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Bake and Cake

In my short post on Norwegian food, I showed a photo of a tall cake consisting of circular almond cake/cookies, or kransekake. It is popular for family gatherings, weddings, baptisms, and holidays, and tastes delicious! It is a good example of the importance of baking and cakes in Norwegian cuisine.

In Norway, we use the word bake both about baking (with yeast) and making cakes (with baking powder.) Baked goods are an important part of life and bread is definitely a main staple - the typical breakfast is two pieces of bread (with cheese or jam or some sliced meat) and the typical lunch is (but this is changing) three pieces of bread, once again with cheese, ham, or something else that packs well. I have known a lot of exchange students and their main complaint about food in Norway is the never ending bread! Growing up, I usually had three bread meals a day - breakfast, lunch, and an evening meal. (We ate dinner around 4pm so by 8pm I needed some food!) I will say, though, that we have good bread. Fresh bread in lots of varieties, many of them with tasty whole grains. Interestingly enough we have little of the rye bread or pumpernickel that the Danes and German seem to favor.

brod.jpg

As you probably know, most Europeans will complain about US bread. I almost refuse to eat sliced bread out of a plastic bag - only in emergencies! It doesn't matter if it has 12 grains, I can't stand the texture and there has to be weird additives in a bread that can stay "fresh" for that long.

Most Norwegians know how to make bread, and it is common to bake your own. We also like to bake cinnamon rolls and other yeast bread delicacies. The smell of bread baking, whether sweet or savory, is one of my favorites! I think I talked about my Home Ec class last year, and one of the best things I learned was to make bread. My mom also taught me and I feel very comfortable working with yeast. I really feel that kneading bread connects me to the generations of women before me!

kanelboller.jpg

Norwegians also like to make cakes. We also often invite people over for just coffee and cake, or "coffee party." There is usually more than one cake present. For larger parties, it is common that family members or others bring a cake to the big "cake table." In a wedding, there can easily be 20 cakes. There are some standard ones, like cream cake and chocolate cake, and other that vary with the times, like frozen custard style cakes or cakes topped with chocolate mousse. Mmmm...

Cream cake with marzipan top all decorated for independence day:
blotkake.jpg

I was never a big cake eater growing up, but there seems to be a lot of feelings attached to cakes - "If you don't eat my cake you don't love me." I think this sentiment about food exists in many cultures but in Norway it seems to be extra strong when it comes to cakes.

The typical birthday cake: Chocolate cake with jelly men and jelly women!
sjokoladekake2.jpg

Comments (11)

nancyhol:

Oh yum! All of those baked goods look delicious! And yesterday's photo of the stacked almond cake was gorgeous!

I am really enjoying your Norway series.

Yummy!
I love cakes too, and these look mouth-watering.
Very impressive you can bake bread. I've never tried by myself, I helped my mom often, but never been brave enough to do it all by myself.

Kim:

Now I'm hungry and want some coffee. So do we get any recipes?

Interesting post! I don't eat grocery store bread either - it's nasty stuff. Love those little jelly people on the side of that last cake!

Marcia:

I love those men and women circling the birthday cake!

Kim, that is a good idea, I will post some this weekend.

Eden:

Love this carb-loaded post. Now, I am hungry for really bad-for-me carbs! :)

Thanks for your comments, everbody!

Candi, bread is not that hard - you should try it!

Eden, I believe that bread is good for you! Mix some whole grains in there and it is all good. And white bread is fine too, in moderation. (I figure if I say it with authority it must be true!)

This post is making me hungry too! Might need to go bake something. You are so lucky you didn't grow up on Wonder Bread! I shudder to think about all of those slices of white spongy bread I have ingested over the years of my childhood. The only good thing about Wonder Bread was the bags that helped keep the water out of my boots in the winter (we wore them under our boots).

sandrac:

Those cakes look so beautiful, as does the bread. And the dancing jelly people are fabulous!

After my recent diaster with breadmaking (I think I'll blame the yeast) I'm all set to try it again. I do love fresh bread!

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