Make a statement with the surprisingly simple Norwegian Tower Cake – Only 3 ingredients!
It comes in many shapes and sizes, and every family gives it their own twist. You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll bump into one version or another if you ever visit Norway, know a Norwegian or if you should happen to come across any Norwegian festivity.
Tower Cake looks rather impressive and tastes even better. It is however surprisingly easy to make!
The Tower Cake or “Tårnkake” (also called Kransekake) is a fixture at any celebration worth mentioning throughout our long and most traditional country. Weddings, confirmations, christenings, 17th of May (our national day), Christmas… the list is endless, as is the Tower Cake.
– And we’re only too happy to see it again and again. Tower Cake is jam-packed with goodness, it practically melts in your mouth and it only requires 3 ingredients!
There are a few tricks of the trade, one of which is owning a pack of the ring-shaped cake forms.. every grandma and her dog owns one. However I don’t happen to have one here in Australia, and I’m guessing you might be in similar circumstances. So behold my free-hand version featuring a charmingly crooked finish. No worries, as the Aussies like to say.
The rings look like this..
..and can be bought online. It even seems the page from which I ‘borrowed’ this picture sells them for $29 ( http://www.fantes.com/kransekake.html)
As mentioned however, it works just fine without the rings.
My recipe makes 14 rings, but you may build as tall as you like. The sky is (literally) the limit!
You will need:
500 g almonds
500 g icing sugar
4 egg whites
Icing is needed to assemble the cake. The recipe can be found here: https://thankheavens.com.au/2012/12/17/the-very-best-gingerbread-cookies/#more-385
Start off with grounding the almonds. It is, believe it or not, quite important to use a good old-fashioned grinder. You will not get the same result in a food processor! Whether you choose to blanch the almonds or not is up to you. The cake will have a better flavor if you leave them unblanched, but it will be lighter in color if blanched. Some like to do half-and-half, although I always leave my almonds unblanched for the sake of the flavor. As you please.
Once the almonds are ground, set your oven to 170 c, or 150 c for two trays in fan forced oven.
Mix up all the ingredients, by hand or machine. The dough will get increasingly moist due to the natural oil from the almonds.
Now comes the challenge.. Roll out some paper onto which you draw circles of your preferred size. It may pay off to start off with circling a plate. I used a ruler to get the circles even sized. Use your drawing as a template, and simply roll out your baking paper on top of it for easy handling (picture 5). The idea is for you to make circles that fit between the lines on the first go, then on the lines second. This is to make sure your rings will stack right. The rings need to decrease evenly in size towards the top, or you’ll make yourself an odd puzzle..
When you roll the dough, use icing sugar and not flour! Make long sausages of about 1,5 cm thickness. Place the “sausage” on top of your template and form a ring. Slightly overlap the edges and cut diagonally to secure the join!
NB: You must remove every other ring before you bake them! If you leave them as is they will join up!
The rings will bake in about 14 minutes depending on your oven. They should have risen by about 25% and have a slightly golden crust. Because of the sugar content they will soon burn, so keep an eye on them! The rings will be soft whilst warm and then crisp up as they cool down, so be careful not to move or lift them immediately. Give them a minute before you carefully slide them over onto a cooling rack. Trust me you don’t wanna go back to the drawing board on this one. If you burn one ring you will need to pull out that grinder again, or else you’ll have a leaning tower.
Once the rings are cold the fun starts! You can be ever so creative with Tower Cake. It need not be a tower, but it’s an easy place to start. Once you’re a pro you can experiment with making everything from baskets to snowmen.
Most importantly you need a good icing mixture (https://thankheavens.com.au/2012/12/17/the-very-best-gingerbread-cookies/#more-385). It is after all your cement. Traditionally we make a wavy pattern on each ring, then place them on top of each other. Start with the largest ring, ice it then place the second largest on top before you ice again. Keep going to the top, then decorate however you please!
Back home they’re usually decorated with flags and firecrackers, but by all means make it your own and use your imagination. In this case, as fits the season, mine became a x-mas cake.
The idea is for guests to help themselves from the bottom ring first, then work their way up. A bit of a challenge, but why not let your guests work for the food? Tower Cake is often served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream mixed with cloudberries.
Keeps well in an airtight container.
Hope you like it!