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Deeply Danish downtime: Danish dream cake

Every Danish kid grows up eating dream cake as an after-school treat and you will find them at just about any bakery. I thought it would be fun to make a version for adults. The super-sweet, sticky coconut topping is the best part and it keeps the cake very moist. I’ve made this in a 23cm square tin, but you could make individual dream cakes by baking in muffin tins and reducing the cooking time by 5 minutes.



245g plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

110g salted butter, at room temperature (plus extra for the tin)

300g sugar (I use organic granulated cane sugar)

1 vanilla pod

2 large eggs, at room temperature

175ml double cream


200g salted butter

100ml whole milk

200g granulated sugar (as above)

300g light brown sugar

200g desiccated coconut flakes (not the sweetened kind, the cake is sweet enough)

1 Make the cake layer: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly butter a 23cm square cake tin.

2 Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Put the butter and sugar in a medium bowl. With the tip of a small knife, split the vanilla pod lengthwise, then scrape the seeds into the bowl, saving the pod for another use. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until it is pale, 3 to 4 minutes.

3 Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two additions of the cream, and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until smooth.

4 Spread the batter evenly in the tin. Bake just until the top is browned and the centre feels almost, but not quite, set when pressed with a fingertip, about 30 minutes.

5 While the cake bakes, make the topping: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the milk and heat until it is simmering. Stir in the granulated sugar and light brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring often. Stir in the coconut. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring almost constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.

6 Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the surface with a wooden skewer. Pour the topping evenly over the cake, using the back of a spoon to spread it into the corners. Return the cake to the oven and bake until the topping is set and has turned a shade or two darker, about 15 minutes. Place the tin on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.



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