Brunsviger is the quintessential Danish food. It is breakfast and party food all rolled into one. As far back as I can remember Brunsviger has been a stable at both breakfast and kids birthday parties. It was the sweet you got after eating the bread portion of Sunday breakfast at my house. It was soft, sweet and gooey with just the right amount of filling. I usually requested one with less topping while my brothers needed the ones drowning in the sweet caramel. My family could always tell which one was mine and I guess my love of bread goes back a lot further than I thought.
For Birthdays I fondly remember the very large baker’s boxes with a Brunsviger cut out either as a man or woman depending on the gender of the birthday kid. It was loaded with gummy candy and licorice and the face and clothing drawn with frosting and a sweet candy like red clear frosting. It had tiny Danish flags adorning it. The birthday boy or girl was always supposed to have the head of the cake.
History of the Brunsviger
But what is a Brunsviger really? It isn’t really possible to translate as the name is thought to be borrowed from a trading town in Germany. It is a traditional yeast bread with a brown sugar topping from Funen (Fyn). You can now find Brunsviger showing up outside the island but it was never quite the same. I find it amazing that regional varieties exist in a small country like Denmark. It first appeared in a cookbook back in 1856 so we can assume it had been around for a bit before that time. There is speculation that the rise of its popularity coincided with the rise of the iron stove which began to show up in Denmark around 1840. This allowed people to make their own at home. We do know that a baker in Odense was already advertising a Brunsviger in 1830. Brunsviger is definitely not a new thing on Funen and we like it that way regardless of where it came from originally we have made it ours.
What makes the Brunsviger topping perfect?
I have been attempting the perfect Brunsviger for years. However, it was not until I read somewhere to add cake cream to the topping that it clicked. Cake cream is very easy to find at all grocery stores in Denmark but I have found it less available in the US and when I do it is often the imported very expensive variety. I have tested the recipe many different ways using prepackaged cake cream and making my own from scratch but as you can see here also tried using Jello instant vanilla pudding. You really couldn’t taste the difference so feel free to take the shortcut and enjoy. Just make sure you let it cool before cutting into it. I got a little impatient and the topping started to run.
Brunsviger from Funen
Yeast bread topped with a sweet and gooey brown sugar topping.
- 1 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1 package active yeast I have not tested quickrise yet
- 3 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding
Brown sugar topping
- 8 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Warm milk . I used 45 seconds in microwave on high. Pour into your stand mixer. Add yeast, stir until dissolved and let stand for 5 min.
In a separate bowl measure out the dry ingredients and mix (flour, sugar and salt)
Add dry ingredients to the yeast.
Add softened butter cut into 1 tbsp pieces to the top of the dry ingredients
With the dough hook mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth. The dough should be quite greasy and
Let dough rest of 20 min in a warm place
While the dough is resting make the topping. Combine milk and instant vanilla jello powder in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Let stand for 5-10min or until thick.
Add dark brown sugar and butter in a 2nd larger bowl and combine until smooth and no butter pieces remain.
Cut 2 into 2 pieces and press into 2 round cake pans. Make sure to leave a higher edge so the filling will not fall off
Add the vanilla jello pudding into the brown sugar butter mixture and combine
Add the topping onto the dough. Spread it out making sure not to let it go over the edges. Let rest for 15 min
Bake for 20-25 min in a 350 degree oven
Let stand and allow the topping to cool before removing from the cake pans and cutting into pieces. If you don't wait at least a while you will loose most of your topping which would be no fun at all. I know it is hard to wait
This freezes really well. We usually eat one and freeze the 2nd if you make it in round cake pans. When ready to eat take out and let defrost then heat up slightly in the oven or if just having a slice in the microwave.
You can also make one large Brunsviger by using a large rectangular cake pan.