On the cake table for Syttende mai
Bunad-inspired cakes for confirmations, weddings, and other milestone celebrations
This time of the year is typically full of celebrations in Norway, from confirmations to weddings and the 17th of May, and kakebordet (the cake table) is an important and delicious part of the festivities.
In the era of COVID-19 social distancing measures, I’m excited to bring you a virtual kakebord, featuring an exciting cake trend that couldn’t be more Norwegian: the bunadskake.
The bunadskake is based on regional designs of Norway’s national costume. Bunadskaker are typically made for church confirmations (the time that many young women get their own bunad), but also for baptisms, weddings, birthdays, and other milestone celebrations.
The artistry and hours (and hours!) of work that go into each cake is evident in the details.
I reached out to several bunadskake makers on Instagram, from home bakers who make cakes as a hobby to award-winning professionals, to learn more about their artistic process in creating these kjempenorsk cakes.
Vibeke Hansen (@mimmiogolli on Instagram) is a self-taught baker based in Stavanger. She made this festive chocolate bunadskake without eggs or milk products, and covered it with marzipan. The silver sølje pieces are made from decorative ribbon and glued onto metal wire. This bunad was inspired by the Jelsa bunad in Rogaland.
“I’m not a professional baker, only a hobby based on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. So this cake can be made by everyone,” said Hansen.
Tonje of Stella Cakes (@stellacakes_trd) in Trondheim makes several bunad cakes every year, with customers who drive for hours to pick up their specially designed cakes. She competed in the Norwegian TV show “Kakekrigen” (Cake War) in 2018.
“My cakes are based on the Trønderbunad, and last year I managed to make a cake based on my own Lundeby-bunad,” she said.
“I made the sølje of fondant/sugar paste, and rolled it out to the size that I thought looked best for the cake. My mom has the trønderbunad sølje (Trondheim bunad silver jewelry), and I borrow it once a year for inspiration. I use edible silver paint and glitter to paint the fondant. Piece by piece, and many hours later, I put it together with edible glue and it’s ready for the cake. The rest of the designs are hand-painted,” she said.
“Making a cake this way is so personal, and I just love it,” said Tonje.
“Making a bunad cake takes a lot of time, patience, and planning,” said Cathrine Boyesen. Boyesen made this bunadskake of dark chocolate cake filled with ganache, and decorated with marzipan. It’s designed in the Romerike bunad style. The intricate collar was made with a special embossing mat pressed onto marzipan.
“Bunads are our pride and tradition, and I am sure there are more people who will want such a cake,” said Boyesen.
Gudbjørg I. Sigurbjørnsdottir is a cake baker and caterer in Kristiansand, and moved from Iceland in 2011. She posts her whimsical creations on her Instagram page, @cakesbyguddis. She designed this chocolate cake for a confirmation in 2017, based on the Nordmørsbunad and personalized with the name and date.
“The cake is covered with fondant, and all the decorations are made with gum paste,” she said. Gum paste is made of egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and shortening, and dries quite hard. “Bunadskaker have become very popular for confirmation cakes, and I get many inquiries about them,” she added.
I was thrilled to talk with Laís Marcolongo, the owner of Sukker på Toppen in Ålesund. Marcolongo is a cake baker and decorator who moved to Norway in 2015 from her native Brazil. She is also the winner of the “City’s Best Cake” contest for Ålesund’s 170th anniversary celebration in 2018.
The visually striking cake, based on the Sunnmørbunad, was made for a bunad-themed wedding. The bride planned to wear a bunadsbånd on her wedding dress and brought some design ideas to Marcolongo.
“I love the deep colors in the pattern and how they contrast with the black. I wanted the cake to be a representation of the bunad itself, with the dominant black underneath the colorful pattern, a bit of white representing the top and the sølje to top, all in a beautiful harmony. The pattern on the cake is hand painted with care to reproduce the color tones accurately,” said Marcolongo.
Every single detail of the cake is edible, including the sølje, which was handcrafted of sugar paste, royal icing, and very small dragées.
If you want to see more bunad cake inspiration (and even make your own!), search for “#bunadskake” on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or Google.
You can also find these talented bakers and decorators on Instagram:
Have you made a bunadskake? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos used with permission from the owners.
This article originally appeared in the May 8, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.