hello from norway!

right now, i’m in the mountains of bergsdalen, just a hop from bergen.

the land here is covered in colorful mosses, berries, and sti- little trails made by the local wildlife. sheep roam the hillsides while rain and melted snow keep everything green. people drop by neighboring cabins after hikes to drink the home-brewed beer that fills every cellar.


i’ve had a great past few weeks filled with family, hiking, and of course, eating.

i’d forgotten how good the food is here. breakfast and lunch consist of nutty cheeses, goat or cow, and homemade jams over thick-sliced, whole-grain, homemade bread. dinner is typically meat or fresh fish with boiled potatoes, carrots, and lingonberry jam.  a dessert of sugared waffles, vanilla ice cream, rhubarb pie, or cake, all topped with berries, is paired with black coffee and aquavit.


i’ve taken these past few weeks here as an opportunity to learn family recipes from my grandmother. school rolls- skoleboller -have been my dad’s favorite pastry since childhood, so i was compelled to make them before anything else.

Skoleboller- A Norwegian Sweetroll

makes 2 dozen

a family recipe translated from norwegian



  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup milk

custard filling-

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbs milk
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbs heavy cream
  • 2 tsp potato flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean stalk, seeded but reserved


  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

shaved coconut to top


method of preparation:

whisk together dry ingredients, but yeast, and set aside.

prepare yeast by dissolving in 1/8 cup warm water.

whisk together all wet ingredients, including yeast. combine with dry ingredients.

knead dough until shiny, adding milk/flour as necessary. allow to rise for one hour.

to make the custard, whisk together all ingredients until thick. set aside.

to make the icing, whisk together all ingredients. the icing should be thick, so add milk/sugar as necessary. set aside.

divide raised dough into 12-24 even balls. many norwegian bakeries make hand-sized skoleboller, but homemade rolls are often smaller.

make an imprint, where the custard will be poured, in the center each ball. pressing your thumb down, while rotating the dough yields good results.

place rolls on a lined baking sheet.

allow to raise for 30-60 additional minutes.

preheat oven to 425°F.

proportionally scoop custard into the wells bake for 12 minutes.

once cooled, pour icing around custard well and sprinkle with coconut shavings.




Hvitdame- the Traditional Norwegian  White Lady Cake 

aka my birthday cake.

aka the best cake ever.

and, yes, i realize that that was a bold statement, but it’s how i feel- at least until i make a better cake!

i’ll give you a few reasons why it’s my favorite, in term of layers.

  1. a dense sponge cake
  2. strawberry jam
  3. a beautiful hazlenut macaron
  4. more jam
  5. whipped cream
  6. marzipan

that’s right… six layers.



but what really gets me about this cake is its history. only made during special occasions- it’s become a lost art. when I decided to bake this, my norwegian famiy scoffed. hvitdame were only bought at bakeries, it was almost unheard of to make from scratch. but, i must say- it turned out pretty darn well. and the folks were very impressed.


so yeah, it was good.

recipe by ingrid espelid hovig



3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking powder


3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup raw hazlenuts

1 1/2 tbs flour

2 egg whites


1/2 cup jam of choice

3/4 cup whipped cream (preferably homemade)

to cover-

3 marzipan logs (21oz)- use leftover to make flowers or other decorations

method of preparation:

preheat oven to 350*F and grease/ line the bottom of an 8 in. cake pan with parchment paper

beat eggs and sugar together until doubled in size.

sift flour and baking soda together then carefully fold into egg mixture, carful to not deflate them.

pour into prepared pan and bake on middle rack for 30 minutes. let cool for a few minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.

begin macaron:

preheat oven to 200*F.

grind nuts into a meal in a food processor and stir in with flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar.

beat egg whites with the rest of the sugar until doubled in size. fold in hazlnut mixture, careful not to deflate the eggs.

pour mixture into an 8 in. cake pan and bake for ~40 minutes, or until crisp and dry.

cool on a wire rack.

whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

roll out marzipan into a thin layer, ~1/6 in.


place cake on plate/stand, spread with 1/2 of the jam. place the hazlnut macaron on top and cover with the rest of the jam. smooth the whipped cream over the top and thinly on the sides. carefully drape marzipan over the cake, cutting of any excess. use this to make any decorations, such as flowers or braids.