Hjónabandssaela – Icelandic happy marriage cake

Hjónabandssaela – Icelandic happy marriage cake

Rhubarb jam for hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake

Hjónabandssæla.

You’ve gotta love the name, right?

Give it to google and it translates it to ‘chum’, although it seems the true translation is along the lines of ‘happy marriage’ or ‘marital bliss’.

Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe

Why?

Something to do with the cake containing all of the ingredients of a happy marriage; with its use of inexpensive ingredients and a method so simple that a woman with any skill level can master. Perhaps even that all of its ingredients can be found in the average Icelandic kitchen.

Yep, I’m scratching my head, as well.

Does this now mean that I’m the wife of my household, now that I’ve made this cake?

Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe

Ok, so what we basically have is a rather soft and crumbly pastry that forms a tart shell. There’s oatmeal in there, which gives it a nice texture and earthy flavour; plus brown sugar for depth and a little cardamom for aroma.

And then you’ve got the rhubarb, a plant that can be seen growing wild in many parts of Iceland.

Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe

A simple jam is made from the rhubarb, reduced down until nice, thick and gloriously sour – with just enough sugar so you don’t purse your lips too much whilst eating it.

Like rocks and boulders strewn across the Reykjanesbar lava fields, the same pastry that’s used for the base is broken up and dolloped over the rhubarb; forming an undulated topping that makes the cake tread closer to pie territory.

Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe

While no two hjónabandssaela recipes are the same, I’ve added my own little touch by incorporating vanilla and dark muscovado sugar. Some use spelt flour, which would be great, as well as rolled oats. The only oats in our pantry were in instant porridge form – so that’s what I went with – and the husband’s suggestion of ginger in the pastry was a winning one.

They say the cake gets better with age – much like a good marriage – but I have to be honest, this one barely made it to three days.

Adapted from here

Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe

 

Print Recipe
Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake
Icelandic happy marriage cake is filled with delicious stewed rhubarb and topped with soft, oat-filled pastry. So easy to make!
Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe
Course Dessert
Cuisine Icelandic
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Jam
Pastry
Course Dessert
Cuisine Icelandic
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Jam
Pastry
Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic happy marriage cake recipe
Instructions
Jam
  1. Put the rhubarb and sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Give it a mix around as it heats and the liquid seeps out of the rhubarb. After 10 minutes it will have softened, add the vanilla and maple syrup and reduce the heat to low. Stir frequently as it will bubble a lot. Use a lid if you like, to stop it spitting everywhere. It should be ready in 20 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool completely as you make the rest of the cake.
Pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 25 cm tart tin with a removable base.
  2. Put the oats, flour, sugars, cardamom, ginger and bicarb into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it a couple of times to mix it all together.
  3. Drop tablespoons of the butter into the processor and pulse until it has incorporated through the dry ingredients. Add the beaten egg and pulse until it just mixes through the other ingredients. If the egg sticks to the bottom, you may need to scrape everything out into a large bowl or the bench top and mix it together by hand. Just don't over-mix it.
  4. Alternatively, do it by hand in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter through the dry ingredients, mix through the egg and continue with the next step.
  5. Cut one third of the dough from the mass and set it aside. Press the remaining dough into the greased tin (wet your hands, if necessary), evenly covering the bottom and about 3 cm up the sides.
  6. Spread the cooled rhubarb jam into the prepared tin, smooth the top and then break up small pieces of the reserved dough all over the rhubarb jam.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the tin completely before removing.
  8. Dust with icing sugar, slice and serve with double cream.
Share this Recipe
  • Happy marriage cake! I love it!

    Thanks for providing measurements in cups for us Americans who have no metric sense.
    Happy Christmas!

  • I trust it was the cake that lasted only three days. 😉

  • This is beautiful, John! Sadly, I will have to wait a while for the rhubarb to find out if our marriage is happy… for now, I will just assume it is! Hope you both have a great Christmas, and we wish you all the best for 2018!

  • Looks very pretty.

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