Updated on October 2nd, 2022
AD – Sponsored | Brunsviger is a popular cake in Denmark that originated from Fyn (the island in between Sjælland and Jylland). The cake is topped with a brown sugar and butter mixture, and it can be eaten alone, but it is also common to make a kagemand (cake man) for children’s birthdays and top it with icing and candy. For this recipe, I will be making the regular brunsviger, but I will include tips on how to make the kagemand at the end.
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I love trying out Danish recipes, but I can find them burdensome because I grew up in the US where cups and ounces are used, but here it is always milliliters and grams. I am often having to convert ingredient amounts so that I am able to make the recipe. When it comes to baking, it is important to have accurate measurements. For example, if you have too much flour, the cake can be dry and if you have too little yeast, the cake will not rise. It is also important to have the right amounts of sugar, salt, and any other spices to ensure that the cake actually tastes good. That is where the Culinary School’s Ingredient Conversion Calculator comes in. The conversion calculator makes it easy to convert milliliters to cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. It is also useful if you need to convert ounces to cups.
Another useful feature of the ingredient conversion is that it also includes a printable temperature conversion. When I am following an American recipe, I always have to pull up a temperature conversion in Google because I still have no idea what 350° Fahrenheit is in Celsius (according to the chart it is 180° C). The conversion chart will definitely be helpful to print out and keep in my kitchen. The printable also includes quick measurement conversions with cups, ounces, milliliters, and tablespoons along with weights from ounces to grams.
Now onto the recipe! There are two parts to the recipe, making the dough and making the filling.
- 1 1/3 cups of whole milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh yeast
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of butter
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- Pour the milk into a pot and warm on low heat
- Once the milk has reached a lukewarm (not boiling) temperature, add the yeast and mix to dissolve
- Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl
- Melt the 5 tablespoons of butter either in the microwave or in a pot
- Add the melted butter, salt, sugar, and egg into the mixing bowl and mix together
- Add the flour and mix well into a dough forms. The dough will be sticky
- Set the dough aside to rise for 30 minutes with a cloth covering the mixing bowl
- Once the dough has risen, place the dough in a baking pan. The size of the pan can vary, but I have used ones that were 9 x 13 inches and 8 x 12 inches
- Spread the dough out to fill the pan then cover with a cloth again to rise for another 30 minutes
Filling and Baking
- While the dough is rising again, melt the cup of butter in a pot over low heat
- Add the brown sugar and stir until they are melted together
- Set the pot aside to cool
- After the dough has risen, turn the oven on to 400° F (200° C)
- Poke holes with your finger or a spoon into the dough. The holes do not have to be uniform across the cake, but they should be deep, but not go all the way through the dough
- Spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough and fill in the holes
- Bake for approximately 14 minutes. To ensure the dough is cooked, you can use a toothpick, fork, or knife and if the dough is baked, it will not stick to it
- You can serve the brunsviger warm or let it cool before eating. Enjoy!
- Lukewarm temperature is between 98-105° F or 36.5-40.5° C. You can measure the temperature with a thermometer or you can stick your finger in the milk. If the milk is warm (not cold nor hot), then it is ready to add the yeast.
- I used fresh yeast in this recipe as it is easily available in Denmark in the refrigerated section. However, if you cannot find fresh yeast, you can use 2 teaspoons of instant yeast or 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast. For instant yeast, you do not have to add it to warm milk. Instead, you can add the cold milk and instant yeast directly into the mixing bowl. For active dry yeast, it is debatable whether proofing (the process of adding yeast to warm water or in this case warm milk) is required. You can either add the active dry yeast to the warm milk or add it directly into the mixing bowl, but I have not tested either method.
- The cooking time may vary depending on your oven, altitude, and size of the baking pan used. Occasionally check to see if the brunsviger is done. The dough will become brown in color and the brown sugar mixture will not be liquid. You can always use a toothpick, knife, or another tool to check if it is done baking.
- As I mentioned at the start of the post, you can eat brunsviger by itself, but for birthdays it is common to top it with candy (especially the Haribo Matador Mix), chocolates (the UK version of Smarties), and icing (you can make your own icing by mixing small amounts of lukewarm water with powdered sugar).
- If you are wanting to make a kagemand, after the dough has risen the first time, you can form the dough into 4 small balls for the arms and legs, 1 medium-sized ball for the head, and 1 large-sized ball for the body. The dough will be sticky so I recommend putting flour on your fingers before shaping the balls. You will then place the balls on the baking pan and connect the parts together to form the person shape. Then you will let the dough rise again before baking. After baking, you can decorate the kagemand. Along with candy and icing, it is common to use Malaco Snøre for the hair.
- Along with birthdays, you can also make the brunsviger for a Halloween party and top it with Halloween candy.
If you are wanting to make other Danish desserts, I have shared these recipes on my blog:
- Valentine’s Day Danish Dessert Hindbærsnitter Recipe
- Valentine’s Day Strawberry Shortcake Æbleskiver Recipe
- Danish Rabarbergrød (Rhubarb Porridge) Recipe
- Danish Christmas Klejner (Crullers) Recipe