I've been gushing about savory Danish food, when in reality the best thing about Denmark might be the yeasty and buttery Danish dough. In Copenhagen its easy to stumble upon bakery, after bakery, after bakery. Kanelstang, kringle, klipkrans, kanelsnurrer...everything is lovely, delicious, with a bit of cinnamon or cardamom, maybe a sprinkling of fruit, or a dusting of sugar, and remonce (Danish pastry filling often made with butter, sugar, and almond...think frangipane) in no short supply.
Danish dough is a laminated dough, like croissant dough, where butter is folded into the dough to create layers. Danish dough is enriched with eggs and contains yeast.
If this is a bit too much indulgence there are huge selections of multi-grain bollers...
Or deep tarts loaded with apples...
Selections differ depending on which bakery you hit, but Drømmekage, or Danish Dream Cake, is something you can't avoid. It's a basic yellow vanilla cake loaded with a moist, brown-sugar-sweet, coconut topping.
For the Cake...
- 4 eggs
- 250 g homemade vanilla sugar***
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted and set aside to cool
- 200 ml whole milk
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
***Vanilla sugar is a very popular ingredient used in Scandinavia. It can be bought in a super concentrated form that has a texture similar to baking powder. If using this sort for this recipe use regular granulated sugar and 1 tsp of the concentrated vanilla sugar. I prefer homemade vanilla sugar as it has a more natural taste. This is made by combining leftover vanilla bean (once the seeds have been used for something else) with granulated sugar. About 1 leftover husk to 1.5 c sugar is a good ratio. Let sit in an airtight container for about 1 month before using. Keep for about 6 months. If you don't have either just add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to this recipe.
For the Topping...
- 125 g unsalted butter, melted
- 225 g muscovado sugar
- pinch salt
- 50 ml whole milk
- 100 g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
Patience is a virtue that sadly I don't possess. I'll burn the roof of my mouth on a cookie hot out of the oven and my tongue on too hot soup. With this dream cake one must wait. It must sit for at least a few hours for the eggy cake to mellow into the perfect vehicle to carry the moist coconut sweetness. This is the perfect cake for a late-night-sleeplessness-bake because its best the next day.