As Danish as the Little Mermaid and Lego, Lagkage (Layercake) is served for birthdays, anniversaries, coffee mornings and any other time where there is an excuse.
Danish layer cakes come in many different forms – from the super simple made at home to the fancy-pancy ones in the bakeries. Only your imagination set limits for fillings and toppings, so we thought we’d share a few of the basics here – and a fancier version too, known as Othello Layer cake.
Danish lagkage is usually always 3 layers of sponge. Most people can’t be bothered baking their own, so they buy 3 ready made layers – we sell these in the shop, so you too, can cheat! Find them here.
If you are making your own, the recipe is below. You don’t need any tins for this as you simply use baking paper to trace the shape.
Pastry Cream is the most common filling – in Danish, known as Kagecreme. We have added the recipe to make your own, but we do also have a cheat’s version which is really lovely – and is simply a add-milk to powder (500ml per sachet, and stir). Available here.
Sometimes, the filling is flavoured with cocoa.
Usually, some form of berries or fruit is added. The most popular is strawberries or raspberries. Many add sliced banana when they are making a kid’s birthday layer cake.
For a homely layercake, simply assemble the layers and top with a thin layer of icing (make from icing sugar and a little hot water until treacle consistency and then poured over the top. Some add chocolate icing or ganache. Piping of whipped cream all around the edge is usually done – although you can leave the sides ‘naked’.
These cakes are not tall –and they are light to eat because the sponge is Genoese and not a heavy sponge.
Basic lagkage layers
Makes 3 layers
25 g butter, melted and set aside to cool
120g caster sugar
120g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar OR extract OR use the seeds of 1 vanilla pod/bean
3 baking sheets, greased and lined with baking parchment. Use a 20-cm/8-inch diameter plate to draw three circles on the baking parchment. Use a pencil.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Beat together the eggs and sugar on high speed in a stand mixer or using a hand-held electric whisk. Beat until the mixture reaches ribbon stage – you will be able to see the traces of the mixture when you move the whisk – and the traces should stay for a good 6-7 seconds. This can take up to 5-7 minutes – the mixture will almost triple in volume.
Combine the flour, salt and vanilla in a separate bowl. Sift into the egg mixture, bit by bit, carefully folding using a figure-of-eight movement until incorporated. Pour the cooled melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold carefully again, trying not to knock out air. This is really important – if you knock out the air, your layers will not rise.
Divide the mixture evenly between the parchment circles on the baking sheets spreading right to the edges of each circle with the back of a spoon. If they go over a bit, don’t worry, you can cut these bits off afterwards.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 5–7 minutes or until light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing the baking parchment. If the parchment sticks, slightly dampen the paper side with cold water and the paper will come off easily. Trim any untidy edges using a sharp knife.
Note: If you want to secure a rise and feel nervous about the rise, add 1 teaspoon to the flour for a slight lift.
Pastry cream recipe can be found here. You need almost one batch for one cake. Don’t skimp on the pastry cream.
How to assemble:
On your serving plate, add layer 1. Add pastry cream in about 1cm layer. Add chopped fruit or berries, then the next layer of sponge. Add another layer of pastry cream and more fruit – and then the final layer of sponge. Cover the top with a water-icing and pipe whipped cream around the side. Add flags and candles.
If you want to make a fancier version, you can find the recipe for Othello Layer Cake here.
If you want to make the Swedish Princess Cake, the link to our recipe is here.