Seven Types of Cookies for Christmas: Day Five

Every time I see “kransekakestenger” on a cookie plate, my mouth instantly starts to water.  These soft, chewy and flavor packed concoctions contain only three ingredients but taste so heavenly it’s easy to believe these take all day to bake, when quite the opposite is true.

I am sure most of my readers who are familiar with Norwegian cakes have heard of the “kransekake” – an impressive tower of “circles” of cake made out of ground almonds, confectioners sugar and egg whites and decorated with Norwegian flags and bon bons.   You can read more about it and get the recipe in my previous blog post here. Here’s a photo of one my mother made for my niece’s confirmation earlier this year:

kransekake4Norwegians have taken the contents of this cake and turned them into “stick” like cookies, hence the name ‘kransekakestenger’.    Much easier to prepare, and you still get the same taste and experience!  A popular way to present them is to dip each end in chocolate, bringing extra delight at the beginning and end of eating this insanely good cookie.

kransekakestengersparPhoto Source: Spar.no

These divine cookies are also gluten free if you don’t add in the optional tbsp of flour – I like to add it because I feel it adds a little texture to the cookies but the traditional recipe has no flour in it.

I’ve also added a plant based alternative to the egg whites, making these vegan if you would like to!  Happy baking!

KRANSEKAKESTENGER

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup) scolded almonds (see below how to do this)

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup)  whole almonds (unsalted)

250 grams or 9 oz (1 cup) confectioner’s sugar

3-4 egg whites at room temperature or 3 -4 tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 9-12 tbsp of water (this becomes gooey and gelatinous like egg whites)

1 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)

For chocolate dip:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To scold almonds (this can be done days in advance):    Bring some water in a pot to a boil, turn off heat and place the almonds in the water. Let them sit 2-3 minutes in the water, then rinse them in cold water.  Squeeze the almonds and remove the shells.  Let the almonds dry a couple of hours before using.

Grind up the scalded and un-scolded whole almonds in a food processor or an old fashioned grinder until fine.  Add in the confectioners sugar and all purpose flour and add in egg whites or flax seed mixture until you have a firm, sticky dough (you may not need to add all the egg whites /flax seed mix, adding too much liquid can ruin the consistency of the cookies).   Roll into a firm ball and wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400F or 2ooC.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 4-5 inch pieces and place on baking sheets.  Cook for about 10 minutes until slightly golden on top.  While the cookies are cooling,  melt the chocolate on the stove in a double boiler. Dip the cookies in the chocolate on both ends, and place on rack to seize up.  You can also decorate the cookies as shown below- pretty, right?

kransekakestengerjaningehagaPhoto Credit:  Jan Inge Haga

Daim Ice Cream Cake; the perfect summer dessert

One of things I most look forward to when going to Norway is being able to enjoy all the delicious chocolates. There simply isn’t any chocolate in the world better than the rich, creamy, light chocolates of Norway. Whether it’s the superior milk there or their secret recipe,  I am not sure, but during every visit I overdose on all and any type of chocolate I can get my hands on.  It’s as if I have to make up for lost time, “suffering” through the rest of the year among the American chocolate found  in the grocery isles here.  I secretly feel sorry for American kids who think a Hershey bar is the best thing ever.  They don’t know what they are missing!

daim

One of my old time favorites is Daim.  This toffee candy is crunchy and creamy and covered with the most delicious milk chocolate, and has now become more widely available (thank God) in other countries as well.   I love it because it offers different textures and seems lighter than other chocolates, but still contain so many layers of flavors.  There now is Daim in all forms:  Streusel (to put on top of ice cream, cakes  and other desserts),  bite size Daim,  ice cream bars, and Daim biscuits among other things.  Clearly people love this product, and will invent any excuse to add Daim into any and all foods if they can!

dajmkjeks

daimcandydaimstrossel

Last week I was fortunate to have tasted a homemade Daim ice cream cake made by one of my sister’s friends, and although it has now become quite the classic in Norway,  served at confirmations, christenings, weddings and holidays, I was simply astounded once again by how delightful this cake is.  With the weather reaching record temperatures in Norway this past week and it certainly has started getting balmy in NY as well as we move towards summer, I thought it fitting to include a recipe for this cool dessert.

This recipe is stuffed with Daim chocolate – a sort of super charged Daim ice cream cake made for someone who just can’t get enough of this flavor.  Because you can never have too much of a good thing, right?  Try it out and let me know!  Maybe it will inspire you to make other desserts with Daim as well, I know I certainly have been bitten by the bug and will most likely post another recipe featuring this mouthwatering ingredient soon!   P.S. No ice cream machine needed!!

daimiskake

DAIM ISKREMKAKE  (Daim Ice Cream Cake)

For the meringue bottom:

4 egg whites

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

4 oz almonds

*2 large Daim chocolates  (or roughly 1 1/2 cups chopped)

For the ice cream:

4 egg yolks

2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp cold strong coffee

*2 large Daim chocolates  (or roughly 1 1/2 cups chopped)

6 1/2 oz milk chocolate (if you can find Melkesjokolade with Daim – perfect)

*see note at bottom for where to purchase Daim chocolate

Decoration:
Daim streusel (if you can’t find this, just grind up some regular Daim chocolate)

To make meringue:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 10 inch spring form cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Whisk the egg whites and confectioner sugar until stiff peaks form.  In a food processor, place the Daim and almonds and grind them up (not super fine but like coarse meal).  Fold it into the egg white mixture.  Pour into cake pan and place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Cool cake on a rack, and carefully remove the spring form around it and clean it.

To make ice cream:

Whisk egg yolks and sugar until light yellow and airy.  Whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form and fold into egg mixture.   In a small bowl, mix the vanilla extract together with the coffee. Chop up the Daim chocolates and add into the egg-cream along with vanilla-coffee liquid.   Melt the milk chocolate carefully in a bowl placed on top of a pot on the stove filled with a little simmering water, and when cool fold into the ice cream mixture.    Place the spring form pan around the cooled meringue, and pour the ice cream mixture on top of the meringue.   Place in freezer. Decorate with the Daim streusel or chopped Daim when the ice cream cake has been in freezer for a couple of hours and have been able to set.  Serve with a good, strong cup of Norwegian coffee!

daimiskake1

*Note:  You can purchase Daim chocolate at the following online stores:

Ingebretsenshttp://www.ingebretsens.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Daim

Here you can even find the milk  chocolate with the Daim pieces in it!

Scandinavian Specialtieshttp://www.scanspecialties.com/proddetail.php?prod=D10

Nordic Delihttp://nordicdeli.com/chocolates/chocolates.htm

Sockerbithttp://sockerbit.com/productdesc.html?id=157

The ultimate carrot cake

Ok, so carrot cake may not be from Norway, but it sure is an extremely popular cake in that part of the world.  Besides, dishes seem to transcend to different countries, with slight variations of ingredients, methods and flavor profiles. The cake is said to have originated in Sweden, but it is not known for sure.  Carrot puddings were enjoyed by people in Europe all the way back to medieval times, as carrots were used as sugar substitutes in sweet dishes.  Regardless of its origins – sometimes you just need that easy, fool proof recipe that everyone is going to be ooh’ing and aah’ing over – and this one is definitely it!!

There are probably as many recipes as there are opinions about carrot cakes out there; some insist to include raisins and nuts, some think that is sacrilege, some like to add different spices, others like the carrot cake to be plain, while some think there should be no sugar in the cake, because the carrots are sweet enough and the list goes on.

My recipe is one I received from my sister, the best baker I know of Norwegian cakes and other goodies. I’ve altered it slightly, just adding some spices to it and also added in a little sour cream in the frosting.   Incredibly juicy, aromatic and flavorful, it is light and airy and makes it simply impossible to have just one piece.  This is my chef husband’s favorite cake, he claims I make the best one he’s ever tasted.  I happily take the compliment, since he is not typically a fan of sweets and it’s hard to get him to be excited about cakes.   His birthday was this past Thursday and of course I had to whip up my famous carrot cake! I also brought it to a get together this afternoon where it disappeared within an hour –  it was such a huge hit I’ve been asked to make it at an upcoming birthday party for a group of people.

