Baker's Corner: Swedish Coffee Cake

Hej! (That's hello in Swedish). That's about all I know in Swedish, and I had to look that up on Google. But I have Swedish in my blood (25% of it). My grandma (on my mom's side) was Swedish. She brought many Swedish sweets into our family, especially for the holidays. You may have heard me mention pepparkaka before - see post.

Well, another Swedish tradition in our family was my Grandma Norma's Swedish coffee cake. She'd make it practically every weekend. She didn't have a recipe - she'd just take a bit of this and a bit of that and throw it all together. And it always turned out.

I really enjoy this coffee cake - I like mine with raisins. Then there is the crunchy pearl sugar on top and the cardamon spice. Lather on some butter - hmm hmm hmm.

Jan and Heather (top left), Grandma Norma (top right)

As a child (I'm not sure how old I was, maybe 8 or 9 years), I decided we should record grandma's recipe. So I spent the day with her making coffee cake and try to take measure of the recipe as we baked. The recipe isn't too far off, although we're still trying to perfect it.

Mom and I decided to make it together this Christmas. It turned out pretty good. In fact, we have a Swedish friend here right now and when I asked how it compared to bread back home, he said it was "very similar, and good!" Booya!

If you want to give it a try, I've written out the recipe below (with improvements upon the original that I noted as we made it the other day).

Njut! (Enjoy in Swedish)

 Swedish Coffee Cake

Grandma Norma's Swedish Coffee Cake


  • 2 tablespoons fresh active yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cardamon
  • 4-1/2 flour
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raisins, optional
  • 1/2 to 1 cup walnuts, optional (for top)
  • 1/2 cup large, pearl sugar (for top)


In a medium bowl mix together yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit.

Meanwhile, in a pot, warm up the milk over medium-low heat. When milk is warm, add butter. Let melt together, then pour into yeast mixture. Mix together.

Next, add eggs and cardamon. Slowly start to add the flour. Once combined, cover with a towel. Let is sit for at least 30-45 minutes. To help it raise, you can put it in a low oven (100F or so).

Spread flour on the surface and knead dough. Add raisins, if desired, while kneading. Put dough back into the bowl, cover with towel, and let raise again. Probably about 45-60 minutes.

Cut dough in half, and braid into two loaves. Let raise for 45-60 minutes. Then stir eggs, and brush lightly over loaves. Sprinkle walnuts and large/pearl sugar on top.

Place in 350F oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Note: I'm trying to decide on the last raise, when it's braised, if you should do the egg wash and sugar then let it raise, or put it after it's raised. This time when I did the egg after raise, it lost some of it's volume and was slightly more dense. Let me know your results!