A cake fit for a queen
Introducing Crown Cakes by Jennifer
As Christmas approaches, one thing is still certain for celebrations altered by the coronavirus pandemic this year: kransekaker will grace the festive tables in Norwegian homes. An almond cake made of 18 rings stacked on top of one another, kransekake is a classic Norwegian food tradition served for holidays, including Christmas, Syttende Mai, and Easter, as well as family events such as weddings, confirmations, and christenings.
An American living in Norway for the over three decades, Jennifer Falck is no stranger to the kransekake Christmas tradition. Over the years, kransekaker have been the perfect Norwegian gift for her to send to her family back in the United States. Inspired by the beauty and gifting ability of kransekaker, Falck has now reimagined it into a new, internationally influenced creation: the Crown Cake.
French tasters have described this new culinary creation as a “Norwegian macaron,” pointing to its incorporation of elements of French macarons, Belgian chocolate, and Norwegian kransekaker. Influenced both by the kransekaker molds she uses to make the cakes and by her love of serving high tea fit for the Queen of England, Falck named her creation a “Crown Cake.”
The Crown Cake is a chewy gluten-free cake made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites. In a departure from traditional Norwegian kransekaker, though, they are flavored with chocolate, espresso, and rum. And while traditional kransekaker are comprised of 18 rings, Falck’s Crown Cakes are designed to be a smaller size for gifting and are made of only seven rings.
Born in Washington state and raised in Alaska, Falck moved to Norway in 1985 to study Scandinavian design and Norwegian at the University of Bergen. The idea behind creating her gifting Crown Cakes came from her experience sending gifts back home to Alaska.
“I was looking for something very Norwegian that I could send as gifts back home,” says Falck. “Coming from Alaska, sending smoked salmon was not an option, so I started sending kransekaker.” It was an instant hit. “I always heard that it was too pretty to eat!” she reveals.
Though she has no formal training in baking and culinary arts, Falck has always enjoyed baking and entertaining. “I love putting on high tea parties for friends and family and experimenting with different recipes,” she says. In 2017, Falck combined her love of baking with her background in design and founded Gourmet Specialties, a food entrepreneurial consultancy business. She works with low-threshold culinary companies in Norway to develop new recipes using a “1-2-3 production” catering concept. “This consists of one person, maximum two processes, and three ingredients,” Falck explains. “This will keep the pantry stock to a minimum and cut down on waste and the time it takes to produce.”
One of Gourmet Specialties’ most popular creations is Hardanger Fudge, conceived by Falck and chef Helge F. Bu of Hardanger AKS, a low-threshold café and catering business in Øystese, Norway. The success of the Hardanger Fudge encouraged Falck to think of ways to reimagine the formulation of it so it could be easily gifted.
“Crown Cakes by Jennifer chocolate kransekaker are a further development of Hardanger Fudge cookies,” she explains.
Falck is committed to helping low-threshold companies like Hardanger AKS with her entrepreneurial skills. Her hope is to have her Crown Cakes produced commercially and provide them to these companies to sell. “They don’t have capacity to work catering, teach students and bake all day, too,” Falck says. “We have about 300 such companies in Norway, so that is the niche I would like to help. I wanted to give them something unique and exciting to offer so that people would go on their website and support their businesses.”
In addition to selling her cakes through low-threshold catering companies, Falck is preparing to sell Crown Cakes at her local grocery store in Bergen’s Paradis neighborhood. She also hopes that someday local children’s sports clubs can sell the Crown Cakes to raise money for their teams, similar to the format of Girl Scout cookies sales in the United States.
Falck has big dreams for the international production of her Crown Cakes. She has plans to expand into the American market soon, but the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily put the project on hold. Due to restrictions and the risks of shipping during the pandemic, Falck and her team are unable to ship bulk orders to the United States. Eventually, the plan is to have the cakes produced in the States so it will be easier to sell domestically. “I have a distributor partner [in the United States] already, but we agreed to wait out the storm, so to speak” she says. Until then, Crown Cakes are only available in Norway.
Although Crown Cakes by Jennifer are not yet available for purchase in the United States, it is possible to order a cake for delivery to someone in Norway. If you have a family member or friend in Norway you would like to send a Crown Cake to, you can order by emailing Jennifer Falck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 11, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.