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!

Happy Birthday!

Last month saw my little man 3, right in the middle of the snow! There was a hairy moment when we thought we’d have to cancel his party because people wouldn’t be able to get there, but thankfully the snow cleared enough to make it ok. I wouldn’t have minded if this wasn’t the first year he had been talking (non stop) about having a party. We went to his Nanny’s party back in November and since then the idea that people have parties at their birthday has stuck. He was very definite about who he wanted to come and what kind of cake he wanted (he didn’t even ask, he just said ‘at my party I’m having a such and such cake’ – you’ll see in a minute what he wanted!). Thankfully he had a lovely time and is still talking about his party with all his friends and family (as well as the cake – I feel proud that he remembered the cake because it’s not that amazing).

So I thought to celebrate, I would share quickly the last few years of cakes he’s had (you are very privileged, as last years was a bit of a disaster, as we’d all been ill and I was exhausted – it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to at all – so I didn’t share it). Here’s this years:

IMG_4528 If you aren’t sure what it is (and I don’t blame you!) it’s Neep from Abney and Teal. His most favourite character from his most favourite programme. Neep is apparently a Scottish word for turnip (does that make it a little clearer? lol). I have to say Neep has given me no end of troubles because as of yet they don’t make Neep toys but he has a free gift from a magazine which he takes to bed with him every night and I’m so worried he’ll lose it or something. Anyway the cake itself was very easy to make. I baked a rectangle Madeira Cake, drew Neep on a piece of paper and cut around the template. I then covered it in butter icing and rolled out ready made fondant icing. I then made a nose, two arms and two legs. Finally I painted food colouring onto the icing. I couldn’t get the exact colour but Little Man seemed thrilled by it, so I suppose that’s the main thing!

img_3704This is what he had for his Second Birthday as at the time he loved In the Night Garden. You can’t really see it but the main part of the carousel (or gazebo – there is some debate as to what it actually is), is a basic Madeira Cake covered in butter icing. I wasn’t too pleased with this on as I couldn’t get a proper round lolly pop to go on top and I went to the trouble of baking the top cake in a bowl, and cutting it into sections so I could shape it, but promptly forgot to shape the top before covering it in butter icing. Oh well. Little Man seemed happy at the time, so I guess it didn’t really matter that much.

img_3160This is the cake I made for his first birthday. It’s probably my favourite one out of all of them and also the one that he won’t remember at all! The hardest part was making the man but the book I got it from (50 Easy Party Cakes by Debbie Brown) shows you how to make him. The cake itself is made from 2 Madeira Cakes with butter icing in the middle. I used chop sticks for drum sticks.

I’m looking forward to having an excuse to makeĀ  2 cakes a year soon. Hopefully by the time Little Man and Little Miss are old enough to remember their cakes, I will have been able to practice a bit more and improve!

In other news, I’ve lost my camera. Which is a shame because I’ve been a busy crafting bee since Christmas and I have lots of new projects I want to share with you. I will upload as soon as I either find it or work out how to use hubby’s swishy camera.