Here we are! Another Monday has rolled around, and it’s time for the first installment of International Eats! Street Food Monday was so much fun, butI kind of wanted to expand on the theme to include all kinds of food from around the world. There will be plenty of street food thrown in though, because let’s face it, street food is great.
I feel like this Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake is an auspicious place for us to start! One, because I want this to be a beautiful relationship and two, because it means we’re starting at the top of the world.
Iceland mania is crazy at the moment, right? It seems like the hipster destination du jour. But who can blame those rascally hipsters for wanting to visit such an unrelentingly magical place. From what I’ve seen it’s impossible to take a bad instagram there.
Jokes aside, this country is ridiculously beautiful and speaks to me on a number of levels. They banned strip clubs in support of women’s rights. One in every ten Icelandic people are published authors, and every year they have the ‘jólabókaflóð’ – the Christmas book flood, when hundreds of new books are published. It’s cold, the landscape is breathtaking, and by all reports the food is pretty great.
And now that I’ve tried this Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake, I have to agree. I first read about this cake in Jeni Britton Bauer’s second cookbook Jenis Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, wherein Jeni re-imagined the cake as an ice-cream flavour. After a little more research into this beauty I had to try the real deal for myself.
It’s an incredibly simple cake; a buttery oat crust filled with rhubarb jam. My version flavours the crust with a little of that favourite Nordic spice, cardamom, and because I can’t buy rhubarb jam here in Brisbane, I made my own filling with strawberry jam, fresh rhubarb and orange.
I made the crust in a food processor, first using it to grind down the oats, and then mixing in the flour, sugar, butter, spice and finally an egg. If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily do this by hand or in a mixer, just use ‘quick cooking’ oats, as opposed to whole rolled oats. The quick cooking variety are already ground down a little.
The crust will come together in a thick batter. Because it was so hot on the day that I made this, I used a spatula to press and form the crust into my tin. On a cold day, I would just use my hands. Make sure to spread it evenly over the base of your tin, with a bit of a lip around the edge to contain the filling.
The filling comes together super simply, just a healthy scoop of jam, the juice of an orange and plenty of chopped rhubarb simmered on the stove until a jammy compote forms.
The filling is utterly delicious on it’s own, I might add, and has endless uses in the kitchen. You could put it in ice cream, fill a sponge cake with it, serve it on toast or scones or crumpets, swirl it through a cheesecake, or have it with yoghurt and muesli for breakfast! Oh man, I love rhubarb. Who’s with me?
Once the cake is filled, just dollop over the remaining crust and bake for about half an hour in a medium oven. The smell of this is absolutely gorgeous, and would make even the coldest of Icelandic kitchens feel cosy and inviting (though they seem that way to me anyway).
The aroma wafting through the house definitely clears up why this is called Happy Marriage Cake! It would be extremely hard to stay mad at anyone who served you up a slice of this. Especially in beautiful Iceland!
P.S. If you want to daydream about travelling to Iceland, Ashlae from Oh Ladycakes has written an amazing post about it, and I’ve stared at this post from Big Bang Studio about a million times. Oh and what did you think of the first installment of International Eats?
- For the jammy filling:
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 400g)
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- juice of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
- 1 cup (100g) whole rolled oats
- 1 cup (150g) plain flour
- ½ cup (110g) sugar
- 2 sticks (225g) butter
- ½ tsp cardamom
- 1 egg
- First, make the filling. Place the chopped rhubarb, jam, orange juice and 2 tbsp sugar into a small pan and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick, jammy and pulpy - you may need longer if you're using a deep pan. Carefully taste the mixture and add more sugar if you would like it sweeter. I prefer this on the tart side.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- To make the crust, place the oats into a food processor and pulse until ground down to breadcrumb texture, or about a third of the size of a whole oat.
- Add the flour, sugar, butter and spice and pulse until everything is combined. Finally, add the egg and mix until a thick, soft dough forms.
- Grease and line a deep 9 inch (23cm) tart tin or cake pan and dollop in about ¾ of the crust mixture. Use your hands or a spatula to spread the mixture in an even layer over the bottom of the tin, with a lip just over ½ inch (1cm) up the side.
- Spoon in the filling, being careful not to let it overflow the lip you've created. Dot the remaining crust over the top haphazardly, and then place the whole thing in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown. The filling will seem quite liquid, but will set as it cools.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes. Then turn out of the tin and serve with a scoop of frozen yoghurt or ice cream. This is just as great warm for dessert as it is at room temperature or cold next to a cup of tea.