Danish Butter Cake Tutorial

So the other day my darling husband was glancing through the discarded books at the library and came across “Best of Scandinavian Cooking, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish” by Shirley Sarvis & Barbara Scott O Neil.

Danish Butter Cake with Almond Glaze

He flipped it open to see if it looked like something I’d like and read, “There’s one miraculous baker’s treat that gladdened our taste travels throughout Denmark – butter cake!  It’s a feat most Danish homemakers leave to their baker.  But once back at home, we couldn’t resist an attempt to re-create it – so you might share our rapture, and so we could have another taste ourselves!

Every bite tastes like the best part because of all the ‘snav’ (the Danes’ coined term for the oozing rich butter-and-sugar filling).”

Okay with an intro like that how could he not take the book and how could I not try the recipe.  After my first attempt I decided everyone deserves to have this recipe in their hands.  It truly is worth making.  Here it is.

Mix 1/2 cup butter and 2 Tablespoons flour

Roll into ball. I put it into the freezer for a moment before rolling into a 7-inch square. I also put flour on it so it won’t stick to the rolling pin. If you have a better idea please let me know!

scald 3/4 cup milk and add 3 Tablespoons sugar

Mix 3 Tablespoons warm water and 1 package yeast

Combine 1 slightly beaten egg with milk and yeast mixture.

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt and sift or whisk if you don’t have a sifter.

Mix egg/yeast mixture to flour.

Turn dough onto floured counter and mix and roll ou to 7×14 rectangle.

For added help with rolling out the dough Helen has given a suggestion to roll it between waxed paper.  Here are the pictures and detailed instructions she sent me to help in the process.

Put butter onto half of dough. Yeah, my butter cracked up a bit when I was getting it off the pan.

Fold 1/2 dough over.

Then fold in thirds

Into thirds again.  Roll out again and repeat two times.  A bit of work but worth it in the end the dough is buttery flaky good! Now put this into the fridge for 20 minutes and start making the filling and cream.

Filling: cream together 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar

Add in 2 Tablespoons flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Slowly add 3/4 cup scalded milk.

Cook on low heat until thick.

Roll out 1/3 of the dough and place into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. I don’t have a spring form pan and so I used what I have.

My daughter Virginia rolled out the 2/3 dough that was left and took this picture.

Spread all the filling onto the dough.

Then spread 1/2 the cream onto the dough.

Spread the other 1/2 of the cream on the dough in the pan.

Roll up the dough, like for cinnamon rolls, and cut into 10-13 pieces. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the rolled up dough.) Then put the first roll, cut side up, in the center of the pan on top of the dough lined pan. Then fill add rolls around it.

Either beat an egg white or use Just Whites and brush over the top.

Just Whites after mixing.

You can purchse sliced almonds or cut some. Put on top after the egg whites.

Ready to rise. Let rise for 40 minutes or so in a warm place. Bake 35 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

This has been pulled from the oven and cooled down a bit.

Almond glazed. The recipe calls for an orange glaze but that just sounds yuck. So I did a butter cream frosting, add milk to thin it down and added both vanilla and almond extract.

Voila, Danish Butter Cake with Almond Glaze.

Each bite is pull apart soft, filled with goey pudding, and great almond flavor.

Danish Butter Cake Recipe

1/2 cup butter

2 Tablespoons flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup milk, scalded

1 package yeast

3 Tablespoons water (warm for dry yeast)

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pastry Filling: Cream together thoroughly 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pastry Cream: Scald 3/4 cup milk.  In top of double boiler, beat together with a spoon 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until creamy.  Add 2 Tablespoons flour, a few grains of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stirring just to blend. Gradually beat in hot milk.  Place over hot water and cook, stirring vigorously, until mixture reaches boiling point (do not let it boil). Strain through a fine sieve.  Allow to cool; sir occasionally.

2 Tablespoons raisins (my husbands hates them so we left these out)

1 egg white, beaten

3 Tablespoons slivered almonds

orange Icing: Stir together 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel, and 2 teaspoons orange juice.

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the 1/2 cup butter into the 2 Tablespoons flour.  Gather into a ball.  Flatten out into a 7-inch square on a baking sheet.  Place in freezer for 20 minutes.

Stir the 3 Tablespoons sugar into scalded milk; cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle or crumble yeast into water; stir to dissolve.

Combine egg and yeast mixture with lukewarm milk.

Sift flour, measure, and sift again with salt into large mixing bowl.

Add yeast mixture; beat until smooth.

Turn dough onto a floured board and roll into a rectangle 7 by 14 inches.

Loosen butter mixture from baking sheet with a spatula; lift onto one half of the rectangle.

Fold remaining half of dough rectangle over butter; roll out.

Fold over one third of the dough from the left, then one third from the right (as for a letter), and roll out.

Repeat folding of both sides of dough twice more.

Chill dough in refrigerator 30 minutes.  Cut off one third of the dough (return remainder to refrigerator:, and roll out to a circle 10 inches in diameter.  Place ina greased 9-inch spring-form pan to line bottom of pan and form a 1/2-inch edge up the side of pan.

Roll out remaining dough into a rectangle about 9 by 12 inches.  Spread evenly, almost to edges, with Pastry Filling.

Spread half of the Pastry Cream over Filling.

Sprinkle with raisins.

Starting with long side, roll up as for jelly roll.

Spread remaining Pastry Cream over dough lining spring-form pan.

With a sharp knife, cut roll into 10 slices.  Place one slice, cut side up, in center of pan.  Arrange remaining slice around center slice to fill pan.

Gently brush tops with beaten egg white.  Sprinkle with almonds.

Allow to rise in a warm place 40 minutes or until light.  Bake in a moderately hot oven (375) for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to wire rack to cool.  While warm, drizzle Orange Icing over top.  Allow to cool partially before cutting.  Slice into wedges to serve.  Makes 12 servings.

The author finished off the recipe with this: “We couldn’t resist a final binge at our most cherished Copenhagen pastry shop, an indulgence that almost caused us to miss the ferry to Sweden.  Two handsome policemen at the docks noted our frenzy, stopped traffic, and personally escorted us, our car, and our bulging pastry sacks aboard a boat bound for Malmo”.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helen
    Dec 06, 2013 @ 00:12:44

    I happened on your recipe for Danish butter cake yesterday. Today I made it and went to heaven 🙂 Regarding the butter/flour paste which you rolled out with much trouble with a rolling pin, may I suggest that you put the blob between two sheets of wax paper and spread the paste with your hand to a 7-inch square, using a spatula to keep the edges straight. Once chilled, the wax paper peels off quite cleanly, but let it set at room temperature before removing the wax paper until it becomes flexible so that it doesn’t crack while working with it. Hope you find this helpful. And many thanks for the excellent recipe! I took pictures of my process if you would like me to e-mail them to you.


  2. Helen
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 04:35:26

    I would be happy to email the pictures. What address would I send them to? Of course you can post them on this blog to share with others. I’m delighted that you find my idea for the butter paste helpful. Thank you.


  3. Trackback: Danish Butter Cake Tutorial – Addition | Post Partum Progression

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