Baking · Cake · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge

Iceland: Slöngukaka (Snake Cake with Coffee Buttercream)

The Flag of Iceland, drawn by Ævar Arnfjörð Bj...

Iceland has possibly one of the most descriptive names of any country in the world. Ice-land. You know exactly what you are getting – cold. I always felt that Iceland must feel a little forgotten, the only visitors being the multitude of school trips that descend every year in order to study the many amazing geological features. Now being a little older and wiser, I really want to go myself, however at the moment that wish seems quite far off, so instead I try to imagine myself there by baking this traditional Icelandic cake. Icelandic cuisine has been affected by the cold climate, so vegetables and fruit are not commonly used and spices are also uncommon. However they do like coffee (and coca-cola, but we’ll stick with the coffee for now!), so I wanted a recipe that included this.


Iceland was a Danish dependency until 1918, and as a result much of the sweet food consumed on the island is Danish in origin. Baking recipes in particular are apparently rare as suitable cooking equipment was not readily available until the early 1900’s. Presented here then is an adaptation of Slöngukaka, otherwise known as snake cake. Named thus because it looks like curled up snakes when cut, it is primarily an Icelandic version of the English Swiss Roll Cake. I decided to adapt the recipe by including coffee in the recipe, a very popular drink in Iceland. This recipe is for a light coffee sponge cake, filled with a coffee buttercream.





  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs


  • 125g icing sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 12ml milk
  • 2 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tsp water.


Preheat the oven to 200C/fan180C/gas 6. Brush the bottom of a swiss roll tin or baking sheet with vegetable oil and line with a piece of baking parchment (cut to fit). Brush the paper with a bit more oil before dusting with a little flour and caster sugar. Set aside.

Beat the sugar and eggs together until they are thick and pale (lifting the beat should leave a trail of the mixture on the top). Sift in half the flour and fold in gently until completely incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour. Fold in one table spoon of lukewarm water before pouring into the prepared tin. Spread the mixture to ensure that it evenly covers the complete surface, and then bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

To make the coffee buttercream, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, before adding in the milk and dissolved coffee. Continue to mix until the buttercream is thick and creamy (about 5 minutes).

Now comes the tricky part – rolling it up! I have had so many cracked rolls it is untrue! However, they still taste good so don’t worry too much! Loosen the sponge from the sheet and turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper dusted with a little sugar. Peel the baking paper of the back and discard. Spread the buttercream over the sponge, leaving a small gap all the way around – this will allow the filling to spread as you roll it up! Using the greaseproof paper to help, start rolling (ensuring you keep the roll tight). Leave the Cake to rest seam-side down for a few hours. Decorate with piped melted chocolate if desired.

The recipes for this cake are from Delicious Magazine (Cake) and The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (adapted)

Help for rolling up Swiss Rolls/Icelandic Snake Cakes

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