The art of making a beautiful kransekake

Bake like a pro for the 17th of May


Photo courtesy of Mandel
Kransekake is the crown jewel of any 17th of May table and a perfect addition to any big celebration.

Maggie Øyen

Crafting a beautiful kransekake involves an artful process that transforms three simple ingredients into a cherished national delicacy. Unveiling some trade secrets can enhance your kransekake-making experience for the upcoming Syttende Mai celebration.

(1) To begin, it is essential to allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for three to five days, with seven days also acceptable. Rested dough preserves its shape during baking, ensuring an even rise and facilitating the stacking of rings for a more uniform structure. When working with the dough, cold rested dough is notably more manageable than room temperature dough because of its elastic nature, easing its placement in molds with minimal effort. In contrast, room temperature dough tends to be sticky and challenging to handle.

(2) For forming the kransekake, ropes measuring about ½-inch in diameter are ideal, with the longest rope required to fill the outer ring of the largest form measuring about 22¼ inches, while subsequent lengths decrease accordingly. Using non-stick forms, particularly NORPRO forms, is essential. Coating the forms with butter and flour will compromise the gluten-free nature of the kransekake and lead to uneven baking; specifically burned bottoms and undercooked middles. Another valuable tip is to place parchment paper between the rings on a baking sheet to prevent burning or excessive browning. Baking can be challenging because of  variations in oven types, while industrial ovens may require hot and fast baking at 400° for nine minutes, home ovens necessitate individual testing for optimal results. A preliminary test with the smallest ring can guide you; a fragrant aroma indicates proximity to completion.

(3) Once baked, cooling the kransekake in front of a fan expedites the process. Only remove the kransekake from the form when fully cooled, allowing for a taste test to determine if any adjustments to the baking time are necessary.  If your rings are reluctant to release, gently tap them on your countertop to loosen them. However, bear in mind that if they stick, it could indicate they are either too warm, underbaked, or you are in need of a replacement set of forms.

(4) Once all the rings are baked, inspect each one meticulously, ensuring uniformity in their tops and seams. Using a handheld cheese grater, akin to what is used for grating Parmesan cheese, can assist in smoothing out any elevated areas. Attentiveness to achieving level tops facilitates the subsequent assembly of your kransekake. Establishing a solid base is essential for the cake’s overall presentation. Our method involves stacking the unfrosted kransekake and then dividing the tower into two sections, flipping them to facilitate decorating in the correct sequence. We start with the largest ring on a lazy Susan, decorate and add the next ring, decorate and add the next ring etc. The lazy Susan will assist you in ensuring that you are building a straight kransekake.

(5) Mastering the art of decoration requires practice and patience. We use a traditional royal icing technique by whisking egg whites until they form stiff peaks and gradually incorporating confectioners’ sugar until achieving a consistency akin to Greek yogurt. Alternatively, meringue powder can be used as a substitute. Our array of piping tips ranges from #00 to #3.

(6) To refine your skills without wastage, consider freezing your baked trial rings to reuse. Frozen rings can be easily cleaned and refrozen for continuous practice sessions. Mastering the hand movements is crucial, as royal icing is inherently pliable and will naturally fall into place once the technique is perfected. An analogy to driving a manual gear shift car can be drawn, where the motion resembles shifting from second gear, up to third, and down to fourth smoothly. For a visual demonstration of this technique, a video is available on our website at

Maggie Øyen

Enjoy an authentic kransekake

Would you like to experience the joy of Norwegian kransekake? Mandel offers you three great opportunities:

You can place your order for kransekake at

Better yet, you can bid on a kransekake in our online auction live at

Not online? There is a second chance to win in a May 17 raffle drawing by sending your name, address, and telephone number directly to Maggie at Mandel:

Maggie Øyen
12 4th Ave
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

This article originally appeared in the May 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.