segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010
Kvaefjord cake and the Norwegian spirit
Today is the most important day in the history of Norway, it is Norway's National Constitution Day. But May 17th is also the day to celebrate the birth of Norway as an independent and unified nation, not only the release of its first constitution. In May 17th 1814, after 432 years under Danish rule, the Norwegians were independent from Denmark and released their own Constitution. The independence didn't last very long though, before the end of 1814 the Norwegians were forced under Swedish rule and remained unified to Sweden for nearly 100 years. During those years, under Swedish rule, Norway lived a life similar to that of Scotland, had status of a country, the structure of a country, the constitution, but was not independent to act accordingly internationally or politically. Norway was ruled by the Swedish king, was not allowed to establish embassies or to trade independently and had no political influence in the international scene whatsoever.
The Swedish king allowed Norway to keep its Constitution and the constitution was celebrated every May 17th as symbol of Norwegian independence and the birth of the nation. In June 7th 1905 Norway peacefully became independent from Sweden, crowned its own king and since then has followed the independent track. After more than 520 years of Danish and Swedish domination the Norwegians love and praise their independence as their greatest accomplishment and aim to remain this way. This need of independence certainly explains why Norwegians despise the European Union and wish to remain independent and it is exactly the independent spirit of the Norwegians that makes me love and admire them.
Around here there is a cake called Kvæfjordkaka read it as: Cake from the Kvae Fjord as a reference to the municipality where it was created Kvæfjorde.
This cake is known as Norway's national cake and is one of the cakes served on May 17th. The Kvae fjord cake was created in the years of 1920 and elected as one of the best cakes of all times in 1930. In 2002 it was elected Norway's National Cake in a poll organized by Norwegian television NRK. My darling Per says that this cake has different names around the country, but around here it is called Kvaefjorde cake.
Kvæfjord Cake (Kvæfjordkaka):
6 egg yolks at room temperature
150g butter at room temperature
70 ml milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 egg whites
50 g almond roughly processed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
350 ml double cream
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Butter a 30X40cm cake pan, line parchment paper, butter the paper and set aside. Heat oven at 180C.
In a large clean metal or glass bowl whisk butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and keep whisking to incorporate yolks completely. Add part of the flour and mix to incorporate, add milk and keep mixing. Add second part of flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix some more to get a soft homogeneous batter. Spread batter in prepared pan forming a thin but leveled layer and reserve.
In a large bowl whisk egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar, in three or four parts, and continue to whisk until the whites have turned a stiff meringue. Add almonds (or hazelnuts) and vanilla extract (if using) and using a spatula mix softly to incorporate. Spread a thin layer of the meringue mixture over the raw cake batter on the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 180C or until a stick inserted comes out dry. Let the cake cool completely to add the filling and the frosting.
Divide the cake in two halves. Whip cream into a heavy chantilly and cover one part of the cake with the chantilly and some fruits (if using) and put the other half of the cake over the frosted one. Add more cream and fruits to the cake and serve it refrigerated.
The cake is cooling down
by the window...
The cake is halved....
One part goes to the plate and the other one waits...
the bottom layer gets a thin layer of cream and strawberries...
The second layer is positioned over the bottom layer...
more whipped cream and fruits to cover the second layer...
My Kvæfjord cake is ready to go to my in-laws lunch...
My cake being served at our family lunch table...