A name can give away a lot. A name with a bold statement also has a lot to live up to. This is one cake, and I think you will agree, which lives up to its name and puts all its cards on the table. In every way, this cake is a golden success.
It’s no wonder suksessterte (suksesskake, gulkake) has won the hearts of many. It’s a rich and delicate cake, with a bright hue of yellow. While used year-round for celebrations (confirmations, birthdays and the like), it has, over the years, found a special place during påske/Easter. The bright, golden color and the eggs make it particularly suitable for this time of year. Even nature tends to nod in agreement with the first bulbs of spring sprouting yellow.
Not to mention it’s gluten-free, with a macaron bottom that proves to be irresistible. The simple custard whipped together with a generous amount of butter doesn’t hurt either.
There are a few stories relating to where this cake originated from, or perhaps more accurately, evolved out of. The majority tend to trace its Norwegian roots back to eastern Finnmark, particularly to Vardø and Vadsø. Suksessterte is one of several cakes that are typical of this area. The trade routes along the coast contributed greatly to the large selection and specialities, and many of the baked goods originated out of France and Austria. Suksesskake was most likely introduced (in some form or another) by the foreign bakers and/or recipes, which made their way to this area.
There’s not a whole lot of variation of this cake across Norway, other than perhaps the addition of chocolate and the type of nut used for the bottom. I prefer a splatter of dark chocolate on top, which helps cut through the richness and add a nice texture against the cream. This cake is really simple to make and freezes well – so there really is no excuse not to make this. It’s a win-win all around.
Norwegian Success Tart (Suksessterte)
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup (200 g) powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups (200 g) almonds (and/or hazelnuts or nuts of your choice)
- 5 egg yolks
- 4/5 cup (2 dl) heavy cream
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (150 g) butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 bar of dark chocolate
In a food processor, grind the almonds. I like to mine to be a little course, which provides a better texture.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl, reserving the yolks for later use. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the powdered sugar and the ground almonds into the stiffened egg whites.
Grease a 9in/24cm springform cake pan (you can also line the bottom with parchment paper) and pour in the batter. Bake at 350°F/180°C for 25-30 minutes. Let it cool completely in the pan before trying to remove it, otherwise the cake might not pull away from the sides as easily.
Make the cream by placing the reserved egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a low boil. Allow the mixture to simmer on low until it thickens. Some will suggest that you take the cream off before it begins to boil to prevent the eggs from curdling, but then you will most likely end up with a runny cream. I recommend letting it simmer until it thickens up. Stirring constantly and allowing the cream to heat up slowly should help prevent the yolks from curdling (but if a little curdling happens, don’t worry!).
Once the cream thickens, take it off the heat and allow it to cool completely.
In a large bowl, add the softened butter and whisk until smooth – this is where an electric whisk comes in handy. Add the cooled cream and whisk together for a minute or so, until well blended and a bit fluffy.
Once the almond bottom has completely cooled, take it out of the springform pan and place it on a serving plate. Top with the cooled cream.
Melt the dark chocolate by placing it in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cake with a large spoon or spatula. You can dive in right now, or place in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.
You can also freeze this cake and serve later on!
Get inspired with these other spring recipes!