My Kransekake Show Stopper

In honour of the Great British Bake Off final tonight I thought I’d share with you my favourite bake.

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This is a Kransekake. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a Scandinavian celebration celebration cake made, basically from marzipan. Yummy!

Last Christmas, they featured a recipe for this on the GBBO Christmas special. You can find the original here. I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe, hopefully to make it nicer and a better size for a normal celebration. It’s probably worth noting here that you make it over two days but each stage is actually fairly quick and easy to do.

What you’ll need:

For the Kransekake:

250g Ground Almonds

250g Icing Sugar

2 Egg Whites

2 teaspoons Almond Extract

Clingfilm

Kransekake Tins (this is ideal but you can try and do it free hand)

For Icing:

300g Icing Sugar mixed into a thick paste with a little Almond Extract and Water

What to do:

First, make the dough by mixing the almonds, icing sugar, egg whites and almond extract together in a bowl.

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(Sugar and Almonds)

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(Add eggs and extract)

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Work together until they make a kind of firm paste. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in fridge over night.

When you get it out the next day you will find that it’s firmed up. Prepare your tins by lightly greasing them; pre-heat the oven to 200oC and lightly dust an area to roll the dough out, with icing sugar.

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Divide the dough into 3 pieces then divide those into 3 more rough pieces. Start rolling one piece into a sausage roughly the same width as your finger.

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You want it to be the right length to go round the smallest ring in your tin. Put the remainder dough aside to use later (as the rings grow bigger, you need less dough at the beginning and more dough later).

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Starting from the smallest rings in each tin, repeat until you have used up all the dough. I always have a little left over which I roll out and use as a tester piece (in other words, an excuse to sample the yummy cake without ruining it!). You won’t fill up all the rings on the tins but I’ve found this is more than enough for a party. Bake for 8-10min or until golden brown.

Leave to cool in tin until hard, then transfer to cooling rack.

Once completely cooled you can ice it. Make the icing and put it in a piping bag. I’ve done it before by dripping it from a teaspoon and it does work but you get a much nicer effect if you pipe it!

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Apologises for the terrible picture, my camera gave up! Start with the largest ring and zigzag all the way round. Put the next largest ring on top (the icing below holds it in place, which is why it can’t be too runny). Repeat, working your way down (or rather building your cake up). At the end, if you want to, you can add extra decorations. Use the icing to stick it on.

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Well there you have it. Your very own Kransekake. It really does taste as good as it looks!

Rainbow cake Tutorial

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We recently celebrated Little Miss’ first birthday. It was a lovely time even though she was too little to remember it. Still, I wanted to mark the occasion so I made her this birthday cake. I first saw it on one of these ‘awesome cakes I want to make’ type facebook links and I loved it. However when I came to make this, the link no longer worked so I can’t direct you to the original post. I know that the original post was just a picture not a walk through, so I already knew I had to make it up as I went along (It’s worth noting here that there are probably much better ways of doing this as I actually made it up as I went along, I have never ‘learnt’ how to make or decorate cakes). Would you like to see how I did it?

IMG_20140329_093230517First make 2 Madeira cakes (you can find the recipe in most cake books or online as it’s a basic for occasion cake baking). Level the top of each cake so the are flat.

IMG_20140329_093511858Cut each cake in half.

IMG_20140329_093124988In two of the halves, cut a rough oval shape. Make sure you have cake around the sides so that the cake remains stable once finished. These will be the middle layers of the cake. We’ll fill this hole later with M&Ms 🙂

IMG_20140329_100004070Take the bottom layer and cover with butter icing.

IMG_20140329_100050077Put the first middle layer on.

IMG_20140329_100139735Cover this with icing.

IMG_20140329_100205302Put the second middle layer on top.

IMG_20140329_100242581Fill hole with M&M’s.

IMG_20140329_100341861-001Put more butter icing on top.

IMG_20140329_100351523_HDRAdd the final layer.

IMG_20140329_100407363Turn on it’s side so it’s up the right way.

IMG_20140329_101843876Now cover the outside with butter icing.

IMG_20140329_102112203This will stick the icing to the cake.

IMG_20140329_102208656Now roll out your blue icing. I didn’t buy blue icing (although I know you can get it). I bought some white icing from tesco and some blue food colouring and worked it in until I got the shade I wanted. If you want to do it like this, my top tip is to use a cocktail stick to apply the food colouring as you don’t need very much of it.

IMG_20140329_102608766_HDRNow pick it up (I used the rolling pin to carefully roll and carry it then unwrapped it onto the cake).

IMG_20140329_102843519Smooth down with a cake smoother (it’s worth getting one of these if you want to get a smooth finish). Cut off the excess carefully. It doesn’t matter if the corners at the front are a bit messy as these will be covered up with small marshmallows later.

IMG_20140329_104412290_HDRNow to make you rainbow. Choose the colours you want and mix them if necessary. Then roll out a sausage in each colour, starting with the top colour (in my case, the red). You can see that close up, it isn’t that neat. Next time, I’ll work on getting it neater but by this stage I was starting to run out of time!

IMG_20140329_154245340Finally, using a little butter icing to start, pile up white mini marshmallows and add candle and edible glitter if desired. When you eventually cut into the cake, make sure you cut a big slice to get the full effect of the hidden M&M’s!