While we Norwegians typically only have kransekake at Christmas and big parties such as weddings and confirmations, a kransekake is a great cake for all occasions and it looks good to boot. We have experienced bringing it to parties and finding that no one was eating it because people thought it was a center piece for decoration only! So now we always explain to people at the start how to serve the cake to maintain its nice shape as it gets eaten. To para-phrase Joss Whedon: You eat it starting with its bottom (7th season of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” mis-translation of the ominous warning “Desde abajo te devora” or “From beneath you it devours”).
Anyway, I digress and should get back to the recipe. Note that you’ll need special tins to make a traditionally shaped cake. If you don’t have the tins you will have to experiment with other shaped tins.
Ingredients (for one 18 rings high cake)
Grind the almonds in a hand driven or slow grinder. Warning: Fast speeds on normal kitchen machines makes for flat and non-chewy cakes. Mix ground almonds with icing sugar and flour. Add one egg white at a time until the dough so that you can roll it into a long “sausage”. It takes some practice to find the right thickness but you’ll have to make all 18 rings for the cake.
Spray the baking tins and dust them lightly with semolina flour. This will help you get the cakes out of the tins when they are done. Cut the rolled out dough to fill all 18 rings. Bake the rings/cake at 210 Celsius for 10-12 minutes. The rings should have a very light brown colour when they are done. Leave the rings in the tins until they have cooled off otherwise they’ll break when you try to remove them.
Mix icing sugar and water to a consistency that you can use piping bags to assemble the cake. Start with the largest ring, pipe icing sugar mix in a zig zag pattern around the ring, put the smaller ring on top and continue the process until the 18 rings have been assembled.
To store the cake, keep it in an airtight container. If it dries out, put a few slices of bread or halved raw potatoes in the container for a few hours with the cake. This will make it moist and chewy again. Make sure the bread or potatoes don’t touch the cake making it soggy. We also like to freeze left-over kransekake rings because they defrost in a few seconds in the micro wave and are very chewy afterwards.
PS: Rob still believes that all kransekaker should have 17 rings because you always eat the biggest/bottom ring to make sure that it is chewy and nice for the guests…
Photos: Grinding almonds by hand + special kransekake tins w/ 3 rings per 6 tins.
Photo: Cake decorated for a birthday - and one more traditional style for a confirmation.
Photo: Cake decorated for a baby shower
Photo: Cake decorated as a cornucopia with our favourite chocolates (Quality Street)