Now for some history (yay..... :D )
Kransekake directly translates as 'wreath cake' and is a traditional Norwegian cake (or Danish - but we'll ignore that for the purpose of this post) and you will always find one at birthdays, Christmases, Easters, confirmations and weddings. Normally made up of 18 rings of chewy almond cake (some fancy bakeries have bigger ones), they are also normally in a steep cone shape, but if you're really creative you can make a basket and even a horn. Now you do need special tins to bake these in, and from The Caked Crusader's suggestion, you can get them from Lakeland for under £10! It's made up of ground and chopped almonds, icing sugar and egg whites, basically if you don't like marzipan you ain't gonna like this! Simply they are decorated with glace icing and Norwegian flags and sometimes small crackers, for weddings they place a bride and groom on top, streamers and other times they also pin sweets to the sides.
This particular cake was for my brothers second wedding reception (for all those that couldn't make it or travel to Lyme). I hadn't made one myself before so my ever clever viking mum showed me the ropes. We couldn't find a little bride and groom to fit or that looked nice so we found a cute little pair of doves holding wedding rings and also some small wedding crackers along with some white ribbon for the streamer effect. To add some glam we also pinned some wrapped sweets on the sides, easy to pick off for a sugar rush!
Warning, you do really need two days to make this cake for the best results!
500g of almonds (250g of which is ground)
500g of icing sugar
3 decilitres of icing sugar (300ml)
1. Skinning the almonds: Add the non-ground almonds to a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat and leave them for 2-3 minutes. Pour the almonds into a strainer and rinse them under cold water. Take a fistful of the almonds at a time and rub them in a towel to make the skin loose. Pop the almonds out of their skin and leave to dry for a few hours or over night.
2. Making the dough: Grind the skinned and unskinned almonds in an almond grinder or food processor (why not just by all ground? You want some almond skin in there). Add the icing sugar and mix. Add egg-whites until the mixture becomes stretchy and firm. Cover the bowl with plastic and put in the fridge for a couple of hours, preferably overnight as it makes them more elastic.
3. Baking the cake: Grease kransekake moulds and sprinkle with semolina or fine bread crumbs, we didn't have either of these so used icing sugar, works fine. Heat oven to 200C/180fan (390F). Take a lump of dough at a time and roll into finger thick lengths that fit the moulds and join by squishing them together. Cook the rings in the centre of the oven for about 10mins or until golden. Cool them before putting them in an air-tight box. Leave the box in the freezer for at least 24 hours. This will make the kransekake nice and chewy.
4. Constructing the cake: Defrost the rings for 30mins minimum. Make icing by beating one egg white with 3dl of icing sugar. Fill the icing in an icing-bag. Assemble the cake from biggest ring to smallest using the icing as glue by zig-zagging the icing across the rings.
5. Decorate with tinsel, flags, party poppers, sparklers and wrapped lollies.
Recipe adapted from My Little Norway
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