Dream cake is perhaps the most quintessential Danish cake. When it was first created in the early 20th century in Northern Jutland, close to where my mother grew up, it was a luxurious treat only served at special occasions like weddings or birthdays. Shredded coconut was expensive as was vanilla, so this cake really was something special. Growing up dream cake had become so mainstream you would see it in pretty much every bakery, there was a packaged cake mix and I have eaten so many bad dream cakes that in the end, I had quite forgotten how lovely it is when made well.
A few years ago I found the original recipe online and after baking it I fell madly in love with it again. Along the way I began to adapt it, very slightly in the beginning, a little more salt, vanilla seeds from a vanilla bean rather than extract etc., and after a while I began adding different flavourings as well as swapping out different nuts, oats and seeds in the gooey topping of the dream cake.
After all a dream cake is in all its simplicity a light, melt in your mouth sponge topped with a gooey caramel with shredded coconut.
This version here was inspired by vacations in Thailand. In this bitter cold I dream of Southeast Asia, so it felt right to add some of the flavours I love so much to a "dream cake".
I baked the cake in a 24,5cm/10" cake tin, but it is more often baked in a 20x30cm/8x12" rectangular pan. If you do so, just double the recipe.
Ginger and lemongrass dream cake with green tea
Adapted from Østergaardskagen
100ml whole milk
5g chopped ginger
5g chopped lemongrass, white part only
2 large eggs, at room temperature
150g granulated sugar
125g all-purpose flour
1,5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
50g unsweetened, shredded coconut
125g granulated sugar
1,5 tsp. food grade matcha green tea
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 24cm cake pan with parchment paper, set aside.
Melt butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, add ginger and lemongrass and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Sieve and discard lemongrass and ginger pieces. Bring the milk mixture up to a rolling boil, then remove from heat.
Whisk eggs and sugar with the salt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until very pale and airy. Sift flour and baking powder over the egg mixture and gently fold to incorporate, followed by the milk mixture. Don't overwork the batter, you want to keep as much air in as possible.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 20 minutes in the oven. Meanwhile prepare the topping by adding all ingredients to a saucepan over a low heat. A minute or so before the 20 minutes are up, bring the topping to a boil, remove the cake from the oven, turn the heat up to 225C, and spoon the topping over the cake. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Share with friends or eat all by yourself.