A recipe for Success (Tart): These flavors are a winning combination
Taste of Norway Editor
When it comes to cakes, Norwegian ones are among the best in the world, in my opinion. They’re often simple and require no special cake decorating skills in order to be beautiful. Bløtkake, with its layers of sponge cake, vanilla custard, strawberry jam, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries is one of my all-time favorites. Then there’s the simple rhubarb cake, with slices of the magenta stalks nestled throughout a buttery cake. Kvæfjordkake—also known as verdens beste kake, or world’s best cake—has been called Norway’s National Cake, and for good reason: With layers of cake, delicate meringue, vanilla cream, and chopped almonds, it’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying.
And then there’s suksessterte—success cake or success tart. This cake is lovely with a bright yellow custard and wisps of chocolate. It just happens to be gluten-free with a base of almonds and egg whites (just be sure all your ingredients, including the powdered sugar, and baking powder, are made without gluten).
I first made suksessterte a few years ago and loved the how the egg yolks in the custard created a vibrant yellow cream. On first glance, it looks like it might taste like lemon, but it’s just the most luscious buttery cream you can imagine.
Success Tart (Suksessterte)
Norwegian success tart, also known as success cake, is one of those desserts that catch you by surprise if you haven’t tasted it before. The bright yellow custard hints at a lemon flavor, but what you get instead is a rich almond cake topped with luscious buttery cream and a garnish of chocolate (typically you’d use less than I did on this particular cake, but I couldn’t help myself with those delicate little wisps of chocolate). As with any favorite recipe, variations abound. I’ve made a two-layer success cake here, but it’s also often made with a single cake layer.
4 large egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup almonds (not blanched)
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
2⁄3 cup heavy whipping cream
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
bar of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8- or 9-inch springform pans.
Grind the almonds until fine. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form again.
Fold in the ground almonds, baking powder, and salt, taking care to preserve the fluffy whites while incorporating it all.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, not going all the way to the edges if you’re using the 9-inch ones. Use a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the cream. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir egg yolks, cream, and sugar until it thickens and nearly comes to a boil, about 25 minutes. (Don’t let it come to a boil, as you want a smooth cream that doesn’t curdle.) Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time, letting them melt completely before adding more. It should become shiny. Be patient as it will take some time for all the butter to melt. Stir in the vanilla extract. You should have a luscious silky yellow cream that’s as rich in flavor as it is in appearance.
Once the cake is completely cooled, remove from tins and place one layer on a serving tray or pedestal. Spread half the cream over it, then add the second layer and spread with the remaining cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.
Curl the chocolate—a vegetable peeler works well for this. Use to decorate the top of the cake and serve.
Daytona Strong is The Norwegian American’s Taste of Norway Editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo), Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).
This article originally appeared in the June 29, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.