There’s no big Norwegian celebration without a Kransekake. It’s a must at weddings and in our family: a holiday tradition. As most special holiday treats, it does take a bit of preparation, as well as a special set of ring-formed pans, which, luckily, my sister-in-law and I once gifted to our mother-in-law. Very generous. Don’t think the pans have left my house for a more than a decade.
Basic ingredients, a bit of tender loving care, a few days to develop the perfect chewy consistency, and you have a centrepiece and holiday dessert like no other. Delicious on its own, dipped in whipped cream, eaten with chocolate, a sip of holiday drink. Just remember: start taking the rings off from the bottom, that way the cakes always looks beautiful. Flags and Christmas crackers are classic decorations, as is a marzipan rose on top. Picture above is taken immediately after assembling.
This is what the rings look like. Kinda cool.
- 750 grams ground almonds
- 750 grams icing sugar
- 7 Tablespoons egg whites
With your hands, mix all together in a large pot until a dough forms.
Put the pot over low heat and knead the dough until it’s warm enough to almost burn your knuckles. Careful not to overheat and burn.
Cover, set aside, and leave for 24 hours.
- 4 Tablespoons egg whites
Whisk until stiff peaks and knead into the dough, again using your hands.
Let rest for at least 2 hours..
Prepare the pans: melt butter and cool until thick. Butter all pans and let sit for about half an hour until butter hardens, then re-apply. Pour cream of wheat onto buttered pans, making sure all are covered.
Turn the oven on to 180 Celsius.
Roll dough into finger-thick ‘sausages’ and add to each pan, in a circle.
Put the pans on a cookie sheet, bake in the middle of the oven for 14 minutes. Move the cookie sheet to the bottom of the oven and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
Cool in pans, next to an open window.
When cool, carefully remove the rings from the pans and dust of any excess cream of wheat with a brush.
Mix the Glaze:
- 300 ml icing sugar
- 3 Tablespoons egg whites
and add to a ziplock bag (or a fancy cake decorating bag if you’ve got one). Cut off a small corner of the bag.
Make a zigzag pattern of the glaze on the largest ring, then on the second largest and place it on the largest. Keep going until you form a tower. Be patient!
Let the rings and glaze cool for about half an hour, then cover with a large bag and store in a cool place for at least 24 hours. This will make the cake slightly chewy and not too crispy.
Decorate and share with family and good friends!