I am inspired by the stories and traditions passed down from generation to generation. Norwegian cooking at its simplest and most elaborate. That’s what you will find here. Seasonal cooking, local ingredients, local artisans, and simple gatherings.  READ MORE...

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May 2018

May 2, 2018

Kvæfjordkake: The World’s Best Cake (Verdens Beste)

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Kvæfjordkake - The World's Best Cake (Verdens Beste)Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Sponge cake baked with meringue and almonds becomes the centerpiece of this delightful layer cake filled with custard and whipped cream. Kvæfjordkake began its inception in the north of Norway and has earned it’s nickname as verdens beste, “the world’s best”.

On the island of Hinnøya in the town of Harstad, along the main street, once stood Café Alliance regarded as the finest cafe in town. It opened in the 1920s by Hulda Ottestad and her sister who were from the neighboring area of  Kvæfjord. Known as one of northern Norway’s cafe pioneers, Hulda expanded her cake offerings by purchasing two recipes from a Danish pastry chef in the 1930s for the high price of 200 kroners. One of these recipes was kongekake “king cake”. It contained an excessive amount of almonds and since almonds were quite expensive at the time, Hulda modified the recipe to contain less.

Over time, the cake became widespread in Harstad and Kvæfjord, and eventually took on the name Kvæfjordkake because of the association of where Hulda was from. The recipe was passed from hand to hand, meaning the exact recipe that Hulda used in her cafe remains somewhat of a mystery. But today, the agreed consensus is that the cake and meringue layers should contain either vanilla custard or rum custard and it is up to the baker whether to mix the custard of choice with whipped cream or not.

Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake") Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake") Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")It’s popularity went from a regional delicacy to a nationwide favorite around the 1970s, when Brita Edland, better known as Mor Hubro, wrote several articles about kvæfjordkake in the publication Norsk Ukeblad (Norwegian Weekly Magazine). It was known by other names as well; marengsterte, drømmen, kongekake and pinocchiokake. Though kvæfjordkake and verdens beste are the titles most used today.

In 2002, an NRK radio show called Nitimen named Kvæfjordkake Norway’s national cake after it’s listeners voted 69% in favor of it over the other choices. Ola Bremnes, a Norwegian author and muscian, immortilazed the cake in his song aptly tiled “Hymne til Kvæfjordkaka”.

“Ho ligg der og byr sæ så nydelig frem
– fin og fager.
En hit av de store som alltid gå hjem
– ja, en slager!
Øverst på lista i årevis
ho skulle hatt sæ en egen pris!
Kvæfjordkaka, go som gull
Går det an å ta munn førr full?
Kem kan avspise ho med et nei?
La det lyne i spade og skei!
Best uta alt det de baka:
Kvæfjordkaka tar kaka!
Med ei slags dyne av krem og marengs
strødd med mandla
send ho fornuften direkte til sengs,
vi blir forvandla.
Verden blir mjukar en stakket stund
under en himmel av kakebunn.
I barsel og bryllup og konfirmasjon
– tel kaffekoppen,
etter begravelse og kremasjon
ho er toppen.
Ho er som bygda ho sogne te:
Verdens beste og vel så det….!” – Ola Bremnes

Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Norway's Kvæfjordkake (Verdens Beste "The World's Best Cake")Kvæfjordkake is luxurious and dreamy and has earned its title of the world’s best cake in the eyes of most Norwegians and those who have had the pleasure of eating it. It’s reserved for celebrations – weddings, baptisms, confirmations, anniversaries, birthdays, and high holidays – and rightly so. This is not a difficult cake to make and you can make it a day in advance to let the flavors come together even more. You can also swap the vanilla in the custard for run essence if you prefer a rum custard.

Kvæfjordkake: World’s Best Cake (Verdens beste)

Serves 12-15

For the cake:

  • ½ cup (112 g) butter
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 ¼ cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

For the meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (50 g) sliced almonds

For the vanilla custard:

  • ¼ cup (55 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
  • ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325°F / 165°C.

In a large stand mixer set to medium or a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, while whisking, and add in the milk. Combine the flour, baking powder, and vanilla sugar in a medium bowl and add this to the mixture, whisking until combined. The batter will be somewhat thick.

Grease a 12 x 16-inch (30/32 x 40 cm) rimmed baking sheet. Cover with a piece of baking parchment, pressing the parchment so it sticks well to the baking sheet. Gently spread the batter evenly and thinly across the baking sheet, as far to the edges as possible, with a rubber spatula while maintaining a rectangular shape. The batter is quite thick and sticky, but it will spread out with a little patience (and because greasing the baking sheet earlier means the parchment paper won’t move around). Also, it may seem like there is not enough batter to make a full cake, but don’t fret because the cake will rise some while baking.

