Photo: Alexandra Grablewski
World’s Best Cake
This cake was awarded the title of Norway’s National Cake a few years back. It’s called verdens beste in Norwegian, and I agree that it just might be the world’s best. You may be skeptical of its superiority, since it isn’t iced as are many American cakes. When we photographed it, I left it at the studio apartment of Alexandra Grablewski, this book’s photographer, and the next day she confessed to having eaten two huge servings. “I guess the Norwegians are right,” she said.
10 ½ tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 ½ tablespoons) butter, softened
1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
1 ⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
⅓ cup whole milk
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 cup heavy cream
½ vanilla bean
Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle position. Line an 8-x-12-inch baking pan with parchment paper. I recommend not using glass pans, use metal.
Beat the butter and ⅔ cup of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix well on low speed.
Mix in the egg yolks and milk.
Scrape the batter into the baking pan.
In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks. Spread on top of the cake layer. Sprinkle with the almond slices.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed. Cool on a wire rack in the pan. Transfer to a cutting board.
When the cake is cool, put the cream in a medium bowl and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Discard the vanilla pod. Beat to soft peaks with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.
Cut the cake in half crosswise with a serrated knife. Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with the cream. Place the other half, meringue side up, on top.
Let the cake sit for 1 hour in the fridge before serving.
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