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Icelandic Cream Cake

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Icelandic Cream Cake

Rjómaterta/Icelandic Cream Cake

Photo: Einar Rafnsson/Screenshot from RÚV.

Q:

My family spent a couple of years in beautiful Iceland in the mid-seventies, we frequently visited downtown Reykjavik and a high point of the visit was the cream cake we had in a cafe. It was awesome, I even had one made for my wife’s birthday. However I cannot even find a picture of that kind of cake. It wasn’t ice cream, it was at least four layers and usually had a small amount of fruit as decoration. What is it called and is it possible to get a recipe?

George Coon, United States.

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A:

Hi George,

After an office-wide discussion on Icelandic desserts which made several of us quite hungry, we are fairly confident the cake you enjoyed is rjómaterta (en. cream cake). Rjómaterta is a fairly simple white sponge cake made with, you guessed it, generous amounts of whipped cream. The cake is filled and topped with canned fruit and the cake layers are moistened with the fruit juice from the can. Cream cake was originally made for special occasions and reached peak popularity in the ’70s. It has since fallen out of fashion as fresh fruit has become more available in Iceland.

Below is a recipe from a Facebook page dedicated to Icelandic cooking. You can watch the expert bakers at Reykjavík cake shop 17 Sortir put one together here.

Rjómaterta / Classic Icelandic Cream Cake

Layers:

4 eggs
4 dl icing sugar
1 dl flour
1 dl potato flour
1 tsp baking powder
vanilla extract

Filling and topping:

750 ml heavy cream
small can of cocktail fruits

Mix eggs and sugar together until light and pale. Sift the dry ingredients into the mixture together with the vanilla and mix carefully with a wooden spoon. Put into two greased springform pans and bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

When the layers are cool drip the juice from the can on top and wait until it has absorbed. Whisk 250 ml of cream, mix it with the cocktail fruit and put between the layers. Then whisk the rest of the cream and cover the cake, using an icing bag to decorate. You can reserve the cherries from the fruit mix to decorate the top of the cake. The cake is best enjoyed after cooling in the fridge, preferably overnight.