In a clean, large stand mixer set to medium-low or a large mixing bowl whisk together the egg whites until foamy (when making meringue, it is crucial there is no trace of yolk in the whites). Add the sugar a little at a time and continue to whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form. Gently pour the meringue evenly over the batter with a rubber spatula. You can form little peaks throughout the meringue by lifting upwards for a nice design when it is finished baking. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly across the meringue. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the meringue is dry and lightly golden. Remove and set aside to cool.

While the cake is baking, prepare the vanilla custard and whipped cream. Make the custard by whisking together the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and blend until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Place the whole milk in a saucepan and add the vanilla beans by scraping them from the pod and discarding the pod afterwards. Warm the milk just before it begins to boil, without letting it boil. Take it off the heat. Steadily and slowly, add the milk to the bowl with the sugar mixture, whisking constantly to avoid any curdling of the eggs. When you have mixed everything together, pour it back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Over medium heat, cook the mixture until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. 

In a large stand mixer set to medium or a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard.

 When the cake has cooled, lift it out with the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Cut the cake in half. Take one half and peel it from the parchment paper. Gently turn it, taking caution not to break the cake, over on a serving tray so the meringue side is facing downwards. Another trick is to place the serving tray gently on top of the meringue, place one hand under the cake and one hand on top of the tray and then flip over. Spread all of the custard cream over the cake and gently place the remaining half on top, with the meringue side up.

Best to chill for an hour or so before serving, but this is not necessary. Serve with fresh fruits, such as strawberries. Keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 to 4 days.

 Like most cream cakes, kvæfjordkake gets better the longer it sits, giving the cake time to soak up the custard cream. This is another reason for having the meringue side on the bottom and top, so the sponge cake is sandwiched between the custard cream.



Nevada Berg

Nevada is a utah native and norwegian by heart. When not crafting culinary delights she enjoys her family time and tending to her animals. You most certainly can find her perusing her property for wild berries.

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  1. Analida Braeger says:

    Your cake looks amazing. I definitely need to make this, and soon. Perfect for any occasion. I think my family will love it.

  2. Drooling over the pictures! You’re so right: luxurious and dreamy! An amazing dessert. I (Mirella) am a HUGE fan of meringue, so it goes without saying that we’ll be trying your recipe soon lol:) The only problem is, we are supposed to be trying to lose some of the winter’s weight (and failing miserably lol). Fantastic work dear Nevada, totally giving this a try!

    • nevada says:

      Thanks Mirella! I understand what you mean about trying to limit the sugar intake – but once in awhile is OK 😉 I hope you enjoy this!

  3. Maria says:


    A todos interessados, ao pensamento de uma mulher brasileira; o melhor da vida è poder fazer tudo que se tem vontade e uma delas è saborear deliciosas iguarias, como estas aqui postadas,mas contudo a vaidade a saûde e a balança, não nos permite, assim sendo vamos manter o equilibrio, e comer um pouquinho por vez, e via de regra abusar da gula, porque não? …JÁ. que Sò se vive uma vez…

  4. Lindsey Delvecchio says:

    I had SO much fun making this cake and it was delicious! Coming with me for every holiday going forward!

  5. Jodi says:

    I had this cake while in Oslo. It was delicious!!

  6. Christina says:

    I love this one and this is the best cake of Norway. Please put this one in your future books!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Question… does the meringue get soft in the fridge? I was thinking about making this for mother’s day but wasn’t sure if it was best to make & assemble the day before or to assemble the day of…

    I make pavlova and those recipes always say to keep the meringue out of the fridge…

    • nevada says:

      Hi Lindsay. This cake is even better the day after it rests in the fridge, unlike a pavlova. It should last 3-4 days. So, feel free to assemble the day before 🙂

  8. […] not to bake or at least indulge in the dessert conversation. There are traditional cakes, like kvæfjordkake, bløtkake, marzipan cake, kransekake. There are also newer favorites such as pavlova and brownies. […]

  9. Erica montressor says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled on your site! I have a Norwegian exchange student this year and we’ve been trying out recipes. Much easier to do the recipes when they’re already in English and the standard units of measurements. I’ll be back for more recipes!

  10. Marion Julius says:

    Hi Nevada,
    Your recipes look incredible and I would love to try them, however, I can’t seem to print them up. When I tried the picture of you covers the instructions. When I tried printing the seed bread recipe not even the ingredients show. Am I doing something wrong? Thank you for such beautiful food.

