Friday, March 28, 2014

Norwegian Birthday Cake (Bløtkake)



Norwegian Birthday Cake (Bløtkake)    
A fluffy cake, whipped cream and fresh fruit come together to make this cake as beautiful and colorful as it is delicious. There are different variations of the recipe, but this is the one I use. It relies on beating the egg whites until very, very fluffy (some recipes call for cream of tartar and more baking powder instead), and takes additions of extract/flavor changes very well. If you're in a pinch for time, drop the custard and double the whipped cream -- use it between layers instead of custard. Non-dairy whipped topping can be substituted for the whipped cream frosting, but the flavor difference is pretty substantial...I only recommend doing this if necessary.

Ingredients

Cake:
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, separated (you will need both yolks & whites, but separately)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Custard filling:
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:                
1 pint or more fresh, washed (or, if unavailable, thawed & drained frozen) strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or raspberries

Directions
Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. With electric mixer, whip the separated egg whites until fluffy in a large bowl.



 Add in the sugar gradually. Beat the mixture until it gets to a stiff meringue like consistency. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolks. Gently fold the egg yolks and vanilla in.



Combine flour and baking powder, and combine with egg mixture. You will now have a light, airy cake mix.


Thoroughly butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, and divide batter between them. You can try cooking spray if you like, but I found that it did not work nearly as well as butter. You can also use parchment paper if you find that works better for you.
 

Bake at 350 F until the centers spring back when touched with finger, about 30 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Don't attempt to remove the cake until it's thoroughly cooled. Cake centers might settle somewhat during cooling.




Custard filling:

In a small saucepan, combine egg yolks, butter, cornstarch, cream and sugar. Your mixture will start a little lumpy. That's okay at this point.



Cook at a medium heat stirring frequently. Do not allow a buildup to form on bottom of pan. Continue cooking until mixture attains a thick and creamy texture. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.

 
Let cool completely before using with cake. It's best to start this right after you put the cake in the oven, so that the custard will be cool when you're ready.

Assembly:
Remove cooled cakes from pan. Cut in half horizontally (yielding four 9-inch circles).

Place one layer of cake on a serving plate and spread with custard.



Arrange fruit pieces on custard. You can use more or less fruit as you see fit (I've found that I like more fruit than you see here, but some of my family relegates fruits to the category just above "green things" -- barely edible ;) ).



Top with a second layer of cake.



Spread custard and fruit as before.



Repeat with third layer.

 
Top with final layer of cake (do not put custard/fruit on this layer, as you'll frost/decorate it before serving).


Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to finish.

 Frosting:

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and whipping cream.



Whip. Unless planning to utilize  refrigeration and a whipped cream stabilizer, try to prepare frosting and finish the cake an hour or so before serving. This gives the flavors time to combine, without leaving the whipped cream sitting too long.

 Finishing:

Generously frost the assembled cake with whipped cream. Decorate in fruit pieces.



If possible, let sit half an hour before serving. Enjoy!




Norwegian Birthday Cake (Bløtkake)


Ingredients


Cake:
3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs, separated (you will need both yolks & whites, but separately)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Custard filling:
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:                
1 pint or more fresh, washed (or, if unavailable, thawed & drained frozen) strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or raspberries

Directions
Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. With electric mixer*, whip the separated egg whites until fluffy in a large bowl; add in the sugar gradually. Beat the mixture until it gets to a stiff meringue like consistency. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolks. Gently fold the egg yolks and vanilla in. Combine flour and baking powder, and combine with egg mixture.
Thoroughly butter** and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, and divide batter between them. Bake at 350 F until the centers spring back when touched with finger, about 30 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Don't attempt to remove the cake until it's thoroughly cooled. Cake centers might settle somewhat during cooling.

Custard filling:

In a small saucepan, combine egg yolks, butter, cornstarch, cream and sugar. Cook at a medium heat stirring frequently. Do not allow a buildup to form on bottom of pan. Continue cooking until mixture attains a thick and creamy texture. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool completely before using with cake.

Assembly:
Remove cooled cakes from pan. Cut in half horizontally (yielding four 9-inch circles). Place one layer of cake on a serving plate and spread with custard. Arrange fruit pieces on custard. Top with a second layer of cake. Spread custard and fruit as before. Repeat with third layer. Top with final layer of cake (do not put custard/fruit on this layer, as you'll frost/decorate it before serving). Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to finish.

 Frosting:

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and whipping cream. Whip. Unless planning to utilize  refrigeration and a whipped cream stabilizer, try to prepare frosting and finish the cake an hour or so before serving. This gives the flavors time to combine, without leaving the whipped cream sitting too long.

 Finishing:

Generously frost the assembled cake with whipped cream. Decorate in fruit pieces. If possible, let sit half an hour before serving. Enjoy!




* If all else fails, you can do this by hand...but they need to be beaten quite thoroughly, so I highly, highly recommend an electric mixer. 
** You can try cooking spray if you like, but I found that it did not work nearly as well as butter. You can also use parchment paper if you find that works better for you.

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