Danish Layer Cake (Dansk Lagekage)
Traditional Danish Layer Cake has creamy vanilla pudding and raspberry jam layered between homemade yellow cake. The whole thing is smothered in luscious buttercream frosting!
When I was growing up, I loved it when my mom made me Danish Layer Cake for my birthday.
Her side of the family is from a town called Racine, Wisconsin (home to Danish Bakery legend O&H), so Danish Layer Cakes were part of the fabric of her childhood.
She made things easy by starting with a boxed mix, but I’m returning this cake to it’s full glory with full-on from-scratch status.
How to Make a Danish Layer Cake
Start by making a yellow cake batter and divide it between two (2) 8-inch round cake pans. You can use 9-inch pans but it won’t work as well. If you don’t believe me, just email me and I’ll send you photographic evidence.
When they are cool, you slice each lengthwise. You’ll have 4 layers of cake.
Then, you assemble in this order:
Top the whole cake with luscious buttercream frosting. My mom used to use Cool Whip, but you just can’t compete with classic buttercream!
I’d love to say I’ll save you a slice. But I’d be lying.
Danish Layer Cake
Authentic Danish Layer Cake has vanilla pudding and raspberry jam layered between soft yellow cake and is topped with lots of luscious buttercream frosting!
For the yellow cake:
For the pudding:
- 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
- 2 cups cold milk
For the buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Pinch salt optional
To assemble the cake:
- 1 small jar seedless raspberry jam see notes
- Fresh raspberries for garnish optional
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans, then line parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the whisk attachment, beat together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter in to the flour mixture one piece at a time. Continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, 1 to 3 minutes total.
Add the milk mixture to the mixer and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 3 minutes longer. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to make sure the batter is fully combined.
Divide the batter evenly between both pans, gently tapping the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry with a few crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking time.
Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around the inside of each pan to loosen, then flip the cakes on to a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, then flip the cakes right side up to cool completely, about 2 hours.
To make the pudding:
In a small bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Chill at least 10 minutes.
To make the frosting:
In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream butter until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add 4 cups powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt (if using). Continue mixing 2 to 3 minutes longer. If the frosting seems too soft, add the remaining powdered sugar 2 tablespoons at a time.
Cover and refrigerate the frosting until assembling the cake, up to 1 week in advance.
To assemble the cake:
Cut each cooled cake in half lengthwise so there are four layers of cake total.
Arrange one cake layer on a serving platter. Top with half the pudding and a second cake layer. Top with raspberry jam followed by a third cake layer. Spread the remaining pudding and top with a final cake layer.
Frost the cake with buttercream and garnish with fresh raspberries if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
- Sometimes seedless jam is hard to find. I found this brand at my local Target ($3.49 each). Raspberry jam with seeds in it may be substituted for the seedless jam.
- 1 yellow boxed cake mix, prepared according to package directions, may be substituted for the homemade yellow cake.
- 1 (16 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed, may be substituted for the buttercream frosting (that's how my mom always makes it).
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