Food is a big part of hygge. Since hygge translates to cozy/comfort in English when it comes to hygge+food = comfort food. Everyone has their own comfort foods, often based on what they ate when they were growing up. Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, any kind of hot dish are common ones. One of my favorites is tomato juice and noodles – yes it’s a personal choice.
Hygge is about being kind to yourself, giving yourself and others a break from the demands of healthy living, giving and sharing a treat. Sweets are hyggelige; cake is hyggelight.
“Cakes and pastries make everything hyggeligt, both eating them and baking them. They also bring an atmosphere of casualness to any business meeting.”
One of the most popular and traditional cake shops in Denmark is La Glace. Established in 1870 it is Denmark’s oldest confectionary shop. While they make many cakes, their most famous is the sportskage (sport cake) that they created for the premiere in 1891 of the play Sports Man. Known for its ocean of whipped cream the recipe can be found here.
There are two types of Danish birthday cakes — one for adults and the other for children.
Dansk Fødselsdagskage or Danish birthday cakes for adults consist of three layers alternating with cream, berries, custard, and any other mix-ins of your choosing. The recipe and directions can be found here.
You can see it being made and hear a Danish birthday song:
However, for children a kagemand or kagekone, is in order.
It is a rolled out pastry, decorated to look like a cake man or cake woman. Using chocolate, candy, and icing, the cake child is cut into pieces to enjoy while the children scream in mock fear and the birthday child nibbles on the head. (Paging Stephen King!)
This video shows how to make it but it is in Danish with no subtitles so it will give you an idea how to do it:
You can find the recipe and directions here.
You have to love a lifestyle that includes cake.
Written by Mary Hirsch