First published in 2018
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Roald Dahl was born on 13th September 1916 and there is no better way to mark the birthday of a man who has brought joy to generations of children than with cake.

You might imagine that Roald Dahl, inventor of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, would deserve, at the very least, the stickiest, richest and most indulgent chocolate cake you could ever imagine. He may have been a man who, had he been a headmaster, “would get rid of the history teacher and get a chocolate teacher instead” but in Dahl’s world, not all chocolate was created equal.

He would happily demolish KitKats, Aeros and Crunchies and adored chocolate truffles and slabs of plain chocolate, but he turned his nose up at most chocolate-flavoured foods. In Dahl’s mind, chocolate ice cream wasn’t a patch on Norwegian Krokan and, as for chocolate cake… well, you can leave that for Bruce Bogtrotter.

So what cake would Roald Dahl have chosen to celebrate this auspicious occasion?

Roald Dahl was born in Norway to Norwegian parents and, despite growing up and residing in Britain for nearly all of his life, he felt a great connectedness with his Norwegian heritage. It seems only fitting to choose Norway’s National Cake since 2002: the Kvæfjordkake.

Kvæfjordkake is also commonly referred to as “verdens beste kake” or “world’s best cake.” It’s quite a claim, but not without some justification. A light sponge is topped with meringue and strewn with almonds before baking, then cut in half and filled generously with crème diplomat (sometimes called crème légère), which is essentially crème pâtissière lightened with whipped cream. Cake, meringue and custard all in one pudding. I think the Norwegians are on to something and I’m sure Roald Dahl would have agreed.




Kvæfjordkake batter

  • 150g of butter
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp of whole milk
  • 1 pinch of salt




Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a roulade tin with baking parchment
To make the batter, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg yolks, whisking between each addition to combine, followed by the milk. Stir in the vanilla and sift over the dry ingredients before folding in. Spread the cake batter evenly in the roulade tin
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, but not dry. Gradually, a spoonful at a time, whisk in the sugar until you have a thick, glossy meringue
Spread the meringue over the top of the cake batter and scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until a carefully inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin on top of a wire rack
In the meantime, make the filling. Put the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and cornflour in a heatproof bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy. In the meantime, heat the milk in a saucepan until it just comes to the boil
Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture and whisk together before transferring the mixture back to the pan. Stir continuously over a gentle heat for a minute or two, before increasing the heat and bringing to the boil
Keep stirring the bubbling mixture until the crème pâtissière has thickened. Take the pan off the heat and vigorously whisk in the butter until it has melted. Transfer to a jug and cover in cling film to prevent a skin forming. Once cool, transfer to the fridge
Whip the cream, add the cold crème pâtissière and whisk to combine. You can transfer the filling into a piping bag if you wish
Cut the cake in half and lift one piece onto a serving plate. Pipe or spread the filling generously over before layering the second piece of cake on top
Dust with icing sugar and transfer to the fridge until ready to serve
First published in 2018
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