Recipe Exchange Corner

Almond Kringle and Butter Almond Cake

butter almond cake

Photo: Christy Olsen Field
This butter almond cake is reminiscent of kransekake but simple enough to make for any occasion.

CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor

I’m back with another edition of our Recipe Exchange Corner, and this time it’s all about buttery, almond baked goods. Because in these uncertain times, I often resort to “stress-baking” or “procrasti-baking” as a way to cope. Maybe you do too!

Kringle is a popular treat across the Scandinavian region and Scandinavian-American bakeries. It’s buttery and sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea. 

But if you’re social distancing these days, kringle is actually easy enough to make at home with a handful of pantry ingredients.

I asked my friend and fellow Scandinavian baking enthusiast Lauren Carlson for her recipe. Carlson makes her family’s kringle recipe, and sells it through her home baking business Scandilø Baked Goods in Geneva, N.Y. 

Laruen writes: “Kringle is probably my favorite thing to make. It seems so fancy and impressive, but it’s actually really easy to make… Here is the recipe my mom and Grandma Jo use for kringle. They don’t bother dividing the recipe into two strips because ‘no time for that with five kids running around the farm’ my grandma said! Rather, they form the dough into one long, wide shape to fit a 9×13-inch pan. So that is exactly what I do.”

Kringle features pâte à choux (pronounced “POT-a-SHOE”), a light dough originated in France used in many European pastries. It contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs. It relies on its high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry instead of a leavening agent.


Almond Kringle

By Lauren Carlson, Geneva, N.Y.

Follow her on Instagram: @scandilobakedgoods

Pastry Base

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsps. cold water

The “Puff” or pâte à choux

½ cup butter

1 cup water

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup flour

3 eggs

Glaze

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tbsp. butter, softened to 

room temperature

1 ½ tsp. almond extract

1-2 tbsp. hot water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare the kringle base. Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup flour with a pastry cutter or knife. Add 2-ish tablespoons of ice water over mixture; mix until a coarse meal forms—basically a pie dough. On a 9×13-inch sheet pan, shape the dough into an oblong shape. Alternatively, you can divide the pastry dough in half and make two strips about 12×3-inch instead of one large kringle. Throw it in the freezer while you make the “puff,” or pâte à choux.

In a saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add almond extract. Add 1 cup flour all at once. Stir (with fervor!) until a ball forms. Beat in eggs one at a time, until smooth. It will look slimy, but it will eventually all combine. Smear the “puff” with an offset spatula (or a knife) on top of the flour/butter mixture.

Bake about 60 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool.

Prepare the glaze by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, almond extract, and 1 tablespoon hot water, until smooth. You can add an additional tablespoon hot water if you think it needs it. I usually end up doubling the glaze recipe for maximum glaze action.

Top with toasted almonds, slice, and enjoy!


Butter Almond Cake

By Christy Olsen Field 

Adapted from Marcella’s Butter Almond Cake in the memoir “Stir” by Jessica Fector.

Recipe originally published in the Feb. 17, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American.

 

¾ cup unsalted butter

1¼ cups granulated sugar (plus 1 tbsp. for finishing the top)

2 large eggs

2 tsp. almond extract

2 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup sliced almonds 

Finishing salt, such as Maldon or Fleur de sel (optional, but it truly makes the cake!)

Along the same lines of buttery almond goodness, I’ve had several requests to reprint the recipe for the almond butter cake, which I originally wrote about in 2016. It’s not a traditional Scandinavian cake, but the flavor profile is Norwegian to me. When it was published, it went “viral” on Facebook (at least in the Norwegian-American community), and I got so many happy notes from people who love this cake. I hope you do, too! 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool for five minutes. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in one egg until fully incorporated, and then the next egg. Add the almond extract, salt, vanilla sugar, and whisk well until smooth. With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour until just combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and spread the sliced almonds on top. Sprinkle with finishing salt (optional, but it’s my favorite part of the cake) and remaining 1 tablespoon on top.

Bake for 35 minutes. Author Jessica Fector writes, “This cake blushes more than it browns”—and she’s right. Look for a slight rosy color of the cake, and use a toothpick inserted in the center to see if it comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Use a knife to slide around the edges to remove it from the pan and cool completely.

Wrapped and stored at room temperature, this cake will keep well for several days (if you don’t eat it first).

Enjoy!

Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. She worked on the editorial staff of the Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is also a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area. Write to her at food@na-weekly.com.

This article originally appeared in the April 3, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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