Growing up, my favourite thing that my mom made at Christmas time was vinatarta – an Icelandic Christmas cake. My mother-in-law has tried to make it for me too, but it’s just not the same (I think it’s because she uses cinnamon instead of cardamon). I have my great-aunt’s recipe, and have often thought of trying to make it myself. This year, with the decision to spend more time at home over Christmas, I thought I should finally be the mom that makes it part of the tradition for my girls!
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
Cream butter and sugar well.
Beat eggs and add to the butter mixture along with the rest of the ingredients.
Refrigerate for one hour or overnight to make dough easier to handle.
Roll dough and use plate to cut circles in dough.
If using a non-stick cookie sheet, you don’t need to grease it, but if it’s not non-stick, make sure you grease. Bake at 375 for approximately 8 minutes or until golden brown. Be very careful when taking them off the sheets as they break very easily. Cool layers.
2 pounds of pitted prunes
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Cover prunes with just enough water to cover.
Cook until tender. Puree in blender or food processor with other ingredients. Cool.
Spread filling between laters of cooked dough circles.
Leave the top layer plain. You should have 5-6 layers. (Note: my great-aunt’s recipe says this should make 3 cakes of 5-6 layers each, but I’m thinking she must use a smaller plate, as I only got one cake out of it. Then again, I also broke 2 layers transferring them from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack. And I ended up with a ton of filling left over…)
Wrap in plastic and then aluminum foil. Leave on counter for at least a day to season. Cake freezes very well (and will actually likely be better if you do freeze it for a couple of weeks). For serving, cut cake in slices and then each slice into 3 to showcase layers.
I won’t know how mine tastes until Christmas comes around, but the leftover stuff I have seems to be good so far!