So this is it. The end of our Secret Recipe Club parties. Yes, sadly, this is the final month for Secret Recipe Club. And I baked a cake as a farewell gift to one of my favorite monthly rituals, season after season.
Friends have asked me why I participate in blogging groups. After all, I do this quite a bit.
Here’s my answer. Food blogging is mostly a solitary gig. We bloggers create recipes, test them in our kitchens, photograph them and re-photograph them ad nauseam, write posts, and get it all formatted and inputted into our blog page. Then comes all the obligatory social media to help people to find our posts. Much of this is done from our homes, and with very few exceptions, completely on our own. We’re a one-(wo)man-show. Hear us roar.
Group blogging events pull us together, if only virtually, to share challenges. It’s a lot of fun to see what others do with the same challenge (like how to make a meal in less than 30 minutes with only 3 ingredients, or to create a unique and memorable three-course meal featuring stone fruit). We have our own group Facebook pages where we share frustrations and joy with equal abandon. When someone asks for help (My code doesn’t work this month for inlinkz, can someone help me?), two or three people, and often more, come to the rescue. Many of us are in several groups together and become familiar faces in the crowd. When it comes to food blogging, there is a HUGE crowd. Several of us have met up for lunch when we visit each other’s towns, and real, non-virtual friendships have sprouted.
But this post is about much more than that. It’s also about the fantastic blog I was assigned to this month – Sid of Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking. Sid is one of the bloggers I hope very much to meet some day. She’s a Dane who loves spicy food, always has cardamom on hand, enjoys having friends over to dinner (especially for Taco Night!), and gets together with the Boat Club every month for cards, board games, and visiting. Her personality bursts from the pages, and she shares a lot of Danish food from her childhood – along with a fair share of Mexican food. I wanted to honor her Danish heritage and make something dessert-y for this final Secret Recipe Club post. I almost made her Fransk Vafler (French Waffles) – and I still plan to, and I love Boston Cream Pie, so I really want to make this recipe from her blog too – yes, I know this isn’t Danish, but all’s fair in love and dessert. But I settled on Lagkage (Danish Layer Cake). I’m so glad I did. Please go check out Sid’s wonderful blog. You’ll be so glad you did too 🙂
In Denmark it’s common to celebrate with a specific type of cake for your birthday, called simply ‘lagkage’ – layer cake. The cake layers are made of sponge cake (think genoise) with fillings in between, usually some combination of whipped cream, apricots, berries, or pastry cream/custard. Kind of like a Danish version of a Princess Cake.
There’s no butter nor milk in this (and many versions) making this an unusually light cake. It bears mentioning some include some butter and/or milk, but many do not. Like a traditional genoise, this cake benefits from being wrapped in plastic and left on the counter overnight before assembling, otherwise you might find it a little dry. If you can’t do that, at least bake it in the morning, wrap in plastic, and leave on the counter for several hours before assembling for a dinner party. You’ll thank me. It’s also wonderful with a basting of flavored simple syrup (a syrup that’s 50% sugar, 50% water). And you’ll thank me for sharing this fantastic cake with you. And now I’m hungry for another piece.
- 1 cup sugar, extra fine granulated
- 3 eggs
- Grated zest from ½ lemon
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pint your favorite custard or pastry cream
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Grated zest of ½ lemon
- Preheat oven to 350˚F, and prepare three 6" cake pans by buttering their bottoms and lining with parchment paper.
- Combine the sugar, eggs, and lemon zest together in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, until the sugar is dissolved into the eggs. Continue to mix on medium-high for a few minutes until it lightens in color, and thickens.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the eggs and sugar one-third at a time, making sure it's well mixed before adding the next third.
- You should have about 3 cups of batter. Divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans, and bake until lightly browned, about 12-13 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the inside of each cake pan, and flip the cake layers out onto a wire rack to cool. Leave the parchment paper on the layers. Cool, wrap in plastic, and leave on the counter overnight, or at least for several hours.
- Make the custard / pastry cream, and warm the jams for easy spreading.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and continue to whip to medium-firm.
- Remove the parchment paper from the cake layers, and spread custard / pastry cream on the tops of two of the layers. Lightly spread the apricot jam on one of the two custard topped layers, and on the layer without custard. Lightly spread the raspberry jam on the other custard topped layer. Gently stack the cake layers, ending with the cake layer without any custard.
- Gently scrape any excess custard and jam dripping between the layers. Top the cake with whipped cream, and using a rubber spatula apply a very thin coating of whipped cream to the sides.