Kransekaka is a famous Norwegian wedding/celebration cake and is a favorite dessert of my family.   You can find Kransekaka recipes in Scandinavian cookbooks and there are many on the internet; some are very cakey using 5 cups of flour, some are very candy-like using no flour at all.  Some recipes use a pound of butter, and some use none.  One thing they all have in common is their shape, concentric rings stacked into a pyramid.  My recipe uses easily found almond paste and is more candy-like than cake-like.  I've developed this recipe over the years to give a cookie-type crunch with a candy-ish chewy texture.  It's terrific!

One thing I must tell you:  Kransekaka is notorious for wanting to stick to the pan, refusing to budge causing shattered rings and kitchen tantrums.  But you know I would never give you a recipe that would do that!  I promise if you follow my directions you will have great success!  If you've tried making kransekaka before and failed, try mine.

 My husband came home and saw this on the sideboard, and said, 
"Well hon, you've outdone yourself this time!"  Yeah, I guess it is kinda showy.

There will be leftover dough to make jam tarts.

Over the years I've owned several different ring pans, but this Norpro set is the best.  They have a non-stick surface that is pretty reliable.  Kransekaka is notorious for wanting to stay put in the pan, but I've had good luck with these.  You don't have to have the specialty ring pans, you can eyeball it and bake them on baking parchment paper you've drawn concentric circles on.

The recipe:

3 7 oz. tubes Odense almond paste
4 egg whites, lightly stirred
2 pounds powdered sugar (you'll use some for the icing)
1 cup flour (GF version:  1/2 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup all purpose GF flour)
dry unseasoned bread crumbs, regular or GF

In a food processor, add paste that has either been broken apart in small pieces or grated.  Add egg whites, flour and 4 cups sugar and process.  It will be very sticky.  At this point I like to transfer it to my big mixer.  Add some sugar, little by little continuing to mix until it starts to look like you could knead it, that will take just a few minutes.  It will be thick and sticky.  Transfer to a powdered sugar covered board and knead, using more powdered sugar, until the dough feels like you could roll it into ropes.  Make into disc and wrap with plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Next, follow the step by step directions below:

Spray pans WELL with cooking spray, sprinkle LIBERALLY with dry bread crumbs.
On a powdered sugar coated surface, roll out thin ropes of dough.
If they are too thick they will stick to each other as they bake
 and you won't be able to separate the ring cookies.

Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  If they are undercooked,
they won't remove easily from the pan.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes or so.
Don't wait too much longer, waiting too long will also make them want to stay!

When slightly cool and with the tip of a knife, carefully pry the cookie free.
It will loosen, and most likely come apart in one piece like the one above.
This is the "pan" side and the pretty side you will be showcasing. 
You can see the rings are baked into each other.  I put this on a bread board
and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut the rings apart from each other.

Once you have them loosened from their pans, they are ready to assemble!
Don't worry if you broke one or two or more, 
they can be easily glued together with the icing in the next step.

Prepare royal icing.  I use the recipe on the Wilton Meringue Powder box.
Alternately you can use the traditional powdered sugar/egg white recipe.
You will need less than a cup.  Use a paper cone or a piping bag 
with a small round tip for decorating.

 Take the largest ring and turn upside down.  
Pipe one line of icing around ring
and place on the cake plate to glue it in place.

Make pretty scallops of icing on top of the bottom ring,
  place next largest ring on top and repeat until all the rings are placed.

Decorate with little flags, Christmas poppers or trinkets.  
I like these little vintage Santas.
Sew sleeve seams and close underarm gap.  Sew on buttons and lightly block, being careful not to block out the gathers. - See more at:
Sew sleeve seams and close underarm gap.  Sew on buttons and lightly block, being careful not to block out the gathers. - See more at:
With leftover dough you can make Jam Tarts, see below.
Roll walnut sized dough and place in prepared mini cupcake pan.
With the handle of a wooden spoon, make a depression in each ball.
Fill with scant 1/2 teaspoon jam and bake at 350 F for 12-14 minutes or until done.
Cool slightly then remove and cool on rack.  These are chewy and delicious.

With leftover dough make pretty jam tarts. 

This is not as difficult as it looks.  Perhaps a bit time-consuming but worth it!  Once my Norwegian girlfriend and I made 5, yes, FIVE! in one day for her daughter's wedding.  It was show stopping to see them all together.  Quite spectacular!

How to serve:  If you are having a dessert buffet, it deserves a place in the center as the showpiece.  Break off a piece or two and encourage your guests to do the same.  Once a few top rings are gone, people are pretty comfortable taking bits off.  Or, if your are planning to pass it at the table, keep it throughout dinner in a place of honor to show it off.  When it's time to serve dessert, take it into the kitchen and break it up and put on a platter and pass.  Leftovers keep well.


  1. Loved those cakes! Haven't had it since...maybe I will have to tackle one day. Thanks for doing that for Mom and Nina!

  2. You inspired me! My father's mother was born in Denmark, so I love this kind of stuff. I just bought the cake pans at Little Scandinavia in Elkhorn, Nebraska, just up the road. I'm actually going to give it to my sister as an early Christmas present today so she can make one and bring it for dessert on Christmas. Clever, eh?! She's the maiden aunt and I have 7 kids with 1 on the way. More likely she'd actually get it made than me! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Wow, so happy to see how this is made from that little doughy picture on your buffet! Never would have guessed...

  4. I remember this dessert as a child. Thank you for bringng back that "Sweet memory!". I think my great aunt made it!