Molly’s mermaid kransekage

I can still remember the excitement of choosing my next birthday cake when I was little. My mum was – and still is! – an amazing baker, and she would always make it her mission to turn my vision into a reality, no matter how ambitious. So when my nearly-six-year-old saw Nadiya fill her version of a kransekake with sweets on her latest series, I couldn’t say no!

My daughter has always liked the idea of cake more than the reality of eating it, but biscuits are another matter. She’s also inherited my love of all things almond flavoured, so the Scandinavian kransekage (Danish) or kransekake (Norwegian) is the perfect alternative to a British birthday cake.

Traditionally, the tower of biscuit rings is decorated with plain white icing, but I decided to go rogue and turn it into a mermaid tail (apologies to any Scandi readers, though perhaps Hans Christian Andersen would have approved?!). Her party – if this wasn’t 2020, the year of no fun – would have been mermaid-themed, and it gave me the chance to add a touch of magic. We’d made the rings together the day before her birthday, using Paul Hollywood’s basic recipe. It’s a very achieveable project for children, as it’s basically the same as rolling playdough into sausages. I don’t have the traditional tins, so instead I drew circles as a guide onto greaseproof paper, starting at 6 cm diameter and increasing by 1 cm each time until we ran out of dough.

After she went to bed, I spray painted the rings with blue and green edible lustre and piped on purple royal icing ‘scales’. The tail is made from white chocolate coloured with purple cocoa butter colouring and scattered with colourful sprinkles. Once everything had set, I stacked it dry (without any icing cement), so that it would be easy to take apart and package up as gifts. As birthday cakes go, it’s a very postable format, which is handy this year.

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