I think the frosting is just as good as the cake here – tangy and sweet flavors intermixed, just delicious!

Got you curious about how wonderful this cake is? There’s only one way to find out – test it out and let me know if you agree!!

KRYDRET GULROTKAKE  (Spiced Carrot Cake)

For cake:

4 eggs

1 1/2  cups (300 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar

2 cups (350 grams) all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 lb (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled (preferably carrots from the farmer market)

1 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)

1 1/2 cups (350 ml) canola or vegetable oil

For the frosting:

8 oz (225g) cream cheese

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool

300 grams (10 oz) confectioners sugar

2 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and adjust oven rack to the middle position. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Combine flour, salt, vanilla sugar if using, and spices in a bowl.  In a food processor,  shred the carrots (you should have about 4 cups).

gratedcarrots
Pour shredded carrots into a separate bowl. Wipe out the food processor and fit with the metal blade. Process eggs and sugars until light yellow and frothy, about 20 seconds.

frothyeggs

With the machine running, pour in the oil slowly. Mix until combined and pour into a large bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients and the carrots, combine until no streaks of flours remain.

carrotcakebatterbattercarrot

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.  Process the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in clean food processor until combined. Scrape down as needed, before adding the confectioners sugar. Process until smooth, a few seconds.

frosting

Run a pairing knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Peel off parchment paper, and move cake onto a serving tray.  Using an offset spatula, spread the cake with the frosting. Cut into serving pieces and serve!

carrotcake1

Ritz Cake – why crackers aren’t just for cheese!

My sister first introduced me to this wonderful cake. She is a fantastic baker, and manages to make everything from scratch with a house full of kid wanting her attention 24/7.  At one point she had two jobs and no help with cooking or cleaning, while making breakfast, lunch and dinner and baking in between!  Not sure how she does it – a real wonder woman indeed!  Admittedly, she  is not a fan of making savory dishes, but she enjoys baking, and her love for it certainly shows in her food. I always go to her for tips and recipes when I need a Norwegian inspired “twist” on desserts and baked goods, and she never disappoints.

I am grateful for having discovered the Ritz cake; sweet and salty with a lovely texture, it’s almost like eating a Snickers bar (in fact, the Ritz cake is a simpler version of the Snickers cake).   Incredibly easy to make, but guaranteed to vow your guests and entice their taste buds, this cake is a favorite among the majority of my friends.  Most modern households in Norway today will serve one version or another of Ritz cake – and while the base recipe will be similar, the toppings will vary depending on which home you visit!

This is also a great cake for anyone allergic to dairy –  just be mindful of which topping you choose (see below). I tend to love glazing the cake with chocolate and drizzle with chopped nuts. Alternatively,  decorate with fruit and/or berries.

ritz-crackers

RITZKAKE  (Ritz Cake)

5 egg whites

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar (or substitute vanilla extract)

About 30 Ritz crackers

6 oz walnuts, chopped  (if you prefer peanuts, you can substitute)

Directions for cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and line a spring form cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks. .Add the sugar, and continue whisking until a meringue forms. Meanwhile, add the Ritz crackers in a food processor and process until crackers are pea sized lumps. Add in the baking powder and vanilla sugar and chopped walnuts and pulse until combined.  Fold this mixture into the meringue and pour into the cake pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan, slowly loosen the cake from the pan, remove the parchment paper from the bottom and place on a cake tray.  Top with your decoration of choice.

ritzkake

Decoration choices:

1) Vanilla Custard     (recipe adapted from epicurious.com)

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat milk in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not boiling.

While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth.

Add 1 cup hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer, 6 to 10 minutes (do not boil).

Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold and thickened, at least 3 hours.

Spread the vanilla custard on top of cake, grate some of your favorite dark chocolate over the vanilla custard and garnish with fresh berries of your choice (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.).
vaniljekrem Image: Matprat.no

2) Chocolate glaze w/toasted, chopped nuts

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.

Let cool and spread on cake.

Chocolate_Glaze-1

Toast any nuts you enjoy (Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, etc.), chop them roughly and sprinkle on top of chocolate glaze.

3) Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries (traditional)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp powdered sugar

Whisk everything in a stand mixer until firm but still soft.

Garnish with berries or fruit – strawberries, sliced kiwis, raspberries, sliced home canned pears or apricots are nice too

berries

Suksesskake – a success every time!

Every time I go home to Norway, I’m reminded of how much I miss our cakes. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but our cakes are something special, and we certainly take pride in them. I could probably spend a lifetime writing about all the varieties that exist, as each household has their own creations and versions.   Norwegians  love using nuts in their cakes, most often almonds, and instead of using butter cream and icing, we often turn to whipped cream (bløtkake or cream cake) or some sort of other glaze which makes the pastries less rich and sweet.  All our cakes are famously moist, fluffy and light – making it possible to eat more than one piece at a time!

kaker2

Suksesskake, or suksessterte,  is a great example of a Norwegian cake most people are familiar with, and I have yet to meet anybody who doesn’t absolutely love this cake.  I previously posted about the Kvæfjordkake, which has been named “the world’s best cake”, but many would argue that suksesskake is better and deserves the title.  I will leave it up to you to try out both and decide!

A staple on the table not only at weddings, confirmations and baptisms, but also  a suitable item to serve on weekends when visitors come over, suksesskake is also called “gulkake” (yellow cake) because of its bright color.  Popular with kids as well as older people, it’s easy to please anyone when choosing to serve this classic cake.  With a moist bottom chock full of nuts (yes, almonds), topped with a flavorful, silky and light egg cream, it’s a great addition to your cake repertoire.  Serve it with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream and it becomes even better!

suksessterte2Image: http://www.dinmat.no

SUKSESSKAKE  (Success Cake)

For the almond cake:

5 egg whites

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 cup almonds

2 tsp all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

For the topping:

6 egg yolks

2/3 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla sugar (or substitute vanilla extract)

1 stick + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Sliced almonds or chopped dark chocolate for decoration

To make cake bottom:

Preheat oven to 350F.   Line a round 10″ spring cake pan with parchment paper.

Grind the almonds in food processor until fine.

Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add in confectioners sugar and continue whisking until you get a meringue, about 5 minutes more. Fold in the baking powder, flour and almonds and combine well. Pour the batter into the cake pan, bake in oven for about 30 minutes.  Let cake cool in the pan while making the topping.  When cake is cool, loosen the spring carefully, remove the parchment paper and bottom  and place the cake on a serving tray.  Wash the spring form and place it around the cake.

To make topping:

Combine egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Bring it to nearly a boil, while constantly stirring (be careful not to scramble the eggs!).  Take pot off the stove and let cool to room temp. Whisk in the softened butter with a whisk until shiny and even.  Pour the cream over the cake and place in fridge to let it firm up, preferably over night. Make sure both the cake bottom and cream are cool, otherwise the cream will just disappear into the cake! When ready to serve,  pull out of fridge and carefully remove spring from the cake. Decorate with sliced almonds or chopped chocolate chunks.

suksesskakesjokolade

I’ve seen versions of this cake, where the yellow egg cream is filled in the center (cutting the cake in two lengthwise), and topped with a chocolate glaze too… sinfully good! Another version is with a whipped cream topping and fresh berries or canned pears with a chocolate drizzle… as you can see, you can go really wild with toppings and no matter what, the almond cake base is a perfect partner to many flavors.

Honningkake; a cake perfect for every day

Honningkake is just that, a honey cake. While the featured ingredient may be honey, it also gets its layers of flavors from a variety of spices, and prevents the cake from becoming too sweet.  This recipe can be baked as a loaf, a cake or even cookies.  Norwegians have even been known to pack honningkaker in their backpack when going hiking or skiing in the mountains – it’s a perfect companion to a hot cup of chocolate, tea or coffee when you’re sitting down for a much deserved break.

