Have you ever heard of a “national cake”? Well I hadn’t, until I saw this one: Kvæfjordkake. It is Norway’s “National Cake” since 2002 and you may also see that they call it “World’s Best Cake”. I don’t know about “best”, but it certainly beats many, MANY cakes in the world..
It is quite simple actually: prepare a basic sponge cake, top with meringue and almond pieces, bake altogether, cut in two and assemble with vanilla cream. The ingredients are really not that hard to find and aside from almonds, you probably have almost all of them at hand in your kitchen already (if you are an almond crazy person like me, you may also have that at hand at all times…).
For a long time I was not very much interested in Norway. But this totally changed when I met the Norwegian – my slanted eyed friend from Sortland, now living in Oslo. The one can of Fiskeboller (fish balls) as a gift from him, which I mentioned also in my Norwegian bread recipe a few months ago, started a chain reaction, making me very curious about Norwegian cuisine. He later on sent me a website where I could read and find out how to eat those balls, and as I went through other recipes in the website, I came across this delicious Kvæfjordkake. Turns out, this is my friend’s favourite cake — well it must be many Norwegians’ favourite, since they decided to call it their national cake!
This cake has such an impressive taste and form that I also chose to bake it for my 35th birthday! Kvæfjordkake is normally baked on an oven tray in a rectangle or a square form and is cut in two. But when I made it for my birthday, I baked two cakes in round springform mould and assembled those with a vanilla cream in between. I think you could also bake them in muffin moulds for smaller portions – I will definitely try it at some point!
One important thing about the cake: the taste gets richer overnight. So I recommend you bake it the day before. Do not put it in the fridge though, just cover it well and leave it in a slightly cool place of your kitchen.
Homage to the “Norwegian”!
75 gr. butter, in room temperature
75 gr. / 1 dl sugar
3 egg yolks
75 gr. / 1.2 dl flour
1 tsp / 5 ml baking powder
1 tsp / 5 ml vanilla sugar
3 tbsp / 45 ml milk
3 egg whites
130 gr. / 1.6 dl sugar
Almond pieces (crushed, slivered, cut…)
1.5 cups / 3.6 dl heavy cream
1 tbsp / 15 ml vanilla extract
First we make the sponge cake – preheat the oven to 175C.
1. Beat butter and sugar until you get a creamy mixture.
2. Add egg yolks, one by one, fully incorporating in between.
3. Add vanilla extract and continue beating.
4. Mix flour and baking powder.
5. Add flour mixture and milk – while continuing beating, start with adding half of flour, then milk and then the rest of flour. Beat only until all is well mixed, do not over mix.
6. On an oven tray with baking sheet, spread the sponge cake batter in a rectangle or square form. Put aside in a cool place.
Second, we make the meringue.
7. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
8. Add sugar, one spoonful each time, until all sugar is fully incorporated in the beaten egg whites.
9. Spread the beaten egg whites on sponge cake fully covering the surface.
10. Shape the surface of meringue as seen in the photo and add almond pieces. Almond adds a very rich taste so use as much as possible.
11. Put the cake in the oven, in middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Once baked, take it out of the oven and let it cool.
In the meantime, let’s make the cream.
12. Beat the cream together with vanilla extract until it gets stiff.
13. Cut the cooled cake in two. Spread cream in between and make a sandwich. Voila! That’s all! Delicious, is it not?