Gingerbread Kransecake

November 27, 2017
9 Ratings
Photo by Ren Fuller
  • Makes enough to serve a crowd (15-20 people) or just be a lovely centerpiece
Author Notes

Kransecake is a towering stack of cookie rings, decorated whimsically with royal icing. Originating from Denmark and Norway, also known as tårnkake (tower cake) and kransekage (wreath cake), this wonder is traditionally made for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, and the winter holidays. Despite it’s impressive appearance, the cookie dough base is incredibly easy to make and work with. (You do need a specific mold, but it's inexpensive and stores totally flat!) You can decorate it however fancy, even simply. The crisp almond cookies are tasty and last a long time, making it a fun make-ahead holiday showstopper (and if you use cornmeal to dust the molds, it’s naturally gluten-free).

Featured In: There's Gingerbread House, and There's Gingerbread Tower. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • 6 2/3 cups (638 g) almond flour
  • 3 cups (340 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 large (175 g) egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • nonstick spray, as needed for prepping molds
  • semolina flour or cornmeal, as needed for prepping molds
  • 1 recipe Royal Icing (
  • silver nonpareils, for decorating (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg to combine. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and almond extract and mix on low speed until the mixture is uniformly combined, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  4. To prepare the molds, lightly grease them with nonstick spray and dust lightly with semolina or cornmeal (be sure to use cornmeal if you want it to be gluten-free).
  5. When the dough has chilled well, preheat the oven to 400° F.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces. Divide each piece into three pieces, but not evenly; you’ll want to get one small, one medium, and one larger piece from each. Don’t worry about making it perfect. You can always “borrow” extra from other pieces later.
  7. Take each piece of dough and roll it out on a clean work surface into a rope about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. You shouldn’t need flour, but if the dough is sticking, dust your surface lightly with semolina or cornmeal.
  8. Place each rope into the prepared mold, following the circle indentations in the mold. Press the dough together firmly where the ends meet to seal. If there’s too much dough, pinch it off and save it to add to another piece if needed. Use the larger ropes for the outer rings on each mold, the medium rope for the middle ring, and the smallest rope for the center.
  9. Repeat until all the dough is used and all the molds are lined. Transfer the molds to the oven (you can place a few together on a baking sheet if you like), and bake until the cookies are lightly golden and feel set, 10-12 minutes.
  10. Let the cookies cool completely in their molds. When they are cool, carefully remove them (it should be very easy).
  11. To assemble the kransekake, place royal icing in a pastry bag with a small circle tip. Pipe a few dots onto a serving platter and place the largest ring on top to adhere it to the platter.
  12. Pipe dots all around the surface of the ring, and place the next largest ring on top. Continue to place dots and rings, working your way up to the smallest ring.
  13. Decorate the kransekake with the remaining royal icing however you like. I like to do a different design/pattern on every ring, but you can also just do simple lines all the way down or on every other piece.
  14. Serve immediately or hold for up to 3 days. The cookies are quite crisp and won’t “stale” much, so this makes for a great make-ahead that can be stored at room temperature, much like gingerbread used for houses.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • krikri
  • Veggielover
  • ChefJune
  • Gseghi
  • Erin Jeanne McDowell
    Erin Jeanne McDowell
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

9 Reviews

lemons December 29, 2018
My daughter moved to Norway many years ago, so I've had this in its native turf on a Christmas visit. She gave me the pans one year, but I hadn't tried it before. Feeling bold, I made this for a large holiday party a group I belong to was holding. Not so handsome as the ones online I've seen, given my lack of talent with piping icing - and a slight list to the tower - but overall still pretty impressive. Herewith, my notes on the procedure:

Let's call the day I made the batter Day 1. Wrapped and refrigerated it. On Day 3, rolled out and made the rings. It's a very forgiving dough and with almost no gluten (there may be some in the powdered sugar), you really can't make it tough with overhandling. After the rings cooled on racks, I put them in plastic bags in single layers; I wasn't sure if they'd stick if I put one atop another. Set them aside at room temp. Clear sunny day and our house here in the Midwest tends to be dry in the winter.

On Day 5, I made the royal icing - I used a version with meringue powder - and did my assembly, with a simple attempt at scallops on each ring. If you're a beginner, I'll add that as soon as I'd piped one ring, I put the next-smallest atop it, so that the icing acted as glue.
In Norway the traditional decoration is tiny Norwegian flags; I found picks meant to go on cupcakes that had snowflakes on them, and used that instead.

On Day 6, it acted as a table decoration. On Day 7, I transported it (carefully!) to the party. The traditional way of eating it is to eat it from the bottom up, tipping the whole thing and pulling the lowest ring off, but I wasn't about to try that - brave enough to offer a new-to-me recipe to a group that included strangers! So I started with the top ring, removing it and pulling it into pieces. The consistency is sort of almond macaroon, a crunchy outside and chewy interior. Norwegians, say my daughter, are quite happy to let it dry out further and dunk it in their omnipresent coffee.

It was a great hit, people loved it. The spices make it different from a traditional kransekake but I think it was part of the charm.
Andrea July 30, 2018
Can anyone give me advise on storing the rings? I want to make it ahead of time and I'm just looking for some advise. Thank you!
Jan November 11, 2018
The kransecake rings are quite hard but can not be exposed to high humidity. In In North Dakota winters the humidity in our homes is very low and we stored kransekake in a box or brown paper bag if large enough. We definitely kept them for more than a month without any stale taste. By the way, serve the kransekake by carefully tipping it enough to split the bottom ring off. When the kransekake is set back down, it looks complete although shorter.
krikri December 10, 2017
Has anyone done this without the mold? Can you channel your inner crafty self and revive skills honed on playdoh or are there pitfalls I'm unaware of?
krikri December 10, 2017
Ok, now I've seen it mentioned in the blog version of this post. Yes, I can!
Veggielover December 7, 2017
So making this!!!! It's a great twist on tradition.
ChefJune December 7, 2017
Wow, Erin - that's a gorgeous dessert/centerpiece!
And congratulations on your book making Melissa Clark's NYTimes list of best baking books! It's a keeper.
Gseghi December 4, 2017
whats the name of the molds you need?
Erin J. December 4, 2017
You can get more details (including a link to the ones I purchased) at: