Deconstructing bløtkake: A low-stress, portable take on a classic

Photo: Christy Olsen Field
Deconstructed bløtkake served in a picnic-friendly jar.

Christy Olsen Field
Edmonds, Wash.

Nothing says celebration like a layer cake. But there are so many ways it can go wrong: crumbly cake, uneven layers, gloppy frosting.

So here’s my take on bløtkake, a classic dessert for 17th of May celebrations. Each component is made from scratch, but you can substitute store-bought items if that’s easier. After all, this is low-stress bløtkake! And you can serve it any way you like: Layered in a trifle bowl, individual glass dessert dishes, or even layered in a pint jar (which makes it picnic-basket friendly!). It tastes best if you let it sit for a couple hours or overnight. Now you can enjoy your 17th of May celebration and eat your cake too.

Deconstructed Bløtkake

Sponge Cake
Adapted from Astrid Karlsen Scott’s Authentic Norwegian Cooking by way of Outside Oslo (www.outside-oslo.com; this is Taste of Norway Editor Daytona Strong’s blog)

6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously butter a 9×13 baking pan.

In a stand mixer, whip egg whites at medium speed until fluffy, then slowly add sugar and increase speed to medium high. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a small bowl, and combine flour and baking powder in another small bowl.

When the egg whites have reached stiff peaks, sift the flour mixture into the bowl and add the egg yolks. Gently fold together the mixture until you don’t see flour or yellow streaks. Transfer to baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can touch the center of the cake, and it springs back. Let cool.

Photo: Christy Olsen Field
A more traditional presentation of deconstructed bløtkake

Vanilla Custard
Adapted from Astrid Karlsen Scott’s Authentic Norwegian Cooking by way of Outside Oslo

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsps. cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsps. vanilla extract

This is optional, and can be omitted. You can substitute prepared vanilla pudding instead, or check your local Scandinavian store for vaniljesaus.

In a small saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, whipping cream, milk, cornstarch, and sugar over medium heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla, and let cool.

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a stand mixer or a metal bowl, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla to soft peaks. If desired, fold in 1/4 cup of cooled raspberry jam.

Quick Raspberry Jam
2 cups raspberries (frozen or fresh)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. lemon juice

This adds a really special touch to this dish, but you can substitute your favorite raspberry jam, thinned out with a little water to make it more like a sauce.

In a bowl, sprinkle sugar over the raspberries and stir together. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the berries get juicy. In a small saucepan, add berry mixture with lemon zest and juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. The berries will break down and make a loose, jammy sauce. Set aside to cool.

Berries for garnish
2 pints of berries: strawberries (sliced), raspberries, and/or blueberries

To assemble bløtkake:
Put a small dollop of raspberry jam to cover the bottom of your serving dish. Cut or tear bite-size pieces of cake, then top with another bit of raspberry jam. Generously cover with vanilla custard (if using), some whipped cream, and garnish with berries. Repeat all the layers. It can be served immediately, but it does well to sit in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors mingle together.

Makes 6 pint-jar servings.

Christy Olsen Field was on the editorial staff of the Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012, and the Taste of Norway page was her favorite section. Today, she is a freelance grantwriter for small to mid-size nonprofits with her business, Christy Ink. Learn more at www.christy.ink.

This article originally appeared in the May 5, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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