Swedish Cardamom Coffee Cake

My mother-in-law not only raised an incredible son, she also introduced me to cardamom. Two pretty amazing gifts I continue to be thankful for.  At the very first sniff of this minty/cinnamon spice I was captivated.  (The winsome Mr Wonderful didn’t win by his smell, but I was quite attracted at our first encounter as well.  If you must know why- it was the super short running shorts he was sporting.) Anyways…

After gobbling up half a coffee cake, I sheepishly asked for the recipe.  I treasure that hand written recipe; she unexpectedly died just a few years later.  I am sad my children never met their gregarious, hilarious and fun grandmother, but we continue on her memory every Christmas as we bake huge batches of Swedish Cardamom Coffee Cake to share with friends and neighbors.  I converted the white flour and sugar based recipe to 100% whole wheat and honey.  Be careful- it’s super addictive and you might not be able to stop eating!

img_3733-1Swedish Cardamom Coffee Cake

Makes 2 braids or wreaths

1 ½ cup warm milk

½ cup honey

½ cup melted butter

2 eggs (or 3 egg yolks for richer dough)

1 TBSP cardamom

1 TBSP yeast

½ tsp salt

5-6 cups whole wheat flour

  1. Mix milk, honey, butter, yeast, eggs, cardamom, and 2 cups of flour just until blended and let sit in bowl to sponge for 20 minutes.
  2. Add salt and rest of flour to make a soft dough. Knead 4-5 minutes in mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
  3. Cut dough into 2 pieces and split each half into 3. Roll each section into a log (about 18 inches long) and braid the 3 together.  With a little bit of water press the two ends together to form a wreath (or just keep as a braid)
  4. Place on nonstick cookie sheet (I use stones for all my baking) and allow to rise until soft, 20-30 minutes depending on warmth of kitchen.
  5. Brush with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until tops are lightly browned

Note:  We have come to prefer skipping the milk and sugar and instead icing with a powdered sugar, milk and almond extract icing.

Note: This recipe can be made into one huge wreath or 4 little ones- the baking time will increase or decrease depending on how much dough is in the wreath.  4 small wreaths take about 20 minutes, a very large one around 30 minutes, but it may brown quickly so use foil to cover the top if needed.

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