A sponge cake with coconut on the top, sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Like many things emerging from the world’s seeminly unending Scandinavia obsession, keeping things straightforward comes with hidden complications, craftsmanship and philosophy. It’s not as easy as it looks to be effortlessly minimal, handsome and tasteful, which perfectly fits the process of making a Danish Dream Cake.
Most recipes for this soft sponge with sweet, brown sugar-baked coconut flakes on top see it happening in a square cake pan, but having seen a round version proudly sat on top of the counter at London’s Scandinavian Kitchen, a 26cm round form is adopted in this instance. Whether the bakers of Brovst, the north westerly region of Denmark that invented and named the cake (apparently a self-explanatory naming, it makes sense when you eat it), would approve is a conversation to be had with them if we ever get there.
A wonderful vanilla sponge, which under any circumstances can be enjoyed on its own, taking on the added bonus of coconut and caramelised brown sugar.
Bakers should be careful with it, as the wet batter all too easily turns into an unforgiving, rubbery mass if there’s insufficient rising power in the mix or the coconut topping goes on too soon. The baking time is extended in this recipe compared to others to help avoid problems, yet there’s no small amount of baker’s intuition and the helpful use of a skewer to test whether the liquid has, finally, turned to cake.
When successful, the Danish Dream Cake is everything you want it to be. A wonderful vanilla sponge, which under any circumstances can be enjoyed on its own, taking on the added bonus of coconut and caramelised brown sugar.
- 4 eggs
- 300g caster sugar
- 200ml whole milk
- 50g butter
- 250g white flour
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 100g butter
- 150g coconut flour
- 225g brown sugar
- 50ml milk
- 1Line or grease a large, 26cm springform cake pan and pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C convection).
- 2Whip the eggs and sugar, over a warm water bath if preferred, until the mixture is pale in colour and airy then warm the milk and butter in a saucepan until hand warm.
- 3Mix the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar together well. Slowly sift this dry mix into the butter and eggs through a sieve, then quickly whisk in the warm milk and butter mixture to the ingredients to form a loose cake batter.
- 4Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake in the centre of the oven for around 40 mins.
- 5While the cake is baking, put the butter, coconut flour, sugar and milk into a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, while stirring.
- 6After 40 minutes a skewer pushed into the very middle of the cake should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and spread the filling on top, before returning to the middle of the oven for a further five to ten minutes.
- 7Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting to serve.