Last weekend, my aunt and uncle wed in a rather lovely ceremony deep within the fjord-lands of Norway. To mark the event, what would be more fitting than the classic Norwegian cake, kransekake? Don't worry, the cake (not the mention the method!) might seem a little daunting at first – (mix the powdered sugar and almond meal, then add the egg and mix over low heat, allow to chill for many hours, then hack at the dough – it'll be stiff as concrete – and add an egg, then roll and knead) – but once you've tried it, it's all about mastering the technique.
500 g. almonds
500 g. powdered sugar
3 medium-sized egg whites
1 egg white, whipped
Semolina, as needed
100 g. powdered sugar
Small amount of egg white, as needed
1.Using a food processor, grind the almonds until you're left with a coarse almond meal. The meal shouldn't have chunks of almonds in it, though it shouldn't be as fine as the almond meal needed for macarons.
2.In a large casserole, mix the almond meal, the 500 g. powdered sugar and 3 egg whites together. Knead well. Warm the dough over low heat, making sure to work the dough so that it doesn't burn. The dough is warm enough when your knuckles burn slightly if you press them into the dough. Take off heat, cover with a lid and allow to rest until the next day.
3.The next day, blend the stiff and whipped egg white into the dough. You'll need to chop the dough (it'll be very hard after resting) before you can add the egg white.
4.Butter the ring moulds with melted buter and allow them to rest until the butter solidifies. Butter the moulds once more, the sprinkle semolina on.
5.Roll the dough into sausages, and place each into their individual moulds. The sizes have to be exact; this dough makes just enough for one cake and you shouldn't have any leftovers. Bake the rings in the centre of the oven at 180°C for 12-15 minutes. Bake them for a further 5 minutes in the lowest rack in the oven, or until they're golden. Let the rings cool.
6.Mix the 100 g. powdered sugar with as much egg white as you'll need to make a thick icing. It should not be runny! Decorate each ring individual, and place one on top of the other.