I’ve been living in Copenhagen for about 8 months and have heard people mention “kransekage” several times, particularly in the November – December timeframe. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, how to make it, or why people talked about it. When we had our Danish friends over for dinner in late November, I asked them about kransenkage because I wanted to know what the deal was with this special cake I kept hearing about.
Our friends explained that if you break down the word kransekage, “kranse” means “wreath” and “kage” means “cake”. Put those two words together and you get “round cake” or “wreath cake”. And that’s what it is – a round cake. Round and tall! It’s a traditional Danish cake that’s usually eaten for special occasions like weddings, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and baptisms. Sometimes Danish people stick little Danish flags into the cake for decoration.
My next question was, “How do I make it?” Our Danish friend told us that her Aunt Else knew how to make it. Needless to say, I was very interested in a cooking lesson on how to make kransekage from an actual Danish person who had made it many, many times! We set up a time for our Danish friends to come by with Else and her sister Irma to show me how to make it. I provided the sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and the egg whites. They provided the marzipan from a local bakery and the special pans for baking the kransekage.
Sure, kransekage is meant for special occasions, but here we were just baking it on a Saturday night! It was a special occasion to me! How often do you get an authentic cooking lesson in a foreign country while making new friends?
Else was mostly speaking Danish, but our friends did some translating for me. For the most part, I communicated with Else by watching and asking questions with my eyes and hands. I’m Italian and talk with my hands anyway!
Else really cranked out these dough logs. She’s a pro!
Game time. I pushed my sleeves and starting rolling the dough. I look so serious when I’m in kransekage caking-making mode.
The dough is rolled out into these specific shaped rings and then baked.
Once they cool, you stack them like so!
You frost the rings like this. We only frosted one ring since we weren’t planning on eating the entire cake. I sent my skat to work with the cake and folks from the Embassy ate it up without frosting. I’m told that the office ate the entire thing in two days. It’s really tasty, especially with a cup of tea or coffee.
Making kransekage was more than making a cake – it was a common love of food bringing old friends together, making new friends, and building memories. Thank you Else and Irma for visiting and sharing your cake-making expertise! I had a blast!