We get heaps of emails asking us about Icelandic wedding traditions and outside of having an Iceland Ásatru ceremony, the other most frequently asked tradition question is a customary Iceland wedding cake? Firstly, it’s called a kransakaka. Secondly, it’s a cake that is not only served at weddings, but any celebratory events in Iceland. Thirdly, what does it look like, taste like, and what is the tradition that goes along with it? Well lucky you… You get all of the details today!
Roots of a Traditional Iceland Wedding Cake:
A wedding cake in Iceland is typically referred to as a Kransakaka dessert, but the origins began before it actually came to Iceland. The cake style has Danish and Norwegian roots, as a fancy dessert that was once served to aristocrats. As the recipe spread to Faroe Islands and throughout Iceland, the Kransakaka became a popular Nordic cake used for various types of celebrations. This included its use as the traditional Iceland wedding cake.
Kransakaka: Ring Cake
So what exactly is a Kransakaka cake? Good question! Well, it directly translates to as “ring cake” to start. But it is an elaborately decorated ring shaped tiered tower cake (sometimes also in shape of a heart). The texture is very similar to a mix of a firm sponge cake to a biscotti but has a bit of a wet texture. And the underlying taste of almond flavor.
The ingredients are super simple… eggs, marzipan (an almond and honey mix), and powdered sugar. That’s all! So gluten-free folks rejoice! Also, if needed it can also be made as “vegan” too! Bakers will usually decorate the outside of the Iceland wedding cake with intricate icing designs, chocolate, and sometimes fruit.
The Icelandic bakeries (bakarí) can make small versions for 2 people for Iceland elopements, and ones suited for small and large Iceland weddings (think 100+ folks). They will usually charge a per person price just as North American bakeries do. As far as timing to order, you’ll want to order an Iceland wedding cake at least 1-3 months in advance to ensure the Iceland bakery has your wedding reception day and time on their schedule.
If you’re looking to add a traditional Icelandic wedding element this would be a fantastic one to incorporate while planning your Iceland wedding or elopement. There is a fun tradition that comes along with the cake too… The bride and groom begin by breaking the cake (viking style with your hands). Then each of the Iceland wedding guests to come up one by one, break off a piece (since it’s a ring cake) with their hands, say a wish to the bride and groom, and then delight in eating the cake.
If you want to stay with the adventure theme, have your guests challenge you to an adventure to take together! …or go with the true Icelandic tradition of each piece leftover after guests break, represents how may children you will have. You choose!
If this is not something of interest to you, there are other alternatives to the traditional Kransakaka Iceland wedding cake. You could consider some of the other local dessert fare such as Icelandic Skyr Cake or a delicious chocolate lava cake with homemade ice cream. As a side note, many restaurants and bakeries in Iceland do embrace North American wedding traditions and are able to provide a typical wedding cake. Make sure you are equipped with photos of exactly what you are looking for.
Whatever your heart’s desire, chances are the fabulous wedding vendors in Iceland can make it happen for you for your epic wedding day in Iceland! Please feel free to contact us for more information on planning and photographing your Iceland wedding day adventure.
With a smile,
Ann Peters & Team (Iceland Wedding Photographers & Planners)
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