Rhubarb tart or Icelandic happy marriage cake

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Its always nice to immerse yourself in someone else food culture and that’s why I love my job so much: I can travel and experience food from the world to tell Stories and facts about people and their lives. That’s what happened when I firstly discovered the Hjónabandssæla, the Icelandic happy marriage cake or also rhubarb tart.

A few months ago I’ve been invited to visit Iceland and discover its food. So you think: it’s just fish and boiled potatoes but in fact there’s more and more and just listening to old Stories has put into light a lovely tradition, pretty much unknown outside of Iceland.

That’s when I’ve discovered the existence of the Hjónabandssæla, the happy marriage cake: it is said this cake contains all the secret ingredients of a happy marriage and it’s so easy to make, and so unexpensive, that in the past women of all kind were able to make it at home and make their husbands happy. Today women still prepare the happy marriage cake but just to keep the tradition safe not anymore to show how good they’re in the kitchen and in the management of the daily business at home.

It’s such a lovely story, a story which strictly connects food and culture that I’ve learnt how to make it and, while learning, I’ve also been told stories about how people live in Iceland, how they use to interact, stories of real Life.

I’ve also learned that Hjónabandssaela is recommended to be eaten aged and it’s exactly like a good marriage: it gets better with age! The Hjónabandssæla is similar to an Italian crostata but it’s more buttery and more crispy. It’s just the ideal recipe if you’re in need of comfort food.

What you need to make the Hjónabandssæla
2 cups white spelt flour
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
14 tablespoons butter
1 egg
5 oz rhubarb jam (here the recipe)

How to make the Icelandic happy marriage cake
1. Cut the butter into small cubes and make it soften. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease and flour a cake pan or 6 individual and small cake pans.
2. Mix the flour, oats, baking soda, and sugar. Place the butter on top and mix everything quickly with the palms of both hands and with your fingertips to turn in into a powder.
3. Transfer the dough in the mixer bowl add the egg and mix to form a dough.
4. Spread 2/3 of the dough in the bottom of the pan. Cover with rhubarb jam. Roll the remaining dough into strips or buttons and place on top of the cake.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust will be golden.

Preparation time: 1 hour

[Pic by Giuseppe Milo]

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Categories: Cookies, International Recipes, Sweets & Cakes
Article written by Veruska Anconitano aka La Cuochina Sopraffina
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