What is Hygge? Is it baking Orange Shortbreads with Toddler “Blip”?
It’s funny to see how the Danish expression Hygge has become so popular all over the world.
In lots of magazines, and big furniture stores or even in super markets you will see different items or articles about hygge. This includes how to experience proper Danish hygge or creative the feeling of hygge.
Strangely enough a lot of it seems to turn its focus on tea candles and creating the right atmosphere in your house.
Sometimes when I read articles like this I feel exhausted by just looking at it, as it sounds like experiencing takes quite an effort, or does it?
It is true that you can create a lovely cosy atmosphere with blankets, candles and lots of lovely things, but this in itself does not mean you will have a lovely hyggelig time.
Now, as you may remember I’m Danish, but living here in the UK. I have brought a lot of the Danish traditions with me. One of the things Denmark is well known for is “Hygge”, a form of cosiness. For me “Hygge” is very clearly connected with food and lovely people and a cosy atmosphere.
However, this does not mean you can’t experience “Hygge” even if you are on your own. “Hygge” exist where you create it. If I feel a bit cold and down, nothing makes me happier than comfort food, and I always got a homemade tomato soup on standby in the freezer (so much better than tinned).
I made a batch the other day and froze down in portions, and it was a very good choice as that day Toddler “Blip” wanted a picnic in the park. So, of to the playground we went where he had sandwiches and juice. Sitting on a small towel, (this was to resemble the picnic blanket). He really enjoyed the picnic, and afterwards we played. Yes, I joined in on the playground and it was fun. Luckily, Baby “Flipper” was nice and warm and sleeping in his pram.
When we finally came back home, I was freezing, and needed something nice and cosy to keep me warm, so homemade tomato soup it was. Picnic in October is slightly too cold for me.
Traditional Danish Cake, Dreamcake from Brovst – Drømmekage Fra Brovst
Yes, I’m still waiting for Baby “Flipper” to make its arrival and I’m getting impatient, only because I really wanted to have a natural birth experience… But unfortunately, it now seems that Baby “Flipper” got other ideas and instead I’ll be induced tomorrow morning, which means no water birth for me. Makes me slightly sad, especially as my birth experience with Toddler “Blip” was rather traumatic.
Believe me, I have tried all the tricks in the book to get this labour started, but no luck. Only thing I keep reminding myself off is as long as the baby is healthy, that is all that matters. Also, at least my nausea and throwing up will be over when he comes into this world. Can’t wait for that.
But, I may just try and see if a walk will do the trick. I kind of invited myself over for a cup of tea at a friend’s place. So, I thought, why not bake a cake firstly it is a horrible rainy day, secondly when it rains there is nothing cosier (hyggeligere as you would say in Danish) than a homemade cake!
This cake, I remember from my childhood, I remember it from going to our neighbours and families houses for tea time and I was served. It was such a treat, as my mum (who I obviously love) would never cook anything this unhealthy! Way too much sugar and white flour! I can still see the face she would make if we got served this, almost of fury… we still ate it though.. My mum always was and still is quite health obsessed, sometimes a bit too much, it doesn’t help that she does suffer from a whole range of allergies, but I still love her – to the moon and back.
Now traditionally, this cake does not have the chocolate in the topping, so feel free to leave it out, I just love it as it reminds me of a giant bounty! Also, you could make it without the vanilla, this is traditionally in the cake but it still taste really nice without it.
This cake makes 9 generous pieces, but is easily doubled. What is important is to use a baking tin with high edges, as the cake raises and when you put the topping on it will fall down the side of the cake if not proper contained. Believe me, I have tried this… Not an experience I would like you guys to try.
A Danish expression says, “By experience you become wise, but seldom richer” which is very true.
Apologies for the quality of the picture, but as I’m taking the cake with me to a friend, I didn’t really want to start cutting into the cake. But this is how it looks before it is cooked.
Now, hopefully, next time I write a blog, it will be with the news of the arrival of Baby “Flipper”!
Dreamcake, Drømmekage fra Brovst
Servings 9, generous portions (Total price £2.48 or 28p per piece)
Baking time approximately 25 min.
100 ml Milk (either whole milk or semi skimmed)
25g Butter (preferable unsalted)
150g Sugar (granulated sugar is fine)
2 Eggs (medium)
125g Plain Flour
1 ½ Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Cake Topping: 50g Butter
50ml Milk (either whole milk or semi skimmed)
115g Light muscovado sugar (you can use the dark variety as well, makes it taste a bit more bitter)
25g Dark Chocolate (Optional)
100g Desiccated Coconut (unsweetened preferable)
Start by turning on the oven to 200C (conventional oven) or 180C (fan assisted oven). Then put some baking paper in a small square baking tin 7”x7” or (18CMx18CM).
Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan and warm it up on low heat, until the butter has melted. The mixture should be around 36C warm, so comfortable to touch with your finger. It is important it’s not scolding hot. When melted, turn of and leave.
Weigh off the flour and baking powder in a bowl, and leave it ready to mix into the batter.
In a bowl add the sugar and the two eggs and with electrical mixers, mix until it becomes a white airy sticky consistency. Then add the vanilla extract and give it another mix.
Now, you need to add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture. For the best result, I would recommend sieving it into the mixture then fold it through as carefully as you can. Try to avoid knocking out too much of the air, when the mixture is almost combined slowly fold in the milk and butter mixture (don’t wash the sauce pan).
Make sure there is no flour lumps in the batter, before adding it to your baking tin, and bake for approximately, 20 minutes, or until a knife come out clean if you poke the mixture.
Whilst the cake is baking, you need to make the topping for the cake.
In the same sauce pan you used for the milk and butter earlier, add the butter, milk and sugar you need for the topping. Then on a low heat, make sure the mixture melts together to one mass (make sure it doesn’t burn), add the dark chocolate (if using it) and stir until melted. Now add the coconut and turn the heat up slightly, cook it through until well combined, you don’t want it runny, but not too set either.
When the sponge is baked, take it out of the oven, and turn up the oven with 20 degrees (so 220C conventional oven or 200C for fan oven). Now, spread the topping on top of the cake in an even layer and place it back in the oven for approximately 5 minutes, or until you can see the topping is bubbling all over. It is really important to keep a good eye on the cake at this point in time. You don’t want the topping to burn. When you take out the cake, the topping will be extremely warm, leave to cool and the topping should become more set, but still nice and moist.
Eat it when cooled, I prefer it with a nice cup of tea – back home, as a kid it would be juice or as an adult properly a strong cup of coffee, but as I live in the UK I prefer it with tea. 😊
Bon appetite – as my granddad would have said
These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per August 2017)
To bring down the price, I find buying the coconut at Asian Grocery stores, is a huge saving. But, used Tesco prices as usual for consistency.