Rådhuspandekager, Copenhagen

Shrove Tuesday: Four Quirky Danish Pancake Traditions

Photo: Astrid Maria Rasmussen, Copenhagen Media Center

It's that time of year when you don't need any excuses to have pancakes for dinner. In Denmark, the crepe-style pancakes are enjoyed everywhere from the town hall to Tivoli.

Pancakes made with beer? Why not?

Denmark is a country known for its beer brewing so it might be no surprise that making traditional Danish pancakes includes pouring in some beer! Danes believe it makes the dough more crispy. Click here to see a traditional recipe for pancakes with beer.

Danes also enjoy their pancakes either hot or cold and with vanilla ice cream or jam and sugar – or a combination.

Special pancakes for prominent guests

If you are a guest of Copenhagen Town Hall, you most likely will try one of their special pancakes. There is a a longstanding tradition of serving prominent guests and sports stars the so-called 'rådhuspandekager' – 'town hall pancakes'. It's a pancake filled with an orange cream, rolled and with a top layer consisting of apricot jam and baked almonds.

The tradition can be traced back to 1928, and the pancakes have been served to a range of prominent visitors – from the Danish football team when they won the European Championship in 1992 and to Ethiopia's former emperor Haile Selassie.

A plate of pancakes served at Copenhagen Town Hall in Denmark

Photo:Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Pancakes for a cartoon bear

In the Tivoli Gardens theme park there is a pancake house dedicated to a famous Danish cartoon bear called Rasmus Klump. The children's character is known to wear a blue hat and dotted shorts, and he is especially famous for his love of eating pancakes. The cartoon was created back in 1951 as a newspaper strip, and in the stories, Rasmus Klump's mum always makes him a pile of pancakes as big as himself!

In Tivoli both the young and the young-at-heart can enjoy these pancakes.

Read more about Tivoli's Rasmus Klump pancake house here

Rasmus Klump, pancakes, Tivoli
Photo: Tivoli Gardens
Rasmus Klump, pancakes, Tivoli
Photo: Christoffer Anias Sandager

The Danish take on Shrove Tuesday

In the weeks leading up to Shrove Tuesday, most Danish bakeries will serve a special treat called 'fastelavnsbolle'. It is actually not a pancake but rather a round and sweet bun filled with either a flavoured whipped cream or a custard and covered with icing.

Fastelavn is the name of a carnival celebration leading up to Lent. Kids get dressed up and take turns at hitting a barrel to get to the candy inside. Nowadays bakeries are getting inventive with their creations of fastelavnsboller, which means you can try them in many different versions.

Get a traditional-looking fastelavnsbolle at Briancon in Aarhus. You can also try an interpreted version at Alice in Copenhagen. Or perhaps read food blogger Anders Husa's recommendations of the best ones in in the capital of Denmark. 

Person biting in Fastelavnsbolle in Copenhagen
Photo: Mellanie Gandø - Copenhagen Media Center
Fastelavnsboller, Copenhagen
Photo: Daniel Rasmussen, Copenhagen Media Centre
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