Danish Birthday Cake

3 Laight Street bet. Sixth Avenue & Varick Street

*Please note that this cake was special ordered.

"American birthday cakes are over-the-top and full of sugar," my Danish boss told me randomly in conversation, "In Denmark, when I was growing up, my mom would bake a traditional Danish birthday cake for me. It was shaped like a man and it would be decorated with licorice and candies." 

It was then that I knew that we had to surprise him with a Danish birthday cake for his birthday. The only problem?  I couldn't find a Danish bakery in Manhattan. One would think that you could find anything here! Thankfully, though, I recalled him mentioning a new Danish restaurant in TriBeca called Aamans-Copenhagen which seemed as good a starting point as any. So, I rang them up.

"Hello, would it be possible for me to order a traditional Danish birthday cake? It's the one that shaped like a man with all the different candies on top... We'd need it by 5 p.m. tomorrow. WHAT?! Oh nooooo... There's not enough time? Sigh. Thank you anyway." 

Don't worry—this story has a happy ending. I called them back.

Turns out, there's another traditional Danish birthday cake that's easier to whip together. It's a two-layered vanilla cake (a thinner, denser, and less sweet version) that is slathered with fresh whipped cream and filled with fresh strawberries. Red and white like their beloved national flag. Actually, it's also decorated with tiny paper Danish flags on toothpicks that are punched into the cake. Yes, they sure do love their flag! The cake has this loose, handmade quality that makes it look super special. 

My boss was shooting that day at Pier 59 Studios. As it wrapped, we wheeled the cake on set, birthday candles lit and all, with three buckets of champagne and bigger Danish flags. Everyone waved their little flag and sang "Happy Birthday." For a man who doesn't easily get surprised, we totally got him.

The cake was heavenly. I think it must've brought back a lot of memories because he had three slices. 

*This cake was special ordered at $8.00 per person. The one pictured above was made for 10 people, but it was definitely plenty for about 15 or 20 who just wanted a taste to take part in the celebration at the end of the day.