Dream cake with barley & berries

Dream cake with barley & berries

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

Over fifty years ago a lady living in Jutland, Denmark, invented the original recipe for this cake. Her granddaughter named it drømmekage, which means ‘dream cake’, and entered it into a baking competition. The cake won and somehow the news spread like wildfire. It’s now one of the most consumed cakes in Denmark. An ambassador of accessible new Nordic dishes, Mia Irene Kristensen, adapted the cake by substituting the coconut in the original version with barley to make it a little more traditionally ‘Nordic’. The cake is indulgent: a sponge using cream on the base contrasting with a chewy caramel topping! You can use full-cream milk instead of the cream.


Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
90g unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200ml pouring cream
175g fresh or frozen red-or blackcurrants, or blueberries
cream or custard, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
180g unsalted butter
60ml full-cream milk
300g soft brown sugar
175g barley flakes or rolled oats
3 teaspoons dark malt, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and cream. Fold in the currants or berries.
  4. Pour the dough into a 20 cm round springform cake tin. (You can use a larger cake tin, but bear in mind to reduce the cooking time.) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is firm to touch.
  5. About 5 minutes before the cake is ready, make the topping.
  6. Mix together all the ingredients for the topping in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring, until it bubbles slightly.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and increase the temperature to 220°C.
  8. Pour the caramel over the cake then return it to the oven for 5–7 minutes, until you see it set and start to turn dark brown at the edges. Allow the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes before running a knife around the edge and releasing the springform. Cool and allow the topping to set before cutting into slices. Serve with cream or custard.
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