It’s rare I get nice surprises from my Postman and so I was particularly excited when I got a parcel from Lakeland (as you know readers one of my favourite places to spend money). Hayley in the press office had sent me a Kransekake pan.
Kransekake translates literally as ‘ring cake’. It’s traditional in Norway and Denmark (Kransekage) and is usually eaten on special occasions and family celebrations. A series of concentric rings of cake are layered on top of each other, glued together with icing, to construct a cone. I got a little obsessed with Kransekake so took to ‘You Tube’ where I watched a series of videos on how to make the cake – from the traditional iced ring version loaded with mini Norwegian flags to a fancy wedding cone, loaded with silver baubles. sparkles and ribbon. My version is a little different to the traditional, I don’t have a piping bag or nozzles and I had no idea where to lay my hands on Norwegian cocktail flags but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find them in Shepherd’s Bush or Chiswick.
So back to the ‘pan. It’s in fact six non-stick pans with 18 circle grooves which you fill with the mixture to provide the stacking rings.
The cake ingredients are incredibly simple, ground almonds, egg whites and icing sugar. This mixture is combined and gently heated. When cooled it sits in the fridge for 24 hours. You must, must, must grease those rings and dust with flour or semolina. Even after I’d well-greased and floured I had difficulty removing them from their groove. Spray oil might work better and the cake can be frozen so maybe I’d freeze them in the pans containing the cooled mixture and remove them the next morning.
When you’re ready to make the cake, let the chilled ingredients stand for thirty minutes before starting to make the sausage length that fit in the grooves. It’s just a little to hard to get proper lengths to form circles without breakage from a non-pliable dough. If you do break the sausages during rolling, it doesn’t matter, butt-join them in the pan, my links didn’t show at all once I’d iced the cake. The recipe says finger-thickness, I have thick fingers, so I rolled them to the width of the groove. I got better at my technique the more dough I rolled so there’s a very clear improvement as the rolling continued. I watched a video which showed the mixture being worked, not being chilled then being piped into the circles so there are clearly many ways to make Kransekake.
Remember this mixture does not rise or expand so if you’re looking for thick rings (as wide as they sit in the pan) then you may have to make a little more mixture. Don’t pre-heat your oven as the recipe suggests. It took me forty minutes to fill all of the grooves and that’s just an unnecessary waste of fuel. As you complete your last pan, that should be plenty of time to get your oven hot. I put each pan in a very hot oven, two at a time, the smaller pans needed eight and not the suggested ten minutes. This produced a crisp ring with a chewy middle. How do I know? I broke the largest ring when removing it from the tin. I ate it. I should have glued it back together but it tasted very good indeed.
The recipe suggests using icing to put the rings together but I couldn’t find he icing nozzles or bag so used 125g of caster sugar which I made into a caramel. I dipped each ring into the molten sugar (burnt my fingers, so be very careful) and used that as the cement. Not ideal to make pretty icing patterns without a bag so I made a very poor substitute from greaseproof paper. Bad idea, I wore more icing than I eventually piped so turned to a trusted teaspoon and ladled a sharp lemon icing over the top. IF I had a piping bag I would have gone fancy with the royal icing. If I had marzipan I would have cut out some Christmas shapes and added those to the side of the cake.
Mine is a very simple version, and not bad for a first attempt, but you can go as fancy as you wish. Think about flooding some icing in festive shapes to attach to the outside of the cake too. Adding a large bow and a series of smaller ones would also look very pretty too. I’ll have another go nearer Christmas and share that with you.
The rings can be made to construct a basket by turning the cone upside down, these are then filled with chocolates and marzipan fruits.
Either way, an attractive table decoration on Christmas Day or try making mini versions as gifts.
Since tasting the cake, the caramel ‘cement’ I used does overpower the marzipan flavour in the rings so definitely use icing sugar as the recipe suggests.
Lakeland Kransakake pan £9.99