Saturday, December 10, 2016

Kransekage (Danish Wreath Cake) Part two

Yesterday I showed you the finished Kransekage and promised to tell you how to put it together today.   I just want to know one thing, did you happen to bake any test pieces along with the rings?   I did because I made a little extra.
If you look at the picture, I made the bride and groom's initials out of the dough so I could put them on the cake.
Many times, if the cake is being used for other than a wedding like the one my brother made for one of my sisters and I, you make either initials or numbers out of the dough.  Tania and I shared a cake when she turned 50 and I had my 25th wedding anniversary.  Pictures are the end of this post.
The Kransekage rings are baked and ready to be put together.

I used Royal Icing to put the rings together and basically followed the instructions on the Meringue Powder I bought.

Recipe: Royal Icing
1 1/2  Tablespoons Meringue Powder
2 cups Confectioner Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons warm water.
Mix together and using a mixer, whip until the icing forms stiff peaks.  Takes about 7-10 minutes.
Put into a piping bag and set aside.   Use either a fine tip or do as I did, cut a small hole in the end of the bag when I was ready to pipe.

I used a Wilton round cardboard cake plate to put the cake on, however if you have a pretty plate you want to use, follow the basic instructions.
When taking the rings out of the forms, place the baked side down, and the other side up.  This makes for a prettier presentation. 
First I piped a small amount of icing in a round and placed the first ring, the largest ring on top.  This helps it to adhere to the plate.   Using the piping bag of icing, making a back and forth motion, go around the cake ring, and drizzle the icing on.  Then take the next biggest ring, and place on top of the just drizzled icing.  Continue doing this and build up the cone. 

 Have an uh oh moment, and hurry up and stack the rings to make sure you've got them in the right order, after you've piped the first three rings.  Breathe a big sigh of relief, and remove the unfrosted rings very carefully to the side.
Then just continue piping and building the rings up.
Stop for a minute, admire your work, take pictures, then continue on until the whole cake has been assembled.

At the end, pipe a little frosting onto the backs of the initials you made, stick them to the cake.  Forget to take pictures until after you've started to decorate it. 
Ideally you have Danish Flags decorating the cake, along with 'crackers', but I made some Gator and Nole flags since both bride and groom are die hard football fans, one is a 'Nole' fan and the other a 'Gator' fan.  I also made bows with the colors of the Danish, American, Polish and Italian flags.  
Got them all stuck on there, and realized I'd neglected to make the 'top' which consists of a round button for the top.  

I filled in the top with ribbons.

I showed you my wedding cakes yesterday, for your drooling pleasure, here's a few more cakes.
All baked by my brother, he does an amazing job. 
My sister's 50th birthday combined with my 25th Wedding Anniversary cake.

And the other cakes, well, gee did I mention I have some incredibly talented siblings.  The other cakes are ones my sister made.
Kransekage and wedding cake
Kransekage and wedding cake
I know I've got more pictures of Kransekage's around here, and when I find them, I'll share them after this.

In the meantime...
Anyone got a wedding or special occasion coming up?

Have pans will bake..

Friday, December 9, 2016

Kransekage (Danish Wreath Cake) part one

I made my first Kransekage for a friend's wedding recently.   And had so much fun with it.
And yes it's a trifle over the top, but hey, it's a WEDDING CAKE!!!
The ribbons on the cake are for the separate heritages of the bride and groom. A little Danish, a little Italian, a little Polish and some American.  
The flags are for their favorite football teams, there was a game that day.  They both love football.

A Kransekage or Danish Wreath Cake is a traditional cake made for celebrations in a Dane's life. 
They're made for weddings, birthdays, special events, celebrations and Christmas.

I had one at my wedding, many years ago.  A friend of my parents, Anna Hansen made it.  She was known for her Kransekage back then.   My sister made my other wedding cake, which was a traditional Canadian cake, a wonderful moist fruitcake covered in fondant.
And the tradition continued.  Although my brother took over making the cakes.   He's one amazing baker.
If anyone is getting married or having a major life celebration, he's got the cake for it.   He also makes his own almond paste. 
I'm not that ambitious.  I bought mine.

I got the basic recipe from My Danish Kitchen, and then looked in all my Danish cookbooks (I've got a few and some are even in English).  And basically got a consensus.  (OK so I averaged it out)
The basic recipe is Almond Paste, Egg Whites and Confectioners Sugar. You can also use regular sugar, but I choose not to.  I'm just not that ambitious.

This recipe makes 18 rings, which is exactly how many I needed for the cake.  And did I mention I have special pans to bake them in?  No, well I do, thanks to one of my sister's gifting me them a couple of years ago.
Recipe: Kransekage
750 grams Almond Paste  (3 boxes of Solo Almond Paste 8 oz or 227 gram boxes)
2-3 egg whites, lightly beaten (I used Extra Large Ones)
4 cups Confectioners sugar
Using a stand mixer, if you have one, add the egg whites and half the confectioners sugar to the bowl.  Start it on low, and mix, as soon as it is mixed add the remainder of the sugar.  Mix well. 
Open the packages of Almond Paste and chop them up into smaller pieces.  Or crumble them using your fingers.  Add to the mixing bowl a little at a time, letting it incorporate, (not all at once like I did. sheesh). Mix  it well.  Once it's all incorporated, dump it out onto a clean work surface.   Divide the dough in half.  Wrap it well, and put into the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  It needs to rest and get over the strenuous activity.  You can even leave it in the fridge overnight.  The next day or a few hours later, take out the dough and knead it a little.   Then divide half of it into thirds and the other half into quarters. (We're doing some math here, sorta).  This is kinda tricky here.  You're going to be making 18 rings, but those rings are not all the same size.
I used rings that are made for Kransekage, which is kinda cheating, but not.  It has graduated sizes so that when the Kransekage is baked, they can stack properly.
Grease the pans with some cooking spray and sprinkle a little semolina in, this helps them to release from the forms.
Once you have the dough divided you want to roll it out into ropes about as big around as a finger.   I like to roll out all the dough, and make sure it's all the same size.
This is a very sticky dough and you'll need to wash your hands a lot while handling it.  Trust me on this, it loves to stick to the fingers.  Although, and pardon me purists, I took a little confectioners sugar and sprinkled it on the dough as I was rolling it into ropes and it made it a lot easier to work with.  Not a lot, just enough to stop the major sticky part. 
Take each rope, and coil it around on the pans, starting with the largest ring first.  Pinch the ends together to make the ring.  
I started with the largest and worked my way down to the smallest.
As you put each ring into the form, smooth it out as best you can so that it looks even (ish).   Once you're finished with them all, you need to bake them.
I put them on a rimmed baking pan, and was able to fit three rings on each one. 
Bake at 390 degrees for about 15-18 minutes or until the rings are done.  Take them out and let them cool a little in the ring forms. 

Tomorrow I'll tell you how to assemble and decorate and will also share a few pictures of some of the Kransekage which graced various weddings and celebrations I've attended.    I think I might even have a few pictures tucked away pre-digital age, and I'll see if I can find those and scan them in.