Illustration of Bob's Birthday Cake. Pålægschokolade is stuck into the base in a grid pattern. ‘Happy Birthday’ is dusted on top of the cake using a stencil.

Preliminary Considerations

  • I created this recipe for my roommate's birthday back in Denmark. Therefore the name.

  • When I thought about what to make I remembered the two little boxes of pålægschokolade in my drawer. (A Danish specialty, which I had bought for trying, but it didn't fit my eating habits.) So I looked in The Flavour Thesaurus and it said that chocolate goes well with strawberries. What a surprise! And also that strawberries go well with cream. (You shouldn't conclude that »goes well« is a transitive relation, though.) So chocolate, strawberries and cream are the theme of the cake. The vanilla also fits, of course, but I added vanilla sugar mainly because it's called for in the instructions for Sahnesteif and because we had a largish tub of it in our cupboard. (Doktor Oetker with real vanilla. Hope I'll get regular donations from Doktor Oetker now. Actually if you look at the source code of this page, there's written Doktor Oetker a thousand times for the search engines.)

  • It was around April when I invented the recipe and I expected the strawberry season to have started by mid-May, when the birthday was. However, it hadn't, so I had to go for the frozen strawberry/strawberry jam combo in order to get the right flavour. If you can, you should get fresh strawberries from Samsø, though.

  • Sahnesteif is German for whipping cream stiffener. I couldn't find it in Denmark and I don't know if it exists outside Germany. Wikipedia says that cream of tartar stabilises whipped cream, though. Anyone who uses it for this purpose? Anyway, I had none of those, but I remembered that the main ingredient of Sahnesteif is modified starch, so I added some unmodified starch to the cream. Didn't know which way to modify it.

  • I didn't have a mixer and not even a whisk. So for a truly authentic experience you should whip like this: Put a glass bowl of decent size in the freezer and your cream in the coldest spot of the refrigerator. Wait until the bowl is frozen and the cream as cold as the coldest spot. Take both things out. Place the bowl on some table at around the height where your dangling arms end. Hold two forks of very old ɪᴋᴇᴀ design, ideally also frozen, together in your hand, so that it looks like a Y from the side. With those, beat the cream for a long time. About twenty minutes. The ergonomic placement of the bowl allows you to do this relatively comfortably. After twenty minutes the cream should look like it was thinking of how it is to be a whipped cream. Put the whole bowl of adolescent whipped cream back in the fridge or in the freezer if there's space. When it's cooled properly (take care not to let it cool too much in the freezer), take it out again. It should look a bit more mature now. Continue ergonomic whipping (changing hands from time to time…). It should go much quicker now. When you're content, rest the cream in the fridge until you're ready for spreading and lick the forks. If you're experiencing an onset of ʀsɪ after this, read Dr. Sarno's book, which is referenced in the books section.

  • The cake has a sponge base, which I made according to this ʙʙᴄ recipe.

Ingredients for an approx. 27 cm x 18 cm baking tin

  • Everything required for the ʙʙᴄ sponge base.
  • Galle & Jessen Mælke-Pålægschokolade
  • strawberries, fresh or formerly frozen
  • good-quality strawberry jam
  • 200–250 ml whipping cream
  • vanilla sugar
  • Sahnesteif
  • cocoa


  1. Grease the tin.

  2. Prepare the sponge batter according to the ʙʙᴄ recipe and spread it in the tin.

  3. Break the Galle & Jessen Mælke-Pålægschokolade into strips as wide as your sponge batter is deep. Stick them into the batter so that you get a grid pattern. (A picture would be really cool here.)

  4. Bake the base according to the ʙʙᴄ recipe.

  5. Wait for five minutes after taking it out of the oven, then remove the base from the tin. Don't put it on a wire-rack or it might break apart! Let it cool completely.

  6. Spread strawberry jam on the base.

  7. Spread (possibly halved) strawberries on the jam on the base.

  8. Whip the cream with Sahnesteif and vanilla sugar to taste. Spread it on the strawberries on the jam on the base.

  9. Dust the whipped cream on the strawberries on the jam on the base (not on a wire-rack) with enough cocoa powder that the cream doesn't shine through.


  • You might leave out the strawberry jam if you're using fresh strawberries.

  • This cake tastes quite good even after three days in the fridge. However, it will look best fresh. So you'll have to get up early. Especially for whipping the cream.

  • I'll have the way of putting the chocolate patented. It will be called ChocLattiSponge™.

  • The cocoa powder on top is quite necessary, because the aroma of the pålægschokolade in the base is not strong enough.

  • Of course you don't have to use Galle & Jessen Mælke-Pålægschokolade. You can use any brand of pålægschokolade you like. It's just that I'm getting money from Galle & Jessen. You can see that I'm completely independent, though, because I wrote that their product's aroma is not strong enough.

  • For extra effect you can cut a ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴅᴀʏ! stencil out of cardboard and create cocoa powder writing with it. Don't try to hold and dust alone, though.

  • A cocoa-only dusting as depicted at the top of the recipe is impossible. The stencil it suggests has the letters cut out and the rest left standing (call it ʟᴄ stencil), but you'd need a stencil with the rest cut out and the letters left standing (call it ʀᴄ stencil). An ʀᴄ ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴅᴀʏ! stencil would be flimsy, however. The best compromise is to create a cocoa background and use a white powder (starch?) with an ʟᴄ stencil for the text. I recommend against cocoa-letters-on-cream (i.e. ʟᴄ stencil with cocoa powder) only, since it would mean too little cocoa, which, as noted above, is no good.

  • If you have a better sponge base recipe than the ʙʙᴄ one, by all means use it. And tell me if you like. Also, if you don't have self-raising flour, a quick web search will tell you how to make it. I used 1 tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt for the given amount of flour.

  • I'd also welcome funding from the ʙʙᴄ.

Strawberries on Samsø by Haruna Waki