Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fødselsdag Fun: Celebrating Birthdays in Denmark

Celebrating a birthday in Denmark means partaking in traditional Danish layer cake.  Topped with creamy frosting and bursting with fresh fruit filling, these cakes are quite the treat. I have been lucky to celebrate two birthdays in Denmark, so I have had my fair share of layer cakes. No Danish birthday (fødselsdag) is complete without one!
This cake was hand-crafted by the one and only Lone, a lovely Dane who I met in 2005 when I was placed as an exchange student in her home.
It didn't take long for us to devour this one.  Yes, it's that good.
Lone and her masterpiece!
Lone can also make a mean batch of bite-sized butter cookies, which are the perfect accompaniment to cake and coffee.  My favorite are the ones on the top right with the large sugar crystals that lace the edges of the cookies.  They are melt in your mouth delicious.
"Tilykke," the phrase on the cake above, is directly translatable to "Congratulations", and "Tillykke med Fødselsdag" is the Danish way of saying "Happy Birthday!" 

The cakes are traditionally adorned with Danish flags.  The nation's flag is used for many festivities throughout the year, and you can purchase small flags for this purpose in just about every market.
Birthday layer cake made by my Danish roommate Sonja, who substituted American stars and stripes in my honor in place of the traditional Danish flags. What a nice touch!
While the baking theme might stop at wedges of layer cake for most birthday celebrations, my friends embraced it full force knowing that baking is one of my great passions. I was lucky enough to receive a selection of baking-themed gifts, including a Meyer's Bakery cookbook, a traditional Danish rye bread recipe and homemade dough starter, many pastries, and vanilla hearts transported to Copenhagen from Sweden's Flickorna Lundgren.  When you have received the cookbook you've been gazing at, a bread starter, and fresh baked goods from an entirely different country, how can your birthday get any better?

I am truly thankful to have experienced two very memorable birthdays in Copenhagen.  And to top it all off, the best part about celebrating your birthday during the Danish summer is that daylight hours continue until around 10 pm.  So you can have your Danish layer cake and eat it in the sunlight too!  
Strolling along the Copenhagen lakes with my trusty blue bicycle, and a heap of baking related treats in my bike basket.  The sun is shining and the winter is long behind us. Life is good. 
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