In December I attended the first meeting of the Edinburgh branch of the Clandestine Cake Club...think AA for cake-a-holics. At these events everyone brings along a cake to share with the other attendees and then you all sit around eating cake, drinking tea and chatting (how wonderful)! It really was wonderful; a lovely, intimate and joyous pre-holiday evening out with other local cake lovers.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I chose to try my hand at something Scandinavian for this "festive" themed evening. Not exactly a Christmas cake; the Verdens Beste Cake was voted by the people of Norwary as their NATIONAL CAKE. It literally translates as WORLD'S BEST CAKE (if that doesn't scream CELEBRATION I don't know what does...except maybe one of those traditional Danish Cake parties). Layers of Sponge, Meringue, Custardy Cream and Almonds definitely make me feel indulgent, so I thought it would be just PERFECT for this event.
The Verdens Beste is a pretty easy cake to put together and is essentially thin layer of uncooked sponge topped with thick meringue and slivered almonds and then baked. You bake it as one rectangular cake and then cut it in half to create the two layers and then sandwich it with thick vanilla cream. Having never made it before I was somewhat nervous and kept checking and rechecking the cake while it baked...the next time I will just relax.
I used this recipe from Sweet Paul Magazine for the cake part but mixed 1/2 a tin of Devon Custard with 1/2 a pint of whipped whipping cream for the cream layer...only because in other recipes I had read on-line they had suggested using Vanilla Jell-o Pudding mixed with whipping cream (which sounds totally amazing).
The recipe instructs to bake the cake/meringue inside a rectangular cake tin, but instead I used the method from Passion for Baking and spread the cake batter and meringue on a baking tray. Who know which works better, I just didn't have a cake tin large enough!
I could easily have eaten most of the cake myself, it was light and creamy and the meringue was perfect. The few bits that were left came home with me and lasted well for the next couple of days in the fridge.
So, if you are looking for something a little bit different but not too difficult give The Verdens Beste a try.
And if you are interested in Scandinavian cake culture drool over this article about a traditional Danish cake table in South Jutland SIIIIIGH.