B.A Family workshop: The danish “kagemand” phenomenon. when ugly is the goal.

Right before closing the office for a summer siesta, we celebrated with a danish Kagemand. My tastebuds are somersaulting as I reminisce this silly puff pastry character, how I crave another slice! But since this poor fella is long gone by now, we have no option but to lust over its memory, until the next time. A “Kagemand” is traditionally made to celebrate birthdays, although it is of our opinion that it is a waste to restrict it only to birthdays. The name of the game is to gather all of the members of the family around the bare cake and decorate it together. Candy is the most common form of decor, but if you want to make it as often as we do, it’s probably better to stick to fruit and berries. Some say it’s even better that way (it might have been my mother). But you need the sugar icing though; it’s also the glue that helps the fruit and berries stick to the cake. 

And yes, addressing the elephant in the room, they ARE supposed to be ugly. The uglier, the better. The more good stuff stacked upon it, the better. The more childlike playfulness you can bring to the table, the better. It is not meant to be perfect; in fact, if it ends up looking too good, you’ve done it wrong. This cake is your little island of freedom; it’s no friend of perfectionism. It wants the opposite of you. With that being said, let’s get to it.

Start by making the dough. You’ll need:
2,5 dl water, 100 g butter, pinch of salt, 125 g flour, 4 eggs

Pour water into a saucepan along with a pinch of salt. Add butter and allow to boil slowly. Fold in all of the flour and turn the dough around a couple of times. Let it cool down a little before adding the eggs, one at a time while stirring. Pour the batter into a piping bag (or snip the tip off the end of a freezer bag). Now be creative and squeeze out the dough in the shape that you want. Heat the oven to 220 ° C and bake the “kagemand” for ca. 20 minutes or a little more. It is important that you do not open the oven door when it bakes. Then allow it to cool down a little before “gluing” all kinds of edible craziness to it. The glue is just water and powdered sugar combined to a thick paste. Use only a few drops of water and a lot of sugar.

01. Scandinavian mustard spoon 02. Colander with foot