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Denmarks sweet indulgence, Sarah Bernhardt cakes

I was reminded of these delicious and slightly decadent treats a few weeks ago when Queen Magrethe II of Denmark abdicated and her son, the now King Frederik IX took over. It was quite an event in Scandinavia as a whole, but especially in Denmark.

Photo credit Adrienne Murray Nielsen

Denmark's most famous and celebrated bakery, Conditori La Glace, created a very special cake for the dessert of the royal banquet and it was surprisingly similar to Sarah Bernhardt cookies. Every new reign sees a new patisserie added to the menu and this indulgent decadence is a florentine biscuit with a hazelnut praline topped with a chocolate cream (rather like a mousse but heavier), all dusted in gold (naturally!) and topped with a toasted hazelnut disc and three types of chocolate. I think it might be a cake to share! Maybe a little richer than a Sarah Bernhardt kage, but nonetheless from the same genius bakers. Sarah Bernhardt kager are deliciously indulgent macaroon cookies topped with a dome of chocolate truffle and covered in dark chocolate. Perfect with a coffee!!

But why Sarah Bernhardt? I remember asking the same question when I tasted these delights on one of my first visits to Norway. Sarah Bernhardt was not Danish, so why is there are famous Danish cake named after her? Bernhardt was born in Paris in 1844 and never really wanted to be an actress but become one of the world's most famous and celebrated stars. By 1911 Sarah was world famous and when it was Copenhagen's turn to host the star the whole town turned out to welcome her. It was such an event that master baker Johannes Steen of Axeltorv invented a cake in her name and it's been one of Scandinavia's favourites ever since.

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