly fallen to the bottom (admittedly I neglected to toss them with a little flour as Lisa recommended) but this lent the cake a stupendous ground layer of caramely goldness, encouraging the eater (as I was able to observe on my enthusiastic guinea pigs) to enjoy the cake from top to bottom and keep the best for last.

Gâteau aux Daims

- 3 C (360g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp (1 envelope) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 11 oz (300g) Daims
- 1/4 C (22g) ground almonds (a.k.a. powdered almonds or almond meal)
- 2 sticks (220g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 C (300g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 C (35 g) light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 C (250 ml) plain yogurt
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 10-inch cake pan (I use one with a removable bottom).

Unwrap the Daims and chop them roughly with a knife, not too thinly: you want Daims chunks, not Daims powder. In a medium mixing-bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ground almonds. In a smaller bowl, toss the chopped Daims with a tablespoon of the flour mixture.

Cream the butter in the food processor for 3 minutes. Add in the granulated sugar and mix for 2 minutes. Add in the brown sugar and mix for another minute. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and mix again.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating them with the yogurts in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Avoid overmixing the batter. Stir in the chopped Daims, and pour the batter into the cake pan, leveling the surface with a spatula.

Put into the oven to bake for 55 minutes to an hour, until the cake turns brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for five minutes on a rack, unmold and return to the rack to cool completely. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar if desired — and if it’s not meant to be a birthday cake!

[Recipe adapted from Lisa Yockelson's Buttercrunch almond tea cake, in her book Baking by Flavor]

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  • http://mouthingthewords.blogspot.com Saffron

    You said the one of few words which make this girl happy… caramel!
    What was the sweetness like? I like the idea of lowering the sugar content, because I can imagine, with caramel goodness at the bottom… its would like honey-honey.

    Also, the substitution of yoghurt is always an excellent idea. You will alway end up with something deliciously moist!

  • pinktoffee

    OMG this is so tempting Clotilde!

    Yes, I totally understand when u said that there were times when u kept remembering those appealing-looking recipes in your head and can’t seem to
    get it out.

    Tell u what, this will be on of my can’t-get-out-my-head recipes too! Thanks to u!

  • http://www.aliaweb.co.uk Alia

    Sounds lovely! Just a note – in the UK, Daims are called Dime bars. :)

  • christoph

    Salut clotilde,
    I like the idea to use a well known sweet etc. in a new combination. Last weekend I ground 4 Fishermens friends in mortar to powder and mixed it with melted dark chocolate, an excellent refresher after a heavy meal.

  • http://www.foodandthoughts.blogspot.com Zarah Maria

    I’m glad I could inspire you Clotilde – afterall, you’ve inspired me so often, it is only proper with a little pay-back! :-) Your version sounds gorgeous, I must try it some day – if I can keep Daim in the house long enough before my boyfriend eats it!

  • corey

    baking still scares me, but this does sound yummy.

  • http://fingerineverypie.typepad.com Julie

    Clotilde, your spin on this sounds good. I’ve been wanting to make it ever since Zarah posted it on another cooking forum that she and I both participate in. I’m so glad that both my memory and my desire to make this have been given a little shake. Especially considering that I came across a bag of mini Daims from Ikea when going through the pantry the other day — and they probably should be used fairly soon. Did you use a 10″ round cake tin? Somehow in the pic, your cake almost looks oblong or loaf-shaped…but that could be the distortion on my monitor.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Christoph – What a fabulous idea! What did you do with the melted chocolate afterwards? Did you let it set in small molds? Silicon maybe? I’m thinking it should work well in sheets, too… Will have to remember that tip!

    Julie – Yes, I baked it in a regular round cake pan: it’s probably the angle of the picture that’s a little strange!

  • http://kitschenette.typepad.com/redkitchen kitschenette

    i so love those caramelly, crunchy tooth-decay inducing little red sweeties. does anybody leave ikea without a bag of these?? how clever you and zarah maria are to dream this up! i must try this, soon. although, now i think of it, it may necessitate a trip to ikea to buy the extra extra big bag of caramel munchies…

  • Lisa Yockelson

    The cake looks delicious. It’s just so wonderful to see bakers enjoying my recipes and making them their own!
    Lisa
    (Lisa Yockelson, author of BAKING BY FLAVOR)

  • christoph

    just spread it very thin on parchment paper and we used it for a decoration for a vanilla cream. Next time I will make them thicker because the resulted chocolate leafes tend to be very soft and fragile.
    I’m wondering what can be done with Carambar except for damaging your teeth?

  • http://swannerino.diaryland.com swanner

    I can’t seem to find the answer to this… how does one cream butter in a food processor? Would I use the cream whipping/ mereunge making whisk type attachment, the plain plastic blade, or what? This cake looks lovely… I can’t wait to make it!

