(Norsk versjon, følg linken: Verdens Beste)
“World’s Best” is one of the most popular Norwegian cakes, and for good reason; it is – as the name indicates – the World’s Best Cake! Nope, there will be no arguing here, you will just have to try it. If my memory does not fail me it was declared Norway’s National Cake some years ago.
The recipe is not difficult, really, but there are several steps that can be somewhat troublesome, and the whole cake is definitely time consuming. But oh my – it is worth it!
I’ve baked this cake for Danes on a few occasions – and they are also beside themselves with excitement and praise. As it just happens, I am unable to find a decent pastry cream (or vanilla cream, or maybe we should call it custard cream?) here in Denmark, thus I have started making it from scratch. And guess what? The World’s Best is even better with the home made pastry cream! I will be honest here, and tell you that this is one of the steps that can go wrong. It might curdle, but it can be saved by adding a tablespoon whipping cream and whip it real hard until it’s a smooth cream.
You might be well advised to make the pastry cream the day before you need it in your cake, so it can sit in the fridge overnight.
Pastry Cream Ingredients and method:
- 500 ml cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 25 g cornstarch
- 125 g sugar
- 4 egg yolks (refrigerate the whites for later use)
Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and put both the bean and the seeds in a pot together with the cream. Bring to the boil and remove pot from the heat and remove the two halves of vanilla bean.
Put the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and quickly whisk to combine it.
Pour the hot vanilla cream little by little in the egg mixture while you whisk. Pour it all back into the pot.
Heat again, stirring constantly, but do not let the mixture boil or it may curdle. The pastry cream thickens as it gets warmer.
When the cream has thickened, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. Stir occasionally. When room temperature has been reached, put the cream in the fridge overnight. Cover with cling film so you don’t get skin on it.
Now that we have the pastry cream out of the way, let’s look into the cake. Start by setting your oven at 175 ° C.
Sponge, ingredients and method:
150 g butter
- 125 g sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 egg yolks (save whites)
- 5 tablespoons milk
Whisk butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, egg yolks and milk and stir to combine.
Cover roasting pan with parchment paper and spread the dough over. This is easier if you get help to keep the parchment paper in place. It’s sticky and needs to be smeared evenly and thinly on the parchment paper. It is going to look totally weird, but fear not – the sponge is supposed to be real thin.
Meringue, ingredients and method
5 egg whites
- 180 g sugar
- 100 g chopped almonds
Whisk the egg whites until half stiff. Add sugar in a thin stream while you whisk until stiff and glossy.
Spread the meringue over the sponge, and sprinkle on the almonds.
Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes. Leave it on the tray while it cools.
Pastry cream filling, ingredients and method:
- The pastry cream that you made yesterday
- 200 ml double cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
Whip the cream and vanilla sugar in a bowl until stiff. Add the pastry cream and gently combine. Refrigerate for an hour or two before putting it on the cake. If you skip this step the filling may be too runny.
If you chose to go with the store bought pastry cream, then you’ll need aprox 500 ml.
Now you have all the parts all ready, all that remains now is to assemble the cake.
Cut the cake into two equal portions and place one portion on a cake platter, meringue side up.
Spread the filling over the meringue with a spatula, and then gently place the other half of the cake on top, also with the meringue side up. (You now should have a rectangular cake with these layers from the bottom up; sponge, meringue, cream filling, sponge, meringue.)