This Swedish Spice Cake is pure coziness in cake form: A moist, tender and simple spice cake flavored with the comforting flavors of gingerbread (think cinnamon, ginger and cloves) and drizzled with the possibly the easiest 3 ingredient powdered sugar icing you'll ever make.
Bake this cheerful cake during the chilly months of the year to pair with an afternoon cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It's a simple, soul-warming baking project that is sure to brighten even the darkest of winter days.
Why This Recipe Works
- This easy spice cake is made with buttermilk which creates a tender and moist crumb.
- It is perfectly flavored with warm spices and just a hint of molasses for that quintessential soft gingerbread flavor.
- A super easy powdered sugar icing is drizzled over the cooled cake for a hint of extra sweetness and visual appeal.
What Makes This Recipe Nordic/Scandinavian?
Swedish Spice Cake is known as Mjuk Pepparkaka in Swedish, and it is an easy fika classic that can be found in bakeries and homes throughout the country, particularly in the fall and winter.
For the Cake:
- Good old all purpose flour provides the structure of this cake, and the sweetness comes in three different forms: granulated sugar, brown sugar and molasses.
- Butter and buttermilk help create a rich, tender crumb, and one large egg binds everything together.
- Cinnamon, ginger and cloves bring a pleasantly spicy flavor to this cozy cake.
- Last but not least, baking spray helps keep the cake from sticking to the pan. If you are using a traditional Swedish Almond Cake Pan (see the equipment section below), you are going to want to spray the pan liberally with baking spray rather than using the traditional grease and flour technique for preparing the pan. YES, even if your pan has a nonstick surface. I've tried this cake using both methods, and no matter how carefully I butter and flour the pan, I always experience some sticking when removing the cake from the pan. The only way I was able to avoid any sticking at all was by using the baking spray.
For the Icing:
- Only 3 ingredients and so simple!
Special Equipment Needed
- This Swedish Almond Cake Pan makes a lovely presentation for this spice cake (and another delicious reason to use what is often a single use pan in most kitchens). No Swedish Almond Cake Pan? No problem! You can use a regular 9x5 loaf pan instead.
How to Make This Recipe
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees and begin by spraying the cake pan with baking spray because we do not want our cake sticking to the pan.
- Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and spices together in a medium bowl.
- Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar and molasses together in the work bowl of stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
- Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture followed by one-half of the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour mixture followed by the remainder of the buttermilk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until the batter JUST comes together (do not over mix!)
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula. Smooth out the top. Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (35-45 minutes).
- Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake cools, make the icing: Whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl. The icing should be a good consistency for drizzling over the cake. If not, add a little more water until it is to your liking.
- Once the cake is completely cool, drizzle with the icing, cut and serve!
- I really can't reiterate this enough: Use baking spray on the pan rather than greasing and flouring it. The only way to ensure the cake won't stick is to liberally coat the pan with baking spray.
- Don't over mix the cake batter once you begin to add the dry ingredients. Gluten begins to form as soon as the the flour comes into contact with the wet ingredients. After this point you want to use a gentle hand (or a slow speed on the mixer) to just bring everything together. This will create a tender crumb in the baked cake.
Use a 9x5 loaf pan. I would still recommend using the baking spray, and the baking time may vary slightly as the cake will be thicker than than the one baked in the almond cake pan.
Let the icing dry and then cover the cake with plastic wrap. It will keep at room temperature for a couple of days.
Yes! This cake freezes very well. Skip the icing prior to freezing and wrap the completely cooled, naked cake well in plastic wrap and then in foil. It will keep for a couple of months in the freezer. When you are ready to serve, defrost the cake to room temperature, make the icing and drizzle it over the top.
Absolutely. You can just dust a little powdered sugar over the top if you really want to keep things simple.
Looking for more easy classic Swedish cakes to try? I've got several delicious options for you here on the blog:
Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka)
- Scandinavian Almond Cake Pan
- For the Cake:
- Baking spray such as Pam for Baking
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