On the heels of a very family-filled weekend, it seems only fitting to share with you a family recipe that has been passed down and sideways since before I was born. Called “Norwegian Gold Cake”, I am actually unsure of where it even got its name, but the recipe comes from the grandmother of my mom’s cousins (what that makes her to me, I couldn’t even begin to guess). The cake is luxuriously rich and golden in color thanks to the 5 eggs in the batter, but is also perfectly offset by the lemon-orange buttercream that tops it. Its got the zest and juice of both fruits and is the freshest, brightest tasting frosting you’ll ever have. When I was little, you knew dessert would be good if you showed up to my grandparents house and this cake was sitting on its cake plate on the dining room table. My grandma even put her own spin on it, preparing the cake with half citrus frosting and half coffee frosting. This may sound like a strange combo, but both frostings pair so well with a dense cake like this one separately, however the real best way to eat it is to have one slice with some coffee frosting and some citrus frosting. Traditionally in this family, this cake is baked in a tube pan, but it could also be done in a 9 x 13″ as a sheet cake instead, although a shorter baking time will probably be required.
A piece of advice, read this recipe through all the way before starting, since some of the process is different than most cake batters. This recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which involves beating together the flour and butter instead of the sugar and butter. This way, gluten doesn’t start forming until the flour comes into contact with a liquid, and when the flour is coated in butter, it slows down this production. As a result, the cake should be more tender and velvety, as well as bake with less of a domed top. That last bit doesn’t matter so much for this recipe since you aren’t stacking the cake, but when making layer cakes, reverse creaming is a good idea since each cake bakes up flatter and less trimming is required. There’s your baking education for the week!
This weekend we watched my only brother graduate from Notre Dame and it was so special. We spent Friday in Chicago, where we saw the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and had some crazy good food to warm us up on a particularly drizzly day (I’m talking chicken and waffles for brunch AND Russian food for dinner), then drove to Indiana for the remainder of the weekend. I am immensely proud of everything my brother has done, it’s been awesome to watch him grow over the past four years and he deserves every good thing coming to him. He’ll be starting a job at Google in August and ooooooh we’re so proud! Go Aidan!
Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
ONE. Sun showers that produce rainbows.
TWO. Going out for tea.
THREE. Putting your hair up.
FOUR. Having your coffee in the park.
FIVE. Pinch bowls.
SERVES: 10-12 people
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 35-40 minutes
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease a tube pan or 9×13″ cake pan with butter and flour, then set aside.
TWO. Cream together the flour and butter on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
THREE. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and baking powder, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix in the vanilla.
FOUR. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. If you’re using a 9×13″ pan, start checking earlier, between 25 and 30 minutes instead. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
1 lb. confectioners sugar, more if necessary
1 stick (½ cup) butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Zest + juice from 1 lemon
Zest + 1 Tbsp juice from 1 orange
ONE. Cream the butter and confectioners sugar on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla.
TWO. Add the lemon juice and zest, plus the orange juice and zest, and mix until incorporated. At this point you can adjust the proportions by adding more confectioners sugar for a thicker frosting, or more juice for a thinner one.
THREE. When the cake is completely cooled, frost the cake and decorate however you’d like! If you’re feelin ~fancy~, you could even try to candy some fruit peels, instructions here!