A super moist spice cake laden with wholesome oats and topped with a coconut broiled icing!? Yes, please! This riff on the traditional Danish Dream Cake is THE cozy casual treat you're going to want with your afternoon coffee, especially during the cooler months of the year.
The good news is that this cake is really easy and comes together in no time. And I'm going to walk you through the process step by step below! READY? Let's make cake!
Why This Recipe Works
- The addition of oats in the batter brings a welcome texture and an exceptional moistness to the cake;
- Cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth and cozy fall flavor; and
- The broiled coconut icing is cinch to make and creates a pleasantly chewy-crisp contrast to the tender cake underneath.
How to Make This Recipe
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the middle position. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugars together in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed using the paddle attachment until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture followed by a half cup of the milk. Working steadily, add the second third of the flour mixture and the remaining half cup of milk. Finally, add the final third of the flour mixture and the oats.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven, make the frosting. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the mixture is bubbly and cohesive, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and the coconut and cook until the mixture begins to bubble again, another minute or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once the cake comes out of the oven, change the heat setting to "Broil". Leave the oven rack in the middle position.
- Pour the warm coconut icing over the cake and spread evenly using an offset or rubber spatula.
- Return the cake pan to the oven and broil until the icing is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't over brown! Some broilers are hotter than others and the process can happen very quickly. I keep the oven door propped open and watch it the entire time.
- Cool and serve!
- Mix the butter and sugar together thoroughly until light in color and fluffy. This helps create a lighter, fluffier cake.
- Mix in the dry ingredients and milk in on low speed until just incorporated. Over mixing once the dry ingredients are added can lead to tough rather than tender cake.
- Leave the oven rack in the middle position when broiling the cake. Oftentimes when we use the broiler, we move the oven rack up to the top. That is WAY too close to the heating element for this cake and will cause it to brown too quickly and unevenly and possibly even burn. Leave the rack in the center.
- Keep a close eye on the cake while it is broiling and rotate the pan as needed. It's best to crack the oven door slightly and watch the cake broil the entire time it's in the oven to prevent over browning. If the cake is browning unevenly, feel free to rotate the pan as necessary to help even out the color.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the cake. This helps the slices cut more cleanly.
While there are many Danish baking recipes with a long history behind them, the Dream Cake is a relative newcomer. It rose to popularity in the 1960s when a Danish schoolgirl entered the recipe (her grandmother's) in a baking competition and won. This caught the attention of large food company, and the recipe eventually found its way into a mainstream cookbook and into the hearts (and stomachs) of Danes throughout the country. Danish Dream Cake is typically a soft, vanilla cake topped with a layer of caramel-y coconut icing that is either baked or broiled on top.
Instead of a soft vanilla cake as a base, this version starts with a cozy spice cake that includes a cup of rolled oats. The oats bring a welcome texture and extra moistness to the cake.
Leftovers of this cake keep well at room temperature, tightly wrapped in plastic, for a couple of days.
Yes! Absolutely. Either freeze the whole cake (wrapped tightly in plastic and then covered with foil) or cut the cake into squares and wrap each square separately with plastic wrap before transferring the wrapped squares to a freezer bag or other freezer-safe storage container.
Looking for more easy cake recipes to go with your afternoon cup of coffee? I've got you covered:
Danish Dream Cake with Oats and Warm Spices (Drømmekage)
- For the Cake:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- For the Coconut Icing:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- Pinch of fine salt
- 3 tablespoons cream
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle position. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Combine the sugars and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until thoroughly combined.
- Reduce the speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture followed by one-half of the milk. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and the remaining half of the milk mixture. Mix in the last of the flour mixture until just incorporated. Gently mix in the oats.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- About 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the icing: Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring constantly until bubbling. Add the cream and coconut and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once the cake comes out of the oven, immediately spread the coconut topping evenly over the top of the warm cake. Set the oven to broil, leaving the oven rack in the middle position. Return the cake to the oven and broil until the coconut mixture is browned and bubbly, rotating the pan as needed, about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cake while it is broiling to prevent it from over browning (I leave the oven door propped open slightly and watch it while it broils). Cool to room temperature and serve.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Danish Dream Cake and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.