Icelandic bakery guide
Donuts, pretzels, sesame buns and sandwiches: you´ll find many well-known things in our bakeries. But before giving in the temptation to order something familiar, we want to encourage you to taste our Icelandic goodies - isn’t traveling about trying out new things?
This introduction to the most common Icelandic pastries helps you to properly indulge yourself in sugary deliciousness. Take notes for your order (or just try them all!)
Small but Mighty: Kleinur, Ástarpungar and Cinnamon rolls
We all know that the best gifts come in small packages
A firm donut dough twisted into bow-shape, and then deep fried - that’s Kleina, plural: Kleinur. They’re mostly served plain, but in some cases, you can find them dipped in chocolate, which makes them even better! Kleinur don’t need a special occasion. They’re just good - always.
With a certain extra come Ástarpungar - ("love balls"). Formed from a similar dough like Kleinur, they are filled with an extra portion of love in the form of raisins. They get deep fried as well and are therefore equally addictive.
Beauty comes in every form and size and so do our Kanilsnúðar ("cinnamon rolls"): you can find soft yeast dough buns heavily decorated with sugar-, chocolate- or caramel cream as well as the smaller and crunchier shortbread-version, also called old-fashioned cinnamon rolls. No matter which version you pick, they will take your heart by storm.
Why Vienna? Nobody knows
But we’re glad that Vínarbrauð (“Vienna bread”) and Vínaterta (“Vienna cake) made it to Iceland!
Vínarbrauð has nothing in common with bread but is a puff pastry with a layer of vanilla pudding and/or chocolate or pink crème. It often comes in flat, long pieces and is therefore a popular treat to share with co-workers. And a little tip for those who – understandably – don’t plan to share: vínarbrauð can often be found in little round Danish form, just enough for one.
Vínaterta has as many different names (lagkaka, randalín, lagterta) as it has layers! The most common versions of vínarterta are a brown dough with white vanilla or buttercream and a yellow dough with rhubarb or plum marmalade filling.
While their names indicate something else, these cakes can be enjoyed all-year-round and everywhere!
Hjónabandssæla (“Marriage bliss”)
Don’t worry, one doesn’t have to be married to get to enjoy marriage bliss cake and its consumption is not restricted to weddings either! The Linzer-cake-lookalike is often prepared with oatmeal in the dough and rhubarb-marmalade as filling, a perfect cake for everyone who doesn’t like it too sweet!
Jólakaka – (“Christmas Cake”)
Originally baked only for Christmas with additional ingredients, the jólakaka is now our everyday go-to cake. The simple looking pound cake filled with raisins captivates with its intense aroma of cardamon and lemon.
When in 1966 Icelandic TV started to broadcast, a new era began, and new snack recipes were born! Until today, the Sjónvarpskaka is an all-Icelandic-favorite. It is an easy treat for everyone to bake at home but can also be found in the bakeries. It consists of a simple sponge dough topped with a layer of caramelized coconut-flakes.
Neither is it messy, nor are you going to crumble too much. The perfect on-the-couch and on-the-go-cake!