Princess cake + Norwegian cheese = Valhalla
I don’t know what possessed me to want to bake today. The weather in NY has been yucky all week, muggy, humid with oppressing heat intermingled with thunder and lightning and heavy rainstorms. Not exactly ideal conditions for baking. But … my love for geitost (also called “brunost” meaning “brown cheese”) won, and thus I wanted to create another recipe that involved this lovely cheese. If you are not already familiar with this unique, Norwegian cheese, please visit my previous post here, where I go more into detail about what it is and how it is made.
This cake offers multiple layers of flavors; a yeast dough flavored with cardamom, smeared with melted brown cheese, butter, sugar and maple syrup (what’s not to love??) and a home made rum cream. Fluffy, sinful and amazing… that must be the first three words that come to mind. Did I mention sinful? Cheese AND booze? Sign me up! I imagine this is what the big Viking Warriors who fought hard back in time and gave their lives, would want to eat once they arrived to their paradise, or Valhalla, as we call it in Norse mythology.
“Valhalla” by Max Bruckner
Melting the brown cheese, heightens the buttery, tangy flavors already present in the cheese from the process of making it when caramelizing the whey, so the liquid becomes a sophisticated caramel sauce. You can also add a bit more liquid to the sauce (adding cream), making it slightly runnier, to drizzle over ice cream, or even this cake.
For those of you who don’t secretly eat gjetost plain by the slice (one of my bad habits), here is a recipe you can put to use if you are pressed for creative ideas of what to do with your hunk of cheese. When I tasted this cake out of the oven, I was truly brought back to Norway eating this yeasty dough… it was just so moist and flavorful.. reminding me of great mornings and afternoons at the bakery spending time with my friends over a cup of coffee and delicious baked goods. Believe me – you will be the star of the night (or day) if you serve this up to your family, friends, guests or neighbors… just be prepared to be asked for the recipe! Luckily, I will share it with you below…
PRINSESSEKAKE MED BRUNOSTFYLL (Princess Cake with Brown Cheese Filling)
120 g butter (1 stick)
1 cup low fat milk
1 packet rapid rising yeast (or 50 g fresh cake yeast)
70 g (2.5 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 lb (500g) all purpose flour
Gjetost/brown cheese filling:
75 grams (3 oz) shredded TINE gjetost
100 grams (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
60 g butter (1/2 stick)
1 tbsp maple syrup
*Rum Cream *recipe to follow
To make cake:
Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the milk. Remove from heat, and add in the packet of yeast (make sure the mixture is not too hot – only about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit).
In a stand mixer or by hand, whisk eggs, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add in the milk-yeast mixture. In a separate bowl , combine the flour and cardamom. Add in the flour mixture to the liquid and combine until you have a smooth dough. Let rise covered with plastic wrap in a warm spot for about 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, make the gjetost filling. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot over low heat on the stove, stir until everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Make the Rum Cream:
1 3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
150 g (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
40 grams (1.5 oz) cornstarch
4 tbsp rum
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and cornstarch thoroughly together until no more lumps are showing.
In a sauce pot, add the milk, cream and sugar and bring nearly to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly pour in 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg-cornstarch mixture. Careful not to let the eggs scramble. Add the egg mixture back into the sauce pot and heat up slowly once again, constantly whisking until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Pour into a shallow bowl or sheet pan with edges, and place in fridge to cool.
Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a 9-inch spring form cake pan with nonstick spray.
Once dough has risen, place onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half. Press the first half into the prepared cake pan.
Spread the gjetost filling on top along with half of the chilled, prepared rum cream.
Roll out the other half to a rectangle 20×30 cm (50 x 75 inches). Smear the other half of the rum cream onto the dough and roll into a tight sausage.
Cut the rolls into 1 inch pieces, and place on top of the cake in the spring form cake, forming a circle.
Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for another 3o minutes.
Brush with some egg whites and bake in the bottom of the oven for about 30 minutes until golden.