Author Notes: Who can say no to a 15 inch cake which is baked with meringue on top, and then sliced in two longwise, with the first layer placed with the meringue at the bottom, then filled with jam (i like apricot) and whipped cream, and topped with the other layer with the meringue on top? This is my version of Norway's National cake/dessert which is called Kvæfjord Cake. According to information online, it is so good that it is often called "Verdens Beste," which means "World's Best." Mind you, I am not from Norway; I am from the Caribbean. D) But I love making new desserts/cakes from other countries, so this is how I came across this recipe. The various recipes online for the cake include butter, but since this is a dessert that needs to be refrigerated, I decided to use instead my very own sponge cake recipe which is made with oil. Cakes made with oil instead of butter tend to be softer, and remain so even if eaten straight from the fridge. I make this dessert oftentimes, and everyone thinks that it not only looks spectacular but also tastes DELICIOUS. So here is my very own version which I like to call Regine' s Version of World's Best Cake." - Regine
Sponge Cake - First Layer
- 14 tablespoons sugar (equivalent to 1 cup minus 2 tbsp)
- 7 tablespoons regular or evaporated milk
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (equivalent to 1/4 cup)
- 4 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1/2+ cup jam (favorite for me is apricot)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons Jell-O Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, Vanilla or French Vanilla (the powder, not the already made pudding)
- Optional - 2 c Strawberries, sliced
Meringue - Second Layer
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional 1/3 cups sliced almonds
- CAKE: Preheat to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on 15 inch baking sheet and grease parchment paper. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and 2 tbsp of the French Vanilla pudding mix. In a small bowl add the milk, 2 tsp vanilla, and oil. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar (not the confectioner's sugar) to combine. Use an electric mixer at high speed for 10-15 minutes or until mixture falls in thick ribbons when beaters are lifted. When the whip is raised, the mixture should fall into the bowl and form a slowly dissolving ribbon. Add the vanilla toward the end of whipping. It is imperative the egg and sugar be about 3 times the size and light and fluffy as it contributes to the lightness of the cake. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture. Another secret behind the lightness of this cake is to be patient and methodical; fold by turning the bowl clockwise to 15 minutes each after each fold. It may take 30+ turns. Pour the milk/oil/butter mixture down the side of the mixing bowl. (It will sink to the bottom of the bowl under the batter.) Gently fold using the same technique explained earlier, until the milk mixture is well incorporated. Pour batter into baking sheet. Then set aside and do the meringue. You may have to wash the bowl and whip for the meringue unless you have another set.
- MERINGUE: In a large bowl whisk egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar, in three or four parts, and vanilla, and continue to whisk until the whites have turned a stiff meringue. Spread meringue mixture over the raw cake batter, then sprinkle the almonds on top (optional). Avoid spreading meringue too close to the edges of the cake since the meringue will puff up and you want to avoid it overflowing on the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool for 30 to 60 minutes.
- FILLING: Whip cream for 30 seconds or so then add the 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar, the remaining 4 tbsp pudding mix and the remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla. Continue to whip until cream forms soft peaks. What I like with this filling is that 1) it can stay outside for a long time without weeping or breaking down and 2) it is only very slightly sweet which pairs nicely with the sweet meringue and the jam. You can also by the way use this recipe to frost a cake. Up to you if you want to increase the 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar to 4 or more tbsp.
- ASSEMBLY: Cut cake longwise. Carefully put on layer meringue face down on large platter, then spread the 1/2 cup (or more if needed) jam, and then the whipped cream. Place the second layer on top, meringue facing outside. If desired, place sliced strawberries around the cake.