The kransekake, which translates to "wreath cake", is the signature cake of Norway and a showstopping confection that is made for special occasions. And as impressive as a tall tower made out of eighteen delicate cookie rings is, this sweet stunner is surprisingly straightforward to make. The naturally gluten-free dough is made from processing almonds until finely ground, then confectioners' sugar and egg whites are added to bind it together. After an overnight rest, the dough is rolled into ropes and fitted into specialty molds. Once baked, the rings are stacked sky-high and kept in place with royal icing, which pulls double duty as both glue and garnish.

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Ingredients

Dough
Royal Icing

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Dough: Place almonds in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and salt and process until well combined and powder-like, about 1 minute. Add egg whites and process until a dough forms (it will have the texture of cookie dough). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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  • Preheat oven to 300°F with oven rack in the middle. Brush a set of 6 kransekake molds with butter. Divide dough in half. Working with one half of dough at a time, cut into small portions and roll into ropes that are slightly thicker than the diameter of a pencil (about 3/8-inch-to-1/2-inch thick). Fit ropes into rings of 3 molds, trimming to fit. Place molds on an unrimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

  • Transfer molds to a wire rack and let cool completely on baking sheet. Repeat shaping and baking process with remaining half of dough and remaining 3 molds. Carefully remove rings from molds.

  • Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine confectioners' sugar and egg whites. Mix on medium-high speed until combined and thickened, about 8 minutes. If decorating with more than one color, divide icing into batches. Using the end of a toothpick, add food coloring until the desired shade is achieved.

  • To Assemble: Sort rings in order of size. Fill a piping bag with icing and pipe a few dots onto the base of the largest ring and adhere to a cake plate. Pipe icing onto the base of next largest ring, and stack on top of the first ring. Repeat process, continuing to stack rings in decreasing size to form a tower of 18 rings. Decorate as desired. Allow icing to set before serving.

Cook's Notes

You can find the kransekake molds needed for this recipe on Amazon.

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