Dannebrog is the name of the Danish flag and it is the oldest flag in the world. According to legend, the flag had fallen from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse in 1219 and the flag was first recorded on a seal in 1397. Still today, the Danish flag is treasured by the Danish people and is displayed freely at any given occasion, or at no occasion at all. It was very fitting when I made this cake because it just happened to be on my fathers 75th birthday and today that I am posting this, it is my mothers birthday as well. And so “Tillykke med fødselsdagen Far og Mor”!
On Danish TV there is a show called Den Store Bagedyst and it’s almost exactly like the British show The Great British Baking Show, which you may have seen on American TV. Every week the show posts a challenge to the viewers to recreate a particular baked item and this Flag cake is from that challenge.
The biggest problem I encountered with this cake, was without a doubt, the gelatin. First, I didn’t have the gelatin sheets which the original recipe called for, so I used gelatin powder instead. Nothing wrong with gelatin powder, but it is always better to use the recommended ingredient whenever possible. As far as the conversion from gelatin sheets to gelatin powder, it is not an exact science and a controversial subject. So I did a little research and came up with this: approx 3 1/2 sheets of gelatin = 1 envelope (7 gram/envelope) gelatin powder. So in the original recipe they called for 7 1/2 sheets and I used 2 envelopes gelatin powder which I figured was close enough. The result was actually good, it was not the intended outcome, but good nonetheless. In the original recipe, after cooling the lime cream they took it out and beat it with a hand-mixer until the cream thickened up. After cooling, my cream was the right thick consistency but I still took a hand-mixer to it, and on low speed I gave it a quick mix just to loosen it up a little. Also, the process I used to dissolve the gelatin powder is not the typical way of doing it, but again, it turned out fine. And one more thing, I left the Lime cream overnight in the refrigerator.
The Flagkage was a challenging and fun project. I thought the Lime cream had a wonderful flavor and a really nice creamy consistency, I loved it. The cake was moist, yet firm enough to hold up to the cutting involved. The only complaint I have is that the cake itself could have had a little more flavor, but the Lime cream made up for it. All in all, if I was to make this cake again, I would replace the cake recipe with a Red Velvet cake recipe and then I think the overall result would be excellent.
Dannebrogskage (Flagkage) – serves 12-16
14 gram unflavored gelatin powder (2 envelopes or 0.5 oz)
300 g white chocolate (10.5 oz)
2 vanilla beans
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 liter heavy whipping creme (51 fl oz)
3 limes, organic (zest and juice)
1 vanilla bean
250 g sugar (8.8 oz)
10 g red food coloring, paste (0.4 oz)
250 g unsalted butter, room temperature (8.8 oz)
7 eggs, room temperature
275 g all-purpose flour (9.7 oz)
10 g cocoa powder (0.4 oz)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 deciliter whole milk (3.4 fl oz)
Chop white chocolate finely and place into large mixing bowl. Cut vanilla bean open lengthwise and scrape seeds out onto a cutting board. Sprinkle the 4 teaspoons of sugar over vanilla seeds and using the flat surface of your knife, press the sugar into the vanilla to separate the seeds. Place vanilla/sugar mixture into chopped white chocolate.
Place heavy whipping creme into saucepan and heat to 80 degrees C (176 degrees F), remove from heat. Pour half of creme into white chocolate and stir until chocolate in completely dissolved. Add the remaining half of the creme and stir. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the surface of warm creme and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir gelatin into creme and continue to stir for another 2 minutes, then allow creme to sit for another 3 minutes. Stir in lime zest and juice. Pour creme into a large Ziploc bag, seal and place in in refrigerator. Creme must cool down to at least 5 degrees C (41 degrees F) before assembling cake.
Spray a 23 cm (9 inch) round spring-form baking pan with baking spray. Cut out a round circle of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (330 degrees F).
Cut vanilla bean longways, scrape out seeds, sprinkle with a small amount of the sugar and press vanilla and sugar together to separate vanilla seeds. Place vanilla/sugar back into bowl with remaining sugar.
Beat butter, sugar/vanilla sugar and food color until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at the time, making sure to beat very well in between each egg.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Gradually fold in dry ingredients, alternating with the milk until batter is homogeneous. Pour batter into baking pan and spread out evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Test cake for doneness by using a wooden skewer. Skewer should come out clean when inserted deep into center of cake. Let cake cool down completely before continuing with assembly.
While cake is cooling, cut out two circle of parchment paper measuring 14 cm (5 1/2 inches) and 17 cm (6 3/4 inch).
Once the cake has cooled, cut off the slightly curved top of the cake to level the cake surface out. Then cut the cake horizontally into two even layers. We will call these two layers A and B.
Wash and dry the spring-form pan, set aside.
First take cake layer A and place it back into the clean spring-form pan. Place the 17 cm paper circle onto the center of the cake and using a small sharp knife, cut down through the cake all the way around the circle. Now place the 14 cm circle onto the center of the same cake A and cut down through the cake all the way around the circle. Remove the cake which was in between the two circle, this will form an open “ditch” or space which will later hold the lime cream. You should now have an outer ring of cake and a solid center of cake.
Leaving cake layer B on your work surface, repeat cutting out the circles and removing the excess cake to create the “ditch”. This is done the same way we did cake layer A.
Remove cold Lime cream from refrigerator. Using a hand-mixer, give Lime cream a quick little beating, careful not to over-mix. Over-mixing will cause cream to separate. The cream should have a piping consistency. Load cream into two large piping bags, one of which is fitted with a piping tip of your choice. Place bag with piping tip back into refrigerator.
Using the bag without the piping tip first, cut off tip of bag. Start by piping enough cream into the “ditch” or space between the circles of cake layer A. Then pipe a layer of cream out over the entire surface of cake layer A. Using an offset spatula, smooth out cream to the edges of spring-form pan. Carefully place the outer cake circle of cake layer B on top of cream, this forms the outer circle. Then place the center cake circle on top of the cream. Again pipe cream into the “ditch” or space between the two circles. Then pipe a thin layer of cream over the top of the cake. It is fine if you see crumbs through this layer. Place cake back into refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
Once cake has cooled enough to where it can be moved, release spring-form and move cake to your serving platter. Using the piping bag fitted with the piping tip, start decorating your cake in whatever fashion you please. Keep cake refrigerated. Remove cake from refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Den Store Bagedyst