www.marissa.co Danish Dream Cake

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage fra Brovst) Recipe

A lovely light vanilla cake topped with a caramel coconut layer. Delicious served as a dessert, coffee cake or as part of an afternoon tea.

I saw a photo of Danish Dream cake and it took me back to when I was 18 and my mum worked in an office block above a shopping centre in Rosebank, South Africa. I have been looking for the recipe for years. I bought a piece of Danish Dream Cake from a Home Industry Shop/ Tuisnywerheid, a concept I have not seen in the UK. It is a store where different people bake, cook, knit or crochet and their homemade products are sold. Each shop was unique, with many people living in that area, supplying a specific shop. The concept was that the makers could pop their goods en route to running errands in their area. This cake was only found in the Rosebank Home Industry. On a Friday, if I was at my mum’s office, we used to bring a small oblong cake home, to enjoy over the weekend.

I made contact with my talented jewellery making friend Rikke Lunnemann in Denmark, who shared her recipe. I have tweaked the recipe to make a smaller cake, using only 3 instead of 4 eggs due to the egg shortages we are having.

The cake part of the recipe intrigued me, a milk sponge with a twist. The dry ingredients were added to the pale whipped eggs and sugar, as if you were making a pancake batter, then the warm milk and butter were poured in. The cake mixture is very thin, more batter than cake mix when you pour it into the tin. I even put a sheet of silicone baking paper underneath the tin, fearing it would all seep through the loose-bottomed tin.  But it didn’t. The result was a very light close textured, moist cake. Nothing like a traditional hot milk sponge cake, which tends to be quite airy and sponge-like.

The coconut topping is sweet, gooey, a little crunchy and reminiscent of coconut ice with a caramel flavour. I am thinking of ways to just make and eat this topping on its own, it is that good.

You could halve the topping or put the cake into a larger tin but for me, I always wished that the topping was thicker when we bought the cake, so the ratio is a little untraditional but 2/3 cake 1/3 topping is a winning formula.  The cake rises but only by about an inch, so choose a tin that has space to spoon in the layer of the coconut.

Regarding coconut, I find if you can seek out the Asian shelf in the supermarket a packet of desiccated coconut is 1/2 the price of the smaller packet found in the baking aisle.

I’d like to thank my talented friend for Rikke Lunnemann for sharing her recipe.  Rikke makes the most beautiful jewellery from her studio in Denmark log in and view her stunning meaningful designs.

Danish Dream cake (Drømmekage fra Brovst)
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
A lovely light vanilla cake topped with a caramel coconut layer. Delicious served as a dessert, coffee cake or as part of an afternoon tea.
Recipe type: Cakes
Cuisine: Danish
Servings: 12
  • 115g butter, chopped
  • 185ml milk
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 185g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • To serve optional additions
  • Fresh fruit
  • double cream or crème fraîche or ice cream
  • Coconut topping
  • 150g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 250g (1 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 60ml (¼ cup) milk
  • 200g desiccated coconut
  1. Line and grease a 25 cm x 25 cm tin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Cake
  4. In a stand-alone mixer add the sugar and the eggs and beat until white and fluffy, this will take about 10 minutes.
  5. While this is beating over low heat and in a small pot melt the butter and milk, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted.
  6. You can pop the ingredients into a bowl and microwave the milk and butter for a couple of minutes. The temperature should be warm you can pop your pinkie in, often referred to as blood temperature.
  7. Stop the mixer and add the salt and the vanilla bean paste and beat for a few seconds or until the ingredients have combined.
  8. Using a large metal spoon and add ⅓ of the flour at a time and fold the flour into the egg and sugar mixture.
  9. Add in the baking powder with the last ⅓ of flour.
  10. Fold until just incorporated, don't overmix just bring everything together.
  11. Add in the milk mixture and stir until incorporated.
  12. The cake batter will be very runny, pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  13. Bake the cake for bake for 20-25 minutes, the cake is ready when a toothpick or skewer is inserted and it comes out clean.
  14. While the cake is baking make the coconut topping, place butter, brown sugar and milk in a medium pot, one that will allow the full amount of coconut to be stirred through.
  15. On a very low stir and allow the butter, milk and sugar to dissolve.
  16. Once the sugar has dissolved add the coconut
  17. Increase the heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, this takes less than a minute.
  18. Remove the pot from the stove and set aside.
  19. Once the cake has been cooked remove the cake from the oven, turn the oven to 210°C.
  20. Gently dollop mounds of the coconut topping over the cake, then using a fork gently rake the coconut into an even layer.
  21. Put the cake back into the hot oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the coconut is a light cappuccino colour and is starting to crisp.
  22. Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  23. Once cooled remove the paper from the cake and serve plain, with cream,crème fraîche or ice cream and a handful of seasonal fruit.
The topping can be halved if you want a thin layer on top but we loved the half ratio, it made the cake more indulgent.
The the cake can be served after lunch or dinner as a dessert, if you are using the cake for a dessert I would make the full topping recipe.

The cake was still fresh a couple of days later in a cool house.
Enjoy a taste of Denmark at home.

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