  • Alex

    Salut Clotilde,
    You have such a cool blog. I’ve been reading through the archives and you’ve inspired me to think about starting my own blog. I was in Cambodia recently and I remembered you saying something about trying everything so you could write about it so I ended up eating stuff like morning glory in green curry just for the experience. I’ve actually managed to learn French alot faster by reading your blog than using the language software I have, but it’s mostly food related and I don’t mind. The daim cake looks fabulous, by the way and I love the idea of reducing the amount of sugar. This is a really terrific blog! :)

  • http://www.povertybarn.com Catherine

    Considering that I am part Swedish, I am delighted to read this post. That cake is fabulous — made one a few weeks back. We have a swedish cookbook from around 1900 that has a recipe for this and a chocolate that is to die for! I will find the recipe for you.

  • annadev

    Hmmm, I live in Canada, where neither Heath Bars nor Daims are available. I am going to try the cake using Skor bars, which I think are pretty close. Stay tuned.

  • cakey

    I think once you change most of the main ingredients and the amounts of some others you don’t have to reference anyone, though, hi Lisa, i don”t have your book, it must of come out in one of my sober (cookbook addiction) periods.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Swanner – To cream the butter in the food processor, I just used the regular blade and mixed for a few minutes. Not sure this is orthodox, but the cake turned out fine! :)

    Cakey – I’ve heard about the “five elements” rule (if you’ve changed five important elements in a recipe you can consider it’s yours) but as a sign of appreciation I always give credit when credit is due. Inspiration is such a precious thing!

  • Karen

    What’s the best way to mix this if you don’t have a food processor? Will it still come out OK? (I’m just learning to bake as you can see…)

  • Cheryl

    OOO- CARAMBARS- the carambar website has recipes to answer your question as to what one can do with them. My kids have got me turned onto them- the caramnougat flavor is especially nice, as is the atomic cactus.

  • Carin

    I’m as swedish as a “dalahäst” and it’s great to hear that Daim is appreciated in the rest of Europe as well!

    Tips: I put Daim chunks in chocolat-muffins, really delicious too. Or another swedish treat called Dumle (soft toffee covered with choccolat, you probably have someting similar) which becomes slightly crunchy and deliciously chewy when baked in a muffin.

  • bertrand

    Clotilde, I love your site and I’m impatiently waiting for your Nutella recipes. Anadev, Daim can be found in any Ikea stores in France. It must be the same in Canada…

  • http://www.thatcanadiangirl.co.uk Vero

    I was planning on making muffin versions of this cake, but everything seems to be working against me!

    I couldn’t find Dime bars (the British equivalent to Daims), but bought some toffee bites and some nougat chocolate bars to use instead.

    And then, I gave my husband half the list of groceries and he forgot the eggs. So now, it’s Sunday evening, shops are closed and I have no eggs. So no sweet sweet muffins for him.

    *sigh* What’s a Sunday afternoon without baking…

  • Sarawr

    Oh wow!
    What a fantastic recipe!
    I went to Ikea today.. and yesterday.. and I tried their Daim cake.. and it was amazing.. so I was trying to find the recipe.. but I don’t know where I would find the Daim candy in Canada? Any suggestions?

  • ben

    i made this cake the other day.

    first cake i ever made.

    it’s nice.
    thanks.

  • Nomi

    Hi Clotilde
    I’m a regular follower of your recipes and have tried many of them. I am a huge fan, since it always comes out delicious..
    I made this cake and substituted the Daim bars for chuncks of TWIX!!!
    it came out amazing! and huge!
    after a dinner for 13 people, I cut the remains to huge slices for people to take away home with them, It’ll go great with the morning coffee… I should’ve thought of that for myself really…

    Nomi

  • http://smilesarethesoulskisses.blogspot.com VanGrrl

    This looks fabulous! For those Canadians out there … you can get them at Ikea, like Clotilde said. I always pick up a few boxes when I go … they are great toppers for a vanilla frozen yogurt and berries.

  • Elli

    Hi Clotilde, after almost a year of planning (it is too sinful to eat for just 2 people, and I didnt want to scale it down and possibly spoil it!), i made this scrumptious cake last sunday, as part of a potluck dinner for many friends. It turned out VERY nice, and everyone loved it.
    The modifications i did were minor: the flours i used were 30% white flour, 30% whole wheat and 30% organic whole wheat with husk. I reduced the sugar to 200 gms unrefined cane sugar.
    I used Milka Daims.

    the Daims were too sweet for me, but i simply scraped them away from my cake. it turned out soft, moist and so delicious!!

    thanks for the recipe!

  • charlie

    how would you suggest to ice this for a birthday cake?

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