Unlike the "Lísu brúnterta" recipe that I once posted, this one gets its colour not from cocoa powder, but from syrup or brown sugar and spices. I am posting two recipes, one today with syrup and one tomorrow with brown sugar, as some people may not have access to golden syrup.
My grandmother makes these year round, but this Christmas season I discovered that for two of my friends, this cake is closely linked with Christmas from them.
Here is the syrup version:
1 kg flour
500 g white sugar
5 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cloves
5 tsp ground cinnamon
900 g butter or margarine
500 g golden syrup (Lyle's is the brand most Icelanders use)
450 g butter, softened
600 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla essence
Rhubarb jam or stewed prunes
- Mix together all the dry ingredients on a clean, dry table and crumble the cold butter/margarine into it until well mixed. (Use your hands to squish it in, or use a pastry cutter).
- Make a mound of the mixture and make a hole in the centre. Add the eggs and syrup and knead until well mixed. (This does not need as much kneading as bread, only just enough to get everything well mixed).
- Divide the dough into four parts. Dust each with flour and roll out onto well greased cookie sheets. Each portion should just about fill one cookie sheet.
- Bake at 180°C/350°F (convection oven, so adjust temperature for regular oven) until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and remove the cake layers immediately from the cookie sheets and lay onto baking paper that has been sprinkled with sugar. Cool completely before going to the next step.
- Layer the buttercream evenly onto all but one cake layer and assemble the cake. Some prefer to spread a thin layer of jam on top of each layer of buttercream, while others will make two buttercream layers and one jam layer, and others will skip the jam entirely.
To make the buttercream:
Whip the butter and icing sugar together until light and well mixed. Add the egg yolks and vanilla essence and mix well.
Once the cake is assembled, it is best to wrap it in a slightly damp cloth (very slightly damp - wring it as well as possible) and pack it tightly in a plastic bag and leave it overnight to soften so it will not crumble as much when cut. To serve, trim the edges of the large cake and cut into smaller, rectangular pieces, then slice them, or leave each piece whole and let people serve themselves.