I’m not bragging. Really. I first came across this cake on a Huffington Post FB update. When you see something being claimed as ‘World’s Best’ (especially in the social media world) it’s either really really awesome or total rubbish. Good thing is, this one’s a cracking winner. This cake hails from Norway and was awarded the title of Norway’s National Cake a few years back. Now how many countries can claim that they have a National Cake?? Flower – yes, animal or mascot – perhaps, a local dish – likely. But a national cake?? How fabulous is that?
The recipe is from Sweet Paul’s Eat & Make Cookbook and it is sooooo simple and easy to follow, and the result is totally delicious. Just imagine – good ol’ golden buttery cake, layer of sweet meringue and almonds, layer of oozing luscious vanilla cream, topped by the other half of the same, with the meringue on top, all crisp and caramelly. No wonder it’s a Norwegian favourite, and now my hubby’s too!
The strange thing about this cake recipe is that you bake the cake and meringue at the same time. A part of me was worried that the cake wouldn’t cook through but because the cake batter was not thick, it cooked beautifully and the meringue came out perfectly golden too. The recipe called for the cake to be refrigerated an hour before serving, but I couldn’t wait and served it fresh from ‘construction’ and I found that it was better than leaving it in the fridge first. Or maybe that was just greediness talking, but whatever it is, you have to try and make this cake because after all, it is verdens beste (world’s best). And I kinda agree.
World’s Best Cake by Sweet Paul
10 ½ tablespoons (1 stick plus 21⁄2 tablespoons) butter, softened (I used 150g)
1 2⁄ 3 cups granulated sugar
1 1⁄ 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
1⁄ 3 cup whole milk
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 vanilla bean
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180C), with a rack in the middle position. Line an 8-x-12-inch baking pan with parchment paper. I recommend not using glass pans, use metal.
- Beat the butter and 2⁄ 3 cup of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix well on low speed.
- Mix in the egg yolks and milk.
- Scrape the batter into the baking pan.
- In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks. Spread on top of the cake layer. Sprinkle with the almond slices.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed. Cool on a wire rack in the pan. Transfer to a cutting board.
- When the cake is cool, put the cream in a medium bowl and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Discard the vanilla pod. Beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.
- Cut the cake in half crosswise with a serrated knife. Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with the cream. Place the other half, meringue side up, on top.
- Let the cake sit for 1 hour in the fridge before serving. (Well, I didn’t!!)