After a long hiatus we’re back on the blog! What more fitting way to start off than with one of the very best and most classic cakes from our little kingdom? Of course I am talking about Danish strawberry cake with vanilla cream and chocolate. Honestly, I can’t come up with a single reason not to like this cake. Imagine this: a sweet cake base with a crunchy crust, a soft middle and a layer of rich dark chocolate. On top of this you add a smooth vanilla cream and finish off with a generous layer of fresh strawberries. Hungry to try?
A Danish baker who fails to have one of these masterpieces on his shelves, doesn’t have any self-respect! If you want to be a successful Danish baker you definitely need to keep a large stock of these, because they tend to sell out fast. More than once I’ve been in a lineup in a Danish bakery store impatiently waiting my turn to buy my own strawberry cake, only to be disappointed as the customer in front of me just bought the last ones! So rude! If you want to be on the safe side, make your own. Now you have the recipe 😉
I am such a big fan of Danish strawberry cake that my wedding cake was actually a tweaked version of the original, only instead of strawberries, it had raspberries on top. So the strawberries can of course be substituted according to season, taste or availability, or you can make a mixed berry version if you so like.
A little time and love…
It’s not a cake you can make in a hurry. It takes a little effort, love and care, but it’s well worth it as you will see once you have tasted it. I didn’t alter much from traditional recipes in this version. The only thing I changed was the presentation that normally makes the cake look a little clumsy and not as delicious as it really is. Let me know if I succeeded in making it look mouthwatering. I’d love to hear your comments!
Classic Danish strawberry cake (for one 8 x 12 inch pie pan)
2/3 lbs (300 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 lbs (150 g) salted butter (room temperature)
1/4 lbs (100 g) icing sugar
1/2 lbs (200 g) almond flour
1/2 lbs (200 g) icing sugar
1/2 lbs (200 g) butter
1/4 Madagascar vanilla bean
1 tbsp corn starch
5/8 cup (150 ml) whole milk (3.5% fat)
2 tbsp (35 g) caster sugar
3 sheets of gelatine or 3/4 tbsp gelatine powder
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (min. 35% fat)
5.5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate
1 tsp butter
3 tbsp full cream
1.1 lbs (500 g) fresh strawberries
Optional: In the picture I used sorrel leaves for decoration. Alternatively you can use lemon balm leaves.
The shortcrust and remonce base:
1. First, sift sugar and flour together and crumble butter into it until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
2. Next, add the egg, and gently knead just until the dough comes together.
3. Then shape the dough into a flat, round shape, and wrap it in cling film. Let it rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before moving to step 4.
4. Now it gets a bit tricky: Place a piece of cling film, at least 15 inches long, on a wet counter. (The table needs to be wet for the cling film to stay in place.) Place the dough in the middle of the cling film, and put another piece of cling film (same size) on top.
5. Gently roll the dough into an 11 x 15 inch square. Try to work fast as this lessens the risk of ripping a hole in the dough when you transfer it to the baking pan later. (If you feel the dough starts coming apart, you can put it back in the fridge for about 10 minutes before moving to the next step).
6. Now remove the top layer of cling film, and carefully drape the dough (dough side down) over a greased 8 x 12 inch (20 x 30 cm) pie pan. Make sure the dough reaches all the corners of the pan, and gently press the dough so it sticks to all sides. Now remove the top layer of cling film. Let the excess dough hang over the sides of the pan for now. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, and make the remonce filling while you wait.
7. For the remonce: Mix the almond flour, sugar and butter with an electric mixer till it is smooth. Then, add the egg, and shortly mix again until it is only just mixed in. (If you mix too long, the batter might separate). Transfer the remonce to a piping bag.
8. Bake the shortcrust (with the excess dough) at 400 F (200 C) in the oven for 10 minutes. Then add the remonce by piping it out in an even layer on top of the crust. With a sharp knife, cut off the excess dough so you get a nice, even edge. Bake the crust again, now with the remonce filling, for 10 minutes.
Vanilla mousse cream:
1. In a small saucepan, mix the vanilla pod seeds with the sugar and corn starch. Add 1/4 of the milk and whisk the mixture.
2. Now, pour the rest of the milk in, along with the eggs and the empty vanilla pod. Whisk hard while heating up gently over medium heat until it reaches boiling point. Keep whisking till it thickens into a custard-like cream.
3. Take off the heat, remove the vanilla pod, and pour the cream into a bowl. Cover with cling film directly on top of the cream to prevent any condensation from forming. Let rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours. After cooling, whisk the cream again till it is smooth.
4. Now soak the gelatine in water for 5 minutes to bloom. If you use gelatine sheets, add as much water as you like, however, with gelatine powder, use no more than 2 tablespoons water.
5. Next, heat the gelatine in a bain marie.
Gelatine sheets: only heat the gelatine (squeeze excess water out and discard the rest of the soaking water).
Gelatine powder: just heat the mixture as it is.
Once the gelatine turns into a smooth liquid, mix it with 1/2 cup of the vanilla mousse cream. Finally, add the gelatine vanilla cream mix to the rest of the vanilla cream. Whisk well with an electric mixer to avoid gelatine lumps.
6. In another bowl, whip the cream till it’s stiff (but not butter!). Carefully fold the whipped cream into the vanilla cream until it’s a light, fluffy and smooth mousse cream.
Toppings and putting the cake together:
1. Rinse the strawberries well, remove the stem and cut in halves. Rinse sorrel or lemon balm leaves well is you use these.
2. Gently melt the dark chocolate in a small saucepan or microwave oven, and then stir in the butter and cream.
3. Brush the chocolate onto the cake base and let the chocolate set a bit. Then pour the vanilla mousse cream into a piping bag and pipe out little dollops to cover the cake. Decorate with an even layer of strawberries as shown in the picture and finish off with sorrel or lemon balm leaves.