Mor Monsen kake, or in English “Mother Monsen Cake”, is a classic in the Norwegian kitchen, and traditionally were often baked for Christmas and Easter. A light, moist coffee cake with hints of lemon, it’s perfect both as a casual snack with your afternoon coffee, or to serve when guests are coming over. My mom used to make a large pan of it, and freeze it so she would have something to pull out the next time she entertained (which was often! You simply do not step foot in my mother’s house without being fed, at least twice!)
The recipe for Mor Monsen is 160 years old, and first appeared in 1845 in the famous cookbook by Hanna Winsnes entitled “Lærebog i de forskjellige Grene af Huusholdningen”, loosely translated as “A manual On The Different Household Chores”. This cookbook is still an inspiration and source for many cooks. Hanna Winsnes was the wife of a priest, and the parsonage served as both as a guest house and eatery. Having to take care of the farm, church goers and guests, the Mor Monsen cake was quick to make for visitors and a great choice during busy times. Hanna Winsnes is also known as Norway’s first female novelist, before turning to cookbooks, and was pivotal in helping professionalize the job known as “housewife”.
Nobody seems to know a whole lot about who Fru Monsen, or “Mrs Monsen” was, other than she was a very talented baker. Regardless, it is clear that she was influential enough to remain in our culinary history, as it’s one of the more popular cakes in Norway today.
This cake is the epitome of Norwegian baking; simple to whip up and tasty as can be. Try it out the next time you want to serve something that’s quick to make but that will satisfy every palate!
Recipe for a delicious Mor Monsen:
3 sticks (about 350g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pearl sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip butter and sugar on high speed until light yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then lower the speed and add the flour and baking powder until just combined. Pour the batter into the baking pan and sprinkle raisins and almonds on top of batter and finish with pearl sugar. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes. Slice into 3-4 inch squares before serving. Also freezes well!
Photo Source: dinmat.no / vg. no