On this page, you can find the easy-to-make recipe for the traditional Danish Dagmar Tart (Dagmartaerte) or Danish Butter Cake (Smorkage) as it is also called. This old-fashioned and very traditional Danish cake is based on a delicious butter dough stuffed with smooth vanilla- and cinnamon cream. I have heard before that this cake looks like it is difficult to make. Luckily, that is not true. This cake is actually really easy to make.
So grab you apron and get started.
On this page, I will share the recipe and step-by-step picture guide. Continue reading and see how easy it is to make a homemade Danish Dagmar Tart.
Danish Dagmar Tart or Butter Cake
This traditional Danish cake actually has two different names depending on where in Denmark you are located. If you know Denmark or look at a map, you know that Denmark can be divided into three main parts - Jutland, Fyn and Zealand.
See also: Recipe for traditional Danish cinnamon twist
If you are located in Jutland and Fyn the name of this cake is typically called Dagmart Tart (Dagmar tærte) and if you are located on Zealand this cake is called Butter Cake (Smorkage).
Even though, Denmark only has a population the size of one of a bigger US city we still have several dialects and different names for the same things across the country. The name of this cake is a good example that even though Denmark is a small country, we are still a quite diverse country.
The three parts of a Dagmar Tart (Smorkage)
I normally divide the making of a traditional Danish Dagmar Tart in three main parts and a number of smaller sub-steps. The three main steps are making of tart crust, the cinnamon rolls on top and the stuffing in-between.
Once you learn how to make the three parts, the final assembly of the cake is easy.
In the following section, you can read much more about the steps on how to make this delicious cake. For your convenience, everything is also summarized in a printable recipe further down this page.
Read also: Traditional recipe for Danish birthday cake
Step 1: Butter Dough for Tart Crust and Cinnamon Rolls
You start by making the dough for the tart crust and the cinnamon buns. It is the same dough where 1/3 is used for the tart crust and 2/3 is used for the cinnamon buns. When the dough is assembled and set aside for rising, you continue preparing the vanilla cream and cinnamon cream.
In a large bowl, you add the lukewarm water and dissolve the fresh yeast. If you are using dry yeast then just add this together with the flour. In this recipe, you need 25 grams of fresh yeast, which is about the equal to 1/2 oz active dry yeast, and 1/4 oz instant yeast.
In the bowl, add all the ingredients for the dough and knead everything into a nice and smooth dough. Set it aside and let it rise for 45-60 minutes.
Step 2: Vanilla Cream for Dagmar Tart
I normally make a vanilla cream based on a powder mixture found in most grocery stores. However, you can also make a homemade version based on fresh vanilla beans, milk and sugar. You can find the recipe for the homemade vanilla cream here on my blog. Use the search field on the front page.
Step 3: Cinnamon Cream for Dagmar Tart
The cinnamon filling is super easy to make. You simply just pour the soft butter, cinnamon powder and brown sugar into a small bowl and mix it together. Easy, and done in two minutes.
Step 4: The Dagmar Tart Crust
After the dough has risen, take 1/3 of it and use it to make the tart crust. Use a rolling pin to flatten is out into a circle about 30 centimeter in diameter (11.5 inch).
Transfer the dough into a buttered spring form pan or similar tart pan with tall sides. The diameter of the spring form/tart dish should be about 26 centimeter (10 inch). Make sure that the dough covers the entire bottom of the pan and 1-2 centimeter (2/5 - 4/5 inch) up the sides.
Distribute about 1/4 of the cinnamon cream and vanilla cream on the tart crust. Set the rest of the cream aside for the cinnamon buns.
Step 5: The Cinnamon Rolls
Take the rest 2/3 of the dough and roll it into a flat 30x40 centimeter (12x16 inches) square. First, use a knife to distribute the cinnamon cream on the dough and then use the same knife to add the vanilla cream on the top. Now gently roll the dough on the long side into a long cinnamon roll. Use a sharp knife to cut 3-4 centimeter (1-1.5 inch) thick cinnamon buns.
How to assemble the Danish Dagmar Tart
In this final step, we need to assemble the Danish Dagmar Tart. The tart crust with the vanilla cream and cinnamon cream, and the cinnamon rolls must be put together. This is simply done by distributing the cinnamon rolls on the tart crust and giving them a gentle press on top to flatten them a little.
It is okay that there are some space in-between the rolls. When baked, they will rise up and close the gap.
Now let the cake rise for another 20 minutes before baking it at 200 C (400 F) for about 25 minutes. When baked, let it cool of before decorating it with frosting.
- 25 g fresh yeast
- 1 dl lukewarm milk
- 50 g soft butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 100 g soft butter
- 100 g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 5 dl vanilla cream
- White frosting (icing sugar and water)
- Brown frosting (icing sugar, water and cocoa powder)
- If you are using fresh yeast, start by dissolving it in the lukewarm milk. If you are using active or instant yeast, add this to together with the flour in the next step.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and knead everything into a nice and smooth dough. Set the dough aside and let it rise for one hour. Continue making the cinnamon cream and vanilla cream.
- In a small bowl, add the three ingredients and mix it well together.
- Make the vanilla cream as instructed on the package. If you want to make a homemade vanilla cream, you can find the recipe on www.NordicFoodLiving.com
Assemble the Dagmar tart
- Start by taking 1/3 of the raised dough and roll it into a flat circle large enough to cover the bottom + 2 centimeters up the sides of a buttered spring form pan. You can also use a tart pan with tall sides.
- Distribute about 1/4 of the cinnamon cream and vanilla cream on the tart crust. Set the rest of the cream aside for now.
- Take the rest 2/3 of the dough and flatten it into a 30 x 40 centimeter (12x16 inches) square piece. Distribute first the rest of the cinnamon cream and then the vanilla cream on top.
- Gently roll the dough, with the two types of cream, on the long side into a long and circular sausage.
- Use a sharp knife to cut 3-4 centimeter (1-1.5 inch) thick cinnamon buns. You should be get about 10-12 buns.
- Place the cinnamon buns on the tart crust and give them a gently press so that they stick nicely into the cream. Place them with a little distance. They will rise up and close the gab later.
- Let the Dagmar tart rise for another 20 minutes before brushing it with a beaten egg. Bake it at 200 C (400 F) for about 25-30 minutes.
- When baked and cooled off. Decorate it with white and cocoa frosting.
Was disappointed with the dough crust. found it a little too heavy for my taste. I guess I was looking more for a flakier dough crust. Didn’t care for the cinnamon cream layer, Found it a little overwhelming. Think I’ll try puff pastry and leave out the cinnamon next time..
A Dagmar tart can also be made using normal pastry dough. You can try that if you are looking for the flaky crust.
Hi I am using instant yeast. Do I still add the milk to the dough mixture?
Hi. Yes you add the milk to the dough mixture. And also, mix the instant yeast with the flour instead of the milk. I hope it makes sense. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLivng.com)
What is Lukewarm milk?
Lukewarm milk is just regular milk which has been warmed a little. The temperature should be about 30-40 Celsius (90-100 Fahrenheit) - also sometimes called finger warm. When heating the milk. By heating the milk gives better conditions for the fresh yeast to grow. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
If I make this ahead, can this be frozen before baking?
I have not tried to make this Danish Butter cake in advance. However, I do not see the issue in making it in advance and freezing it for later. Regards Kim (NodicFoodLiving.com)
I like to use this almond filling. instead.. it has the slightest bit of cinnamon but you can eliminate it or add nutmeg or cardamom perhaps.
1 C. almond paste
1 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. butter
1/2 egg white