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Æblekage is an easy Danish dessert made from layers of applesauce and toasted crumbs.
Æblekage is an easy Danish dessert made from layers of applesauce and toasted crumbs.

Æblekage: A Crummy Dessert

Nov 21, 2013

Do you know what’s been keeping me up at night lately? Believe it or not — bread crumbs. No, I haven’t been snacking in bed — my worries are a product of a “waste not, want not” lifestyle. Over the last year, my husband and I have managed to accumulate an indecent amount of dried bread. I’d be ashamed to tell you how much we have. Some of it goes in Mike’s favorite hamburger mixture, some of it gets used in bread pudding, but a few crumbs scattered here and there really don’t put a dent in the problem. 

I’d like to ask you all for advice, but I suspect that a bread crumb avalanche is not something most people have to worry about. So instead, I’m turning to my ethnic heritage for a way to chip at the problem.

Up in Viborg, they often serve æblekage as a dessert for their annual Taste of Denmark dinner. Æblecake means “apple cake” in Danish, but there’s no cake involved here. This dessert consists of layers of toasted, sweetened bread crumbs, applesauce and a generous dollop of whipped cream. It’s an ideal dessert for frugal people, it’s easy to make and it tastes pretty good, too.



Adapted from Delectably Danish: Recipes and Reflections by Julie Jensen McDonald

2 cups crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Red jelly or jam (optional)

Place crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a pan and cook until crumbs are brown. Add a layer of crumbs to the bottom of a glass serving dish, followed by a layer of applesauce. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

Whip cream together with two tablespoons of sugar and spread it atop the crumb-applesauce concoction. If you’re feeling fancy, dot the top with red jelly or jam.

Refrigerate if you want a soft dessert, or serve immediately if you like your crumbs crunchy.


02:37 pm - Thu, November 21 2013
Heidi said:
This looks like something even I can make!
01:50 pm - Sat, November 30 2013
Rachel said:
I need to find myself a bunch of breadcrumbs & make this ASAP!
01:39 pm - Mon, March 17 2014
Lise said:
This dessert is awesome, and it's not just in Viborg they make it, it's all over Denmark a very loved dessert. Like the pebernødder, it can start a discussion/argument, because everyones mom or grandmother makes the best sweetened breadcrumbs for it ;) MY mom makes it with nuts and uses a lot of real vanillabeans for the applesauce as you call it (apples boiled with a bit of sugar and vanilla and mashed). Thanx for sharing.
05:19 pm - Mon, June 9 2014
Edith Howland said:
I think this is what I have been looking for. My mother was Danish, Born in Denmark. Didn't leave me this recipe. Thank You. Edith
05:33 pm - Thu, January 22 2015
Karen Gladen said:
My mother was first generation American Danish. Throughout my childhood, she would make this dish, but my siblings and I couldn't say the name correctly, so we lovingly referred to it as "apple crap". We all loved it, but none of us ever thought to ask her for the recipe - she just made it from memory and now she is gone. Thank you for posting this!!
08:47 am - Mon, November 21 2016
Catherine said:
My Danish grandmother, Bestimor, (sp?) used to make this when I was a kid. It was never Thanksgiving without it. I've made it almost every year since 2003 for our Thanksgiving, unfortunately always having to hunt for her recipe because I've moved several times :) Appreciate your having it here as I'm making it again this year. On a side note, my other grandmother was Yugoslavian and used to make her filo dough goodies for the holidays so between the two sides of the family, a lot of yummy deserts! I even have my great grandmother's handmade rolling pin that was used to make the homemade filo dough on a round table. thanks for the recipe!
03:20 pm - Fri, April 7 2017
Sandra Hansen said:
I live in New Denmark which is the largest Danish community in Canada. I layer the crumbs, apple sauce and cream and continue layErin. Then you get cream with every bite. I use cool whip instead of whipped cream. ..Guess the "old Danes" wouldn't think that was appropriate!
01:00 pm - Thu, July 19 2018
Dave said:
Everyone! Come to Danish Days in Viborg, SD! Held every 3rd weekend in July. This year is our 125th anniversary. It's always a great time!
03:24 pm - Tue, September 18 2018
janine kelly said:
My grandmother (who came from Denmark as a child where her family opened a bakery in NYC)_ used Zwyback crumbs sweetened with sugar and a dash of almond flavoring. Between layers of crumbs and applesauce she put a thin layer of currant jelly...she put it in an angel food cake pan and turned it out after refrigerating and coated the top with whipped cream and dollops of currant jelly...TO DIE FOR
07:37 am - Sat, November 17 2018
Dan Thomsen said:
Thanks for the recipe... very close to what my mom made. Always loved it.
I have been "assigned" to make this dessert for the 2018 Family Christmas! No pressure... just make sure it is right! Ha!

