Celebrate International Waffle Day on March 25
Christy Olsen Field
Taste of Norway Editor
If there is one thing that I will be remembered for, I hope it’s my love of celebrating all the small things.
My kids love seasonally-shaped pancakes throughout the year, and half-birthday cakes for their half-birthdays. (I know, I am that mom.) I compile a list of rainbow-themed activities every March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the spring equinox. If I see that National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is coming up, it’s an excellent reason to turn on the oven.
And a special day to eat heart-shaped waffles? Definitely a celebration on my calendar.
For the uninitiated, Norwegian vafler (waffles) are a real treat and one of my very favorite Norwegian foods. They are thinner and foldable, compared to their Belgian or American counterparts. I recently learned that the iconic heart-shaped waffle iron used throughout Scandinavia likely came from Germany. Vafler are typically served for dessert or snacks, but they are also are a great vehicle for savory toppings.
As for me, I keep it classic with homemade jam, a smear of sour cream, and a slice of brown cheese, because why mess with perfection?
March 25 is celebrated as International Waffle Day, which originated in Sweden but is now celebrated across the Scandinavian region.
I was utterly charmed when I learned that this wonderful holiday began with a play on words.
March 25 in the Christian church is marked as the Feast of the Annunciation. The shift from the religious celebration to waffle party happened because the Swedish Vårfrudagen, meaning “Our Lady’s Day” (the Feast of the Annunciation), sounds similar to Våffeldagen (“waffle day”), and so over time Swedes began calling it Waffle Day and celebrating by eating waffles.
Vaffeldagen.no shares another likely explanation: At the end of March, there was more access to fresh eggs and milk after many lean winter months, and celebrating Waffle Day was a welcome opportunity to enjoy the return of spring.
Any day is a great day for Norwegian waffles in my opinion, but turning them into a layered waffle cake with whipped cream and jam makes all my dessert dreams come true.
My recipe for vaffelkake is simple: Five heart-shaped waffles, layered with whipped cream and jam. It’s fast enough to make on a weeknight, and special enough to make for company. Best of all, it comes together with a handful of pantry ingredients, and can be adapted to your personal tastes.
I learned a great technique for whipped cream from chef Nancy Silverton. She recommends adding a ¼ cup of sour cream (or crème fraiche) for every one cup of whipping cream, which brings extra smoothness and fuller flavor. I also add 1 tbsp. of powdered sugar for a hint of sweetness.
Though I try to stay away from specialty equipment for my recipes in The Norwegian American, a heart-shaped waffle iron is necessary here. If you don’t have a heart-shaped waffle iron yet, email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will gladly connect you to your closest Scandinavian shop! (They can also be found on Amazon and some big box stores.)
How do you like to serve Norwegian waffles? Did you try this cake recipe? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at
Vaffelkake (Waffle cake)
Adapted from MatPrat.no
For the waffles:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. freshly ground cardamom
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup berry jam (or substitute your favorite)
Fresh fruit to garnish (optional)
Specialty equipment: Heart-shaped waffle iron, available through your favorite Scandinavian shop (or Amazon)
Prep the waffle batter: In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs, sugar, and ground cardamom until thick and pale yellow. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk this into the butter-egg and milk mixture, and let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
Bake each waffle according to your waffle iron’s instructions. I like to cool my waffles on a metal rack for a couple minutes so they don’t steam.
This should yield 5 waffles, but you might get an extra waffle depending on your waffle iron’s capacity. Let the waffles cool slightly.
Meanwhile, prepare the whipped cream. Pour whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Start the mixer on low until the cream thickens enough not to splatter, then increase speed to medium-high until the whipped cream holds soft peaks. Fold in the sour cream.
When the waffles have cooled, you’re ready to assemble the cake. Take a waffle and smear on 1-2 tbsp. jam. Cover with whipped cream. Add your next layer, and repeat until all waffles are used. Top with remaining jam and whipped cream and fresh fruit if desired. It should look casual and rustic!
You can serve immediately, but I found letting the vaffelkake sit for 20 minutes or so let the whipped cream soften the waffles just slightly, which made for a more cohesive cake that sliced neatly.
Leftovers keep nicely in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast.
Happy Waffle Day!
This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.