Experience the unique flavors of Iceland with our Hjónabandssaela - Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake recipe! This delicious cake features an easy rolled oats and cardamom base and streusel topping with a sweet rhubarb filling.
This easy-to-follow recipe guide will show you how to create this delicious cake in the comfort of your own home. Perfect for a special occasion or a sweet treat, this Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake is the ultimate way to enjoy a unique and satisfying dessert with a fascinating history.
Iceland has some incredible dishes that I’m yet to delve into and this rhubarb bake has been on the list whilst we patiently waited for longer days and rhubarb season to appear.
History of Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake
In Icelandic this is called Hjónabandssaela which translates to a variety of names from Happy Marriage Cake to Wedded Bliss. With the exact origins of the dish not clear, however, the ingredients can be found easily and it requires little effort to whip up meaning anyone can bake this and impress their loved one!
Why you'll love this
Unique and Delicious
Our Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake recipe features a unique combination of buttery oatmeal and cardamom dough and a sweet rhubarb filling. It's a great way to indulge in a dessert that's packed with flavor and unique Icelandic history.
Easy to Make
Despite its impressive taste, this Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake is actually quite easy to make which is what gives this cake it's unique name thanks to it's fuss free directions. Our step-by-step recipe guide will walk you through every step, so you can create this delicious cake with confidence. It's a great option for anyone who wants a special dessert without spending hours in the kitchen.
Perfect for a Special Occasion
Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake is a classic dessert in Iceland, often served at the peak of rhubarb season. It's a unique and flavorful cake that's sure to impress your guests. Plus, it's a great way to try something new and delicious with a fascinating history!
Ingredients and substitutions for Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake
- Rhubarb: Five medium fresh rhubarb stems will suffice to give you the amount you need here. If you can't source pink stems, that is totally fine! The color of your rhubarb does not define it's sweetness when baked.
- Sugar: Superfine or caster sugar works best with the rhubarb to draw out the moisture and will sweeten the cake, without adding too much flavor. The brown sugar helps add a light complimentary flavor to the cardamom and helps activate the baking soda.
- Oats: Simple rolled oats are used, no quick oats or steel oats which might result in a different texture within the cake.
- Flour: Plain or all purpose flour is best to create a nice light crumb to our crust and crumble.
- Baking soda: This is the key to the our cake lightly rising thanks to the brown sugar (the acid that baking soda needs to work with to rise) so don't leave it out, unless you are using self raising flour. You cannot sub baking powder like for like for this recipe as baking soda is 3-4 times stronger so you would need plenty more which would leave an after taste!
- Butter: Unsalted butter was used here, though salted butter would also work if that’s what you have on hand and softened will help you create that crumble texture.
- Eggs: As well as adding structure to the cake crust, the egg binds everything together so an essential.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake:
Lightly greaseproof your cake tin and set aside.
Place rhubarb, sugar vanilla extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat with a lid on.
Stirring intermittently, to ensure it cooks evenly until the rhubarb is soft, but still has some shape approximately 15 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool fully.
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
Place the oats into a blender or food processor and pulse to make the oats a little finer, but not completely fine like flour.
Pour the oats, flour, sugars, ground cardamon and baking soda into a medium bowl, stirring to combine.
Toss in the butter and cut into your mixture until it resembles a crumble mixture, it will be quite clumpy.
Add the egg and combine on low with until the mixture resembles a wet crumble and no dry portions remain in the base of your bowl.
Spoon two thirds of the dough into your cake tin and press to cover the base and sides of the tin.
Spoon the rhubarb compote over the crust and top with clumps of the remaining crust unevenly.
Place in the oven and bake until golden, approximately 25 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool before removing from the tin.
Slice and serve with a little whipped cream.
Equipment needed to make this
Greaseproof paper: Lining the base of your tin will make getting this cake out a breeze!
Hand or stand mixer: To combine the egg through the dough, though this can be done by hand.
Cake tin: A spring form tin that is 20 cm or 8 inches was used to get the cake out of the tin easily, however, a standard cake tin of similar size would also work well.
Mixing bowls: Two medium mixing bowls are required for the cake and rhubarb filling.
More rhubarb recipes you’ll lovePrint
This Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake recipe has a crumble crust dough that you press into a tin with a rhubarb compote center that bakes up golden and has hints of cardamom throughout.
500 grams / 1 pound fresh rhubarb, sliced into ½ inch thick pieces
50 grams / ¼ cup superfine/caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
135 grams / 1 ½ cups rolled oats
240 grams / 1 ½ cups plain flour
100 grams / ½ cup superfine/caster sugar
50 grams / ¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 grams / ¾ teaspoon baking soda
225 grams / 7.93 ounces butter, softened and cubed
45 grams / 1 medium egg, room temperature
- Lightly greaseproof your cake tin and set aside.
- Place rhubarb, sugar vanilla extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat with a lid on.
- Stirring intermittently, to ensure it cooks evenly until the rhubarb is soft, but still has some shape approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove and set aside to cool fully.
- Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
- Place the oats into a blender or food processor and pulse to make the oats a little finer, but not completely fine like flour.
- Pour the oats, flour, sugars, ground cardamon and baking soda into a medium bowl, stirring to combine.
- Toss in the butter and cut into your mixture until it resembles a crumble mixture, it will be quite clumpy.
- Add the egg and combine on low with until the mixture resembles a wet crumble and no dry portions remain in the base of your bowl.
- Spoon two thirds of the dough into your cake tin and press to cover the base and sides of the tin.
- Spoon the rhubarb compote over the crust and top with clumps of the remaining crust unevenly.
- Place in the oven and bake until golden, approximately 25 minutes.
- Remove and set aside to cool before removing from the tin.
- Slice and serve with a little whipped cream.
- Dig in!
Adapted from Daytona Strong
- Calories: 394 calories per serve
Keywords: cake, spring, snack cake, rhubarb, streusal cake