Abelskiever, Modestapols and other Danish stuff I can not spell are on the menu... of course, Kringle from O & H Bakery too.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Dan Thomsen

P.S. Are you the Julie Jensen from Racine, Wisconsin?
04:21 pm - Thu, December 20 2018
Terree Beal said:
i use graham cracker crumbs instead of breadcrumbs. my grandmother came from Denmark and this recipe along with Danish Kringle were always there at the holidays.
08:57 am - Sat, May 25 2019
Lesley said:
I was taught to make this over 50 years ago at school and have been looking for a recipe. Thank you!
03:20 pm - Sat, December 21 2019
Darlene Close said:
My parents immigrated to Canada from Denmark in 1952 and Mom always made this for Christmas. She cooked our own apples to soft stage instead of sauce. She is gone now, but I have kept up the tradition for 44 years now. I use apple pie filling. Works great!!
05:51 am - Tue, May 12 2020
Lisa said:
I am so happy to find this dessert! My Italian-American mother once found a recipe for Aeblekage in the newspaper. Her recipe called for layers of crunchy breadcrumbs, apple sauce, and thinned raspberry jam. Served with whipped cream, it was heaven. I only remembered her making it a few times and this was nearly 50 years ago, but i have tried to find a recipe since because it was unique and delicious. Thanks for providing it.
04:16 pm - Wed, December 9 2020
Laura E Mason said:
My mother would use Holland Rusks for breadcrumbs after crumbling with a roller pin.
11:01 pm - Mon, January 3 2022
Danish Æblekage means apple cake in Danish. But this isn’t actually a cake at all. It is more like a kind of apple trifle made out of applesauce (homemade optional), whipped cream and buttery sweet roasted breadcrumbs. It is a very traditional Danish (Nordic) dessert and I love it so much, as do many of my family members.

What you need to make this as a dessert for 4-6 people:

Applesauce 32 oz.

Breadcrumbs 10 oz. (1.25 cups)

(seasoned or plain--ready made). Otherwise, dry out bread and crush with rolling pin, food processor or run over with car tire (yes, I did this 1st year of marriage when I made it.) I've been married 25 years so I've come a long way in making these breadcrumbs! ;>)

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

Whipped Cream

16 oz. cool whip or homemade ( 2 @ 8 oz tubs)

Melt the butter in a pan. When it has melted, but not browned, add the crumbs and the sugar. Over medium heat, keep stirring until it all has turned golden. It is slow at first, but all of a sudden it is very quick, so don’t leave it out of your sight. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread it out or put in a glass bowl. Leave it to cool.

Now, all there is left to do is whip the cream, and put the dessert together. Traditionally you would put it in a big crystal bowl, and serve people from there. I like to make individual servings, but either way, you just layer the ingredients.

I start with breadcrumbs then applesauce, and a good dollop of whipped cream. Then another layer of breadcrumbs,applesauce, finishing with whip cream. Layering tip: I put most (applesauce or whipped cream) in the middle and push out to the edge for ease of spreading. And there you have it. It is simple, but oh so good!

Sometimes, for pizzazz, I've added food coloring to a bowl of whipped cream or topped with a dusting of breadcrumbs and/or colored sugars.
06:45 pm - Thu, December 15 2022
Judy Gillaspie said:
My Grandmother made this all the time. Except she made it easier as time passed. Graham crackers instead of the bread crumbs. So it was Graham crackers, applesauce, and cool whip. Mixed all together and dessert was served. DELICIOUS

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