    • nevada says:

      Hi Marion. I currently do not have a print button on the site for the recipes, so I suggest copying and pasting them into a Word document to print. I’ll look into seeing how to make this easier in the future 🙂

  11. Marit says:

    Plan to make this for 17.mai .
    Have a problem printing out the recipe – your name and bio covers part of the instructions.
    Also wanted to let you now that the original More Hubro was Elise Sverdrup who lived in Kongsberg. She and her husband had a book store and she was there often.

    • nevada says:

      Hei Marit! I think the easiest way to print the recipe is to copy and paste it over to a Word document. I’m afraid I do not currently have a print button available for the recipes, but will look into a better solution for this. Also, you are absolutely correct about Elise Sverdrup being the original Mor Hubro. Brita Edland took over being Mor Hubro in, I believe, 1969. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the recipe!

  12. Jay says:

    My wife doesn’t like cake (actually the icing) but I think we may have a winner here!

    RE the print problem, try selecting just the ingredients and instructions then in the print dialog choose Print Selection.

  13. Gaby says:

    I put on a fancy dress and baked this for my birthday. It was excellent except that the custard was too runny but it may be because i used almond milk instead of whole milk. Planning to make it again using rum in the custard and espresso powder in the merengue. I enjoyed it best immediately when the merengue was still crisp but it was still tasty a few days later.

  14. Carmine Indindoli says:

    Dear Nevada, I always enjoy a recipe that comes with a delightful story, sharing the history of the “cake”. I teach grape growing to many local home wine makers. My talks include much of the background history of grape growing in California and other great grape growing areas I the world. The room is always overfilled. Much like your recipe and it’s background the cake begs to be baked and enjoyed. My warmest regards and thanks
    Carmine indindoli, Sonoma County CA

    • nevada says:

      Hi Carmine. Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m grateful you share in my love for story-telling. Food is so much more than what’s on the plate 🙂

  15. Howard says:

    Well, I made this Christmas Eve to serve Christmas Day. Disclaimer: This is the first cake, I have ever made from scratch. Wife couldn’t believe it. My only issue is that the cake wasn’t done after 25 minutes but I thought the meringue was. Still having for dessert Christmas Day.

    • nevada says:

      Congratulations on your first cake from scratch! 🙂 A couple more minutes in the oven should help next time (cooking time can vary with different ovens and geographical locations).

  16. Linda says:

    Wow! This came together like a breeze!! Even lifting the second half over the first was miraculous! If I were to change anything,next time,I would reduce the amount of whipping cream by half. I hade way too much and it created a much thinner custard than I would prefer. I have not taken a full bite of the total creation, but in licking all the spoons, I know we are all going to love it! Thank you for the recipe!

  17. Krys says:

    Made this for Easter 2022. It looks delicious. I don’t have fresh fruit but have some wild blueberries in the freezer. I will have a dish on the table so each can add blueberries or not.
    Thanks for this recipe. I added lemon zest and almond extract to the cake, some fresh lemon juice.

  18. Edward Antony says:

    I inspired on your world special cake I read your preparation method. When I read your preparation imaginary comes on mind it’s really delicious on sight
    Even though my father is a professional baker I got some knowledge from while he makes the baking stuffs I really appreciate your valuable idea.

    Best regards

  19. Angela says:

    could you use gluten free flour?

    • nevada says:

      Hi! I haven’t tried it before, but I’m sure it would work well if you use a 1:1 gf. Let me know how it goes 🙂

      • Emy says:

        I found this receipe recently , I got all ingredients and ready to make it….I’m very exited what my family reaction would be. I really like this, thank you so much for your beautiful receipe. 😍

        • Lynn says:

          I made this cake with 1:1gf flour and it worked beautifully. I filled it with a lime curd. It was so good, and better the next day even. Making another next weekend and filling it with pudding for ease. Would this work?

          • nevada says:

            That’s wonderful to hear! Pudding would work, but make sure it’s thick like custard so it doesn’t run off the cake.

  20. Arthur Garry King says:

    I’ll add a few drops of almond extract to the custard mixture, as well as the vanilla.

  21. Arthur Garry King says:

    I’ll add a few drops of almond extract to the custard mixture, as well as the vanilla. I even have some Setesdal butter left in the frezzer!

  22. Arthur Garry King says:

    Ordered your Norwegian baking book, and the cookbook, too! Am I right in guessing the Kværfjordkake , is in the baking book? And I’m hoping there’s instructions for salting lamb for Lapskaus!

    • nevada says:

      Thanks, Arthur! I hope you enjoy them both very much. And yes, this recipe is definitely in the baking cookbook! I also give instructions on salting lamb for fenalår and pinnekjøtt in the first cookbook. 🙂

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