Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lagkage - Danish Layer Cake

Although I was totally off the hook for the first 5 courses at our dinner party last night, the dessert course was my playground. I decided to make the traditional Danish celebration cake, lagkage or lagekage (translates as layer cake). 

The cake is a bit spongy and is filled with a silky pastry cream and a dribbles of raspberry jam in each layer. Then a fluffy blanket of Chantilly cream adorns the outside. 

There were leftovers! So for breakfast, the mister and I each enjoyed a piece along with our morning coffee. It was just as good the morning after.

4 layers of cake (make the following cake recipe twice)
Pastry cream
Raspberry jam
1/2 to 3/4 litre of whipping cream, whipped and sweetened to taste

Optional garnishes:
Coulis or pastry cream 

(Adapted from one posted by Karen Hansen on

This cake recipe bakes two layers of the cake. You need to make the recipe twice to have the four layers you need.

2 egg yolks from extra large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites from extra large eggs

Preheat oven to 435ºF.

Measure out the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites until stiff.

In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until lemon yellow. Add the water and sugar and beat for 2 minutes on high. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture gradually and beat well.

Fold in the egg whites.

Bake in two ungreased 8-inch cake pans (I used my springform pans) for 8 to 9 minutes.


Pastry Cream:
Yields 2 1/2 cups

2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract *

Combine milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat milk to near boil.

Meanwhile whisk yolks, egg, 2 tablespoons sugar and the cornstarch together. Temper the eggs with the scalded milk by pouring the milk slowly into the egg mixture stirring constantly. After 3/4 to 1 cup of the hot milk has been mixed in, the remaining milk can be added and whisked together.

Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot and bring to a near boil. Stir constantly. Watch the temperature of the custard closely when it reaches 140ºF. When the first bubble forms, remove from the heat immediately. Quickly run the custard through a sieve. Add the butter and the vanilla and stir until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Place in the fridge to cool down completely. At least 3 hours.  Overnight is better.

* If you use a vanilla bean instead of extract, scrape the seeds out of a 1/2 bean and add to the milk as it is heating. You can also put the bean pod in the warming milk to further infuse the vanilla flavour. Remove the pod as you begin to temper the egg yolk mixture.

Place one cake upside down on a cake plate. Cover with at least 1/2 cup of the cooled pastry cream. Drop small spoonfuls of jam all over the pastry, using about a tablespoon of jam.

Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the 4th cake, baked side up. Chill the cake for half an hour.

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters. Sweeten to taste with extra fine granulated sugar. Maybe one to two tablespoons.

Skim coat the cake with the whipped cream. Then add a layer of cream to cover it completely without any cake showing through. Using a piping bag, decorate your cake with your own design flair!

Consider serving it with a raspberry coulis and berries. This morning I served it up with leftover pastry cream and raspberries.


  1. Now that is my kind of breakfast! And Grand Finale after a lovely meal. I haven't been out for dinner for so long - to a home - that you have made me crave the old dinner party days. The celebration of friendship through food is high on my list - but this past 2 years I have hunkered down with taking care of my elderly parents and suddenly just realized that I have really put our social life aside. No more! This cake has me motivated to get back into the game! YUM!

    1. Go Valerie! We love having dinner parties and do it all the time. Though we too got stalled as we lived the sandwich generation experience dealing with the demands of aging parents. (And like you, wouldn't have done anything differently. We wanted to help.) It just meant if we did do gatherings they had to be a lot more casual and impromptu. Popular was Sunday coffee time with a few pastries and fruit. Sometimes not at all for the stretch when things were grave. But Saturday was a 'pull out all the fancy stuff' kind of dinner party. We actually had a chef come into our home for the first 5 courses and he volunteered me for dessert. I aggressively pursued this 'chef in your home' at an auction fundraiser. "It's for the children!" gets my wallet open every time. Though, amazing how exhausted you can get just cleaning the house, polishing everything and tending to the little details. This time we decided to get the Christmas tree up and do all the trimmings. At least I am now ready for Christmas. A decent side benefit for sure.

  2. Oh wow! We are actually hooked on Danish tv so might be fun to have a theme night with this!! Photos are amazing!

    1. Katherine, I would be happy to help you with some Danish menu suggestions. What Danish TV are you watching?


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