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Show Stopping Norwegian Christmas Cake: Kransekake
Christmas Kransekake: A traditional Norwegian dessert, with a little Christmas flair for the holiday season.
What is Kransekake?
Kransekake is the signature cake of Norway, typically made for weddings and special occasions. This type of cake, which translates to “wreath cake,” is made by stacking 18 cookie rings into a tall, beautiful tower. Between each layer of cookies is a drizzle of royal icing, which acts as “glue” and decor.
Ingredients You Need for Kransekake
- Powdered sugar
- Almond flour
- Peppermint extract (optional)
- Vanilla extract
- Egg whites
- Meringue powder
- Crushed peppermint (optional)
Tools You Need for Kransekake
- Kransekake pans
- Piping bag
- Wilton #2 tip
The idea for this cake came about from my ancestry DNA test I did a couple years ago. When I first got my results back, which showed 50% Scandinavian with nearly all of that being Norwegian, I decided to make a dessert to celebrate my heritage. That first traditional Norwegian dessert I made was Verdens Beste: World’s Best Cake. You can check out that recipe here: Verdens Beste
I loved making my own version of a Verdens Beste cake. I turned it into a layered cake and it’s become one of my favorite desserts!
For Christmas this year, I went back to my Norwegian roots and decided to turn a Kransekake into a Christmas Kransekake!
How to Make Kransekake
A traditional Kransekake recipe calls for blanching whole almonds, peeling some of them and then grinding them yourself. Doing this adds a great texture and a beautiful speckled look to your cookie rings.
If you want to simplify the process a bit, like I did, you can use super-fine almond flour – something you can buy straight from the grocery store. You can use blanched and whole almond flour, or all blanched almond flour. I used blanched almond flour only.
Make the Dough
The first step for making Kransekake is to make the dough. This is done by mixing your almond flour with your powdered sugar until the two are well combined. Next, you’ll add your flavorings and egg whites, and then stir until you can form a dough.
Let the Dough Refrigerate Overnight
Once you’ve made the dough, form it into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. I liked making my dough the day before and just refrigerating overnight. Before you roll your dough, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll Out the Dough
When you’re ready to roll your dough, divide the dough into fourths. Start with one-fourth of the dough, while re-covering the rest of the dough until you’re ready to use it. Gently roll the dough into ½ inch ropes. Making sure your dough is exactly ½ inch is very important. I even used a ruler to make sure my dough was the right width. If you don’t roll your dough enough, the ropes will be too thick and you’ll run out of dough for all of your pans.
Place your dough in each size ring, bringing the ends together and slightly pinching them to hold together. You’ll then bake the dough at 375 degrees F for about 10 to 12 minutes, just until the tops have a hint of golden brown. If you need to bake your dough in batches, just make sure to cover the dough that sits out so it doesn’t dry while you bake the first batch. I could only fit three pans in my oven at a time.
Make the Royal Icing
To make the royal icing, combine the meringue powder, powdered sugar and water. When you dip a spoon into the icing and lift it out, the icing should take a few seconds before dripping off the spoon. If your icing is too thick, just add a little more water.
If you want a colored icing, you can use a small amount of food coloring to tint the royal icing.
Stack and Decorate
Once the cookie rings are cooled completely, you can stack and decorate your Kransekake, starting with the largest ring and working your way up to the smallest ring. Between each layer, pipe the royal icing in a squiggle pattern. You can also sprinkle some crushed peppermint between each layer, as well.
How Do You Serve Kransekake?
To serve Kransekake, you’ll remove each cookie from the tower and break it apart.
Hallmark Home and Family TV
You can catch my full Kransekake tutorial on Hallmark Home and Family TV tomorrow, December 14th.
A 18-tiered cookie tower, known as a traditional Norwegian "wreath cake."
FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- 5 cups plus 4 tablespoons (485 g) blanched almond flour
- 5 cups (465 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
FOR THE ROYAL ICING
- 2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 1/2 tbsp meringue powder you can buy meringue powder online and in craft stores.
- 4-5 tbsp water at room temperature
- Crushed peppermint candies
FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- The day before you plan to bake, mix the almond flour and powdered sugar until well blended. Mix in egg whites and flavorings until a dough forms. Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight. At least 12 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spray Kransekake pans with nonstick spray. (I use THESE pans and don't have to dust with flour or semolina).
- Remove the dough from the fridge and let rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Break up the dough into fourths. Roll each fourth into ½ inch thick ropes. Carefully fill each circle of the Kransekake pans with the dough.
- Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on top. Let cool completely before stacking.
FOR THE ROYAL ICING
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk all of the ingredients on high speed for about two minutes. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture, the royal icing should slowly drip from the whisk within 10 seconds. If the mixture is too thick, you can add another tablespoon of water. Place the royal icing in a piping bag with a coupler and a wilton #2 or #3 tip.
- As you stack your Kransekake, drizzle your royal icing around each layer. Gently place your next layer on top and continue to pipe and stack. When you've completed the stacking, sprinkle the crushed peppermint over the edges of the cake.
My daughter and I can’t wait to make this! Just ordered the pans! One question… Do you cut this “cake” to serve or separate the rings like cookies after presentation to eat?
You can even break it apart with your hands!
I have make Kransakake many times and found that after greasing the must to sprinkle a bit of cream of wheat helps to keep from sticking to the molds. This trick made my experience so much better. Enjoy your Kransakake.
I have made Kransakake many times and found that after greasing the mold is to sprinkle a bit of cream of wheat which helps to keep the rings from sticking to the molds. This trick made experience so much better. Enjoy your Kransakake.
Can you flavor these however you like? I can’t wait to try the peppermint flavor, but I was also curious about chocolate or strawberry, etc