This is the cake you may want to turn to on a weeknight or afternoon when you are getting surprise guests over and need to entertain on a whim.  An old story goes that you would make honningkake for the one you cherished… your honey! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

honning

What I enjoy most about Norwegian cakes is that they are easy to assemble, not cloyingly sweet, are very versatile and of course; incredibly tasty!  Our people love to entertain – no way are you going to someone’s house for just a cup of coffee! Which is why we have created so many recipes for quick, convenient, easy to make cakes and cookies, aimed to please at any occasion. It should be mentioned that “kake” in Norwegian isn’t necessarily synonymous with the English word for “cake”. Here in the U.S., cake usually means something that is glazed, iced, topped or is smeared with that godawful butter cream (sorry), while in Norway, cake can be anything from banana bread, brownies, and shortbread, among others.  We do have our ‘formal’ cakes too, usually wrapped in marzipan or covered with whipped cream (bløtkake). I will be sure to cover these too, as they can be delicious and most certainly are decadent.

kakebordImage source: tine.no
I got the idea for honey cake today as I was expecting a friend to come over, and I needed a snack for afternoon coffee. I didn’t want anything that was too formal, but also needed something more than just a regular cookie (boring).   This cake is juicy, a touch spicy and perfect for any occasion.  You can purchase hornsalt (hartshorn), a special baking powder from Norway at www.vaersaagod.com – a small online shop I recently discovered, owned by Becky Gjendem. She is married to a Norwegian and lives in Iowa. I always like to support small businesses, so please check her website and shop out!

Hornsalt, the secret to that special taste you get in Norwegian (and other Scandinavian) baked goods:

hornsalt

Below is a recipe I enjoy for honningkake.  Use good quality honey – I like to buy mine at the local farmer market. As for the syrup, you can substitute a light maple syrup, since the syrup we use in Scandinavia is a bit different (dare I say better?) than what is typically found in stores in this country. If you can get a hold of good, plain kefir, even better than buttermilk, but any of those will do.

Some people even top the cake with chocolate glaze or icing, which you can do if you want to dress it up for a more formal looking cake,  but I promise it’s just as delicious as is!

HONNINGKAKE (HONEY CAKE)

1 qt buttermilk

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light syrup

1 cup good quality honey

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda or hornsalt

4 cups (or 1 kg/2.2 lbs) all purpose flour

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish, lined with parchment paper.

In a big bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sugar, syrup and honey until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet, and add the melted butter at the end. Pour the batter into the the baking dish and cook at the next to lowest rack in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack and cut into slices or serving pieces.  Keep the cake in an airtight container and it will stay moist/keep for several days!

honningkake

 

 

 

Kvæfjordkake – the world’s best cake

The title does not exaggerate, this cake is ridiculous. The best part about it is that it’s super easy to make, but looks really impressive when placed on the coffee table. Since I’m on a roll  lately writing about national favorites, this has, in fact, been named Norway’s national cake. A sponge cake topped with meringue, and filled with vanilla custard and whipped cream, it is light as a feather but rich in taste.

The cake gets its name from town Kvæfjord, situated on Hinnøy, which is Norway’ largest island. Located in northern Norway, the town has about 3200 inhabitants, and is known as the potato and strawberry town of the north.

kvæfjordenPhoto source: http://www.kvaefjordkaka.no

Previously known as “Kongekaka” (The King’s cake) it switched names in the the 1930s, when Hulda Ottestad, a cafe owner in Kvæfjord, bought a Danish recipe for 200 kroner (around $30+, which was considered very expensive at the time)  and developed it into the popular version we see today.  A natural addition to any cake table at parties and a special treat on the weekend, it’s rare to find anyone who dislikes this pastry or doesn’t get excited by the mere look of the world’s best cake.

You might become someone’s hero after you’ve made this cake, and if you do decide to tackle this – be ready to do it over and over again in the future, because the requests will keep returning!

“EKTE KVÆFJORDKAKE”  (Authentic Kvæfjord cake)

For the base:

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 egg yolks

3 tbsp milk

2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp vaniljesukker or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

For the meringue:

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

For the filling

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp sugar

1 container store-bought vanilla custard (you can use a Jell-O pack w/vanilla flavor), prepared

You can also make your own vanilla custard if you insist. You’ll find a recipe in my previous post about Skoleboller.

1/2 cup sliced almonds for decoration

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.

To make the base of cake: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg yolks, one at a time, then add in the milk. If using vanilla extract, add this in.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and if using, vaniljesukker, and fold it into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Whisk the egg whites with the 1 cup of the sugar until stiff peaks. Pour the meringue over the cake and sprinkle sliced almonds  on top. Bake on low rack in oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the meringue is firm and have turned a golden color.

Cool the cake on a rack.  Whisk the heavy cream and sugar until firm and fold in the vanilla custard. When the cake has cooled down, divide it into two pieces, spread the filling on top of one piece, and top with the other. It tastes even better when you  top with sliced strawberries!

kvæfjordkake1

Photo Source: alleoppskrifter.no

kvæfjordstykke

“Ho e som bygda ho sogne te: Verdens beste, og vel så det!” (Norwegian saying about this cake)

Troikakake – better than chocolate

The troika kake is a more modern cake invention in Norway, modeled after the delicious and popular chocolate “Troika”.  Layered with truffles, marzipan and raspberry jello, it is one of those unique candies I’ve bragged about on my FB Page, Fork and Glass, and to all my international friends.  The different flavors and textures this extraordinarily satisfying chocolate offers is nothing short of amazing, and I’m always surprised how I discover yet another layer of flavor every time I take a new bite.  In a recent test by nutritionists and health professionals in Norway, Troika got top marks for being the best chocolate choice, containing the lowest amount of calories and fat. More good news – you can enjoy some guilt free! 🙂

Troikawrap

Troika is Russian for “a set of three”, and the chocolate is appropriately named so because of its three aforementioned layers. While you can also make your own Troika chocolate (and many do), the Norwegians take it a step further and invented a cake from it, of course!  Well known for serving an outrageous number of cakes at special occasions such as birthdays, confirmations, baptisms and weddings, it is no surprise the Norwegians love to play around with different recipes. It is not uncommon to see 20 different cakes on the table at one time, and people manage to somehow get a taste in of every single one! This is usually a ‘wow’ moment for most foreigners visiting a Norwegian household or attend a party there for the first time, they simply can’t believe their eyes. This is probably the only time Norwegians have Americans beat in excess and gluttony! 🙂

Below is my favorite recipe for Troika kake – it is extra decadent, since technically it has four layers instead of three, with an additional, gorgeous chocolate topping. Rich, velvety and outrageous, just the way I like it!

TROIKA KAKE

Chocolate Mousse (cake bottom):

4 oz good quality, dark chocolate 70% (I like Valrhona)

3 oz granulated sugar

6 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lb store bought marzipan (I like the the Odense or Niederegger brands)

For raspberry jello:

2 packs rasperry Jell-O

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp glucose

Chocolate topping:

8 oz good quality dark chocolate chips like Ghirardelli (70%)

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the cake bottom/chocolate mousse:

Line a 12 inch brownie pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a double boiler over simmering heat, melt the chocolate, and set aside to cool. Separate the eggs, add all the sugar except 2 tbsp into the egg yolks in a bowl.  Whisk together in a stand mixer until light yellow and fluffy and soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Add the melted chocolate into the eggs and combine well.  In a separate stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and vanilla extract.until soft peaks form.  Carefully fold the egg whites into the egg/chocolate mix with a spatula until no streaks of white are left.  Pour the batter into the prepared brownie pan and bake in oven for about 15 minutes.

To make the marzipan layer:

While the mousse is cooling, sprinkle some confectioners sugar on kitchen countertop and with a rolling pin, roll out a thin, square layer of marzipan to fit on top of the mousse. Place the marzipan on top of the cooled down mousse.

To make the jello:

Make the jello according to the instructions on the package, and let it cool slightly before pouring it over the marzipan. Place it in the fridge and let it firm up.

To make the chocolate topping:

Gently heat up the heavy cream in a small sauce pot until just below simmering. Add in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract and whisk until combined and smooth. Pour into a glass bowl and place in fridge to cool for about 2 hours.  Stir every 30 minutes. When the chocolate cream has almost firmed up, place into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip until light and fluffy. Spread the whipped chocolate cream across the jello on the chilled troika cake and place into fridge to chill for another 30 minutes. Decorate with fresh raspberries before serving and cutting into pieces for your guests!!

 

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