In Denmark you usually have a specific type of cake for your birthday, called simply ‘lagkage’ – layer cake. It is cake layers of an egg foam cake with fillings in between. The filling can be anything you like, really, usually it some combination of whipped cream, jam, fresh fruit or pastry cream.
It was recently my birthday, so of course I had to make one. I made a version with chocolate cake layers, chocolate whipped cream and apricot jam that my mom used to make. It is decorated with lots of chopped dark chocolate on top, and it is a rich and decadent chocolate cake, perfect since I love chocolate.
In Denmark you would rarely bake the cake layers themselves. They mostly just the vehicle for the fillings anyway, and you can buy vanilla or chocolate ones in almost any supermarket. Since I can’t get them here, I had to make my own, and found this very easy recipe on a Danish blog. I have been using it for years, and it really works well.The blog has some great pictures of the process, check it out even if you don’t read Danish. The recipe makes about 4 layers, and usually you use 3 (since they come in packs of 3 when you buy). I made 1.5 portions and had 6 layers for 2 cakes.
Ingredients, cake layers (original recipe in Danish):
- 6 eggs
- 200 g sugar (7 oz)
- 100 g all purpose flour (3.5 oz)
- 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder (1.4 oz)
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 500 ml heavy whipping cream (1 pint + a little)
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- apricot jam, about 6 oz/ 180 g
- 100 g dark chocolate (4 oz)
- 1-2 tbsp rum or other liqueur (optional)
1. Use a plate to draw circles on parchment paper. I am using a lunch plate here. Draw 4 circles, or 3 bigger ones.
2. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 390 F degrees.
3. Measure out the flour, cocoa and vanilla sugar (if using) in a bowl.
4. Put the sugar and the eggs in a big bowl, and start mixing with an electric mixer.
5. Keep mixing until the mixture is light, almost white, and fluffy. You should be able to create a track with the mixer. It will take about 5-8 min for a regular portion, longer if you make a bigger one.
6. Mix in the vanilla extract, if using that instead of the vanilla sugar.
7. Sift the cocoa, flour and vanilla sugar over the egg mass.
8. Mix it very gently using a metal spoon. You want to be careful you don’t remove the air from the mixture.
9. Spread the batter over you circle on the parchment paper. Again be careful to leave as much air in there as possible.
10. Bake for about 7-15 min. They are a bit hard to see when they are done when made with cocoa. They will still be a little soft on the top when done, but should otherwise be firm. The bottoms can go dark careful, so keep hovering over your oven. The time is very dependent on you oven, I have found.
11. Remove and let cool on wire racks. Do not remove from the parchment until you are using them.
12. You can store these for a day or so in a dry place. You can stack them on top of each other with the parchment between. The top of them will stick to the parchment, that is normal.
13. Make the chocolate whipped cream by adding sugar and cocoa to the heavy cream, and then whipping it.
14. When you are ready to make you cake, place the first layer on your serving plate.
15. Sprinkle some rum over the cake.
16. Cover the layer with jam.
17. Spread chocolate whipped cream over the jam. Don’t worry if you mix some jam into the cream.
18. Add another cake layer and repeat.
19. Add the last cake layer and sprinkle with rum.
20. Spread whipped cream over the top (no jam) and down the sides.
30. Chop the chocolate and add the chocolate pieces on top.
31. Keep refrigerated until an hour before you eat it or so. It is best the same day, but after having been assembled for a few hours.
If you want to make vanilla layers, simply replace the cocoa powder with flour in equal weight, and 4 tsp vanilla. You can fill this cake with whatever you like, the apricot and chocolate is just one example. Plain whipped cream and strawberries is a great summer option, for instance.