The greatness of this cake comes from its motley layers; the density of the sponge, the lightness of the meringue, the crunch of almonds and the creaminess of vanilla creme frosting. It’s really hard not to make happy noises with the first forkful.
The Norwegians are serious about their desserts. Back in 2002, listeners of a well-known radio show, Nitimen, voted for their favorite cake. The recipe in Sweet Paul Eat and Make: Charming Recipes and Kitchen Crafts You Will Love by Paul Lowe (Amazon link) replicates “Verdens Beste Kake.”
We recently conducted a poll asking you to choose your favorite dessert, and you overwhelmingly voted for cake. We wanted to celebrate your choice with something special.
A bit of warning, this is a finicky recipe. Please read through the directions thoroughly, and lay out your ingredients before you begin. Review the cooking tips at the end of the post for further insight. I maybe had to make it more than once (OK three times) before I finally got it right.
- 10 ½ tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 large eggs, separated
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ¼ – ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ vanilla bean
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, set the oven rack to the middle position. Using butter, grease two 8″ round pans and lightly flour the bottom, set aside.
- Separate the eggs, yolks in a small-to-medium-sized bowl and the whites in a large bowl. Put the whites back in the fridge until needed.
- With a mixer, beat the butter and 2/3 cups sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Mix in the flour and baking powder, continue to stir until well combined.
- Add the egg yolks and milk, mix thoroughly and separate evenly into the baking pans.
- Pull the egg whites from the fridge, add 1 cup sugar and beat into soft peaks. Spread on top of the cake layer in the baking pans.
- Add the almond slices. We were generous and put about 1/2 cup total onto the cakes.
- Baking for 25 – 30 minute or until the meringue is golden brown, the cake will be very puffy. Let cool and don’t worry when the meringue deflates, that’s fine.
- Once cool, remove from pans.
- Place 1 cup of cream into a medium bowl. Open up the vanilla seed and scrape the seeds into the cream. Whip into soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
- Spread the cream generously over the bottom cake, layer on the top cake and serve.
- Remember only to add 2/3 cup sugar in Step 3. Don’t dump all the sugar in like I did 😉
- This is a fairly time-consuming recipe, you really don’t need to turn on the oven until Step 4 or Step 5.
- The meringue takes a while, be patient. I stood there for 10-minutes with an immersion blender (the first time) and the second time, I went with the hand mixer for about 7 to 8 minutes. A cold, metal bowl for the egg whites will help, so once you separate the eggs, pop the whites in the fridge!
- The book calls for a sheet cake and then cutting the cake in half to layer. I thought it was just easier to use round pans to begin with so the edges would be clean.
- This book also says the recipe serves eight; those are some BIG honking pieces of cake … this can easily go to 12 servings.
What do you think of Norway’s Favorite Cake? Have you tried a variation of this? Does your country of origin have a favorite cake? We’d love to hear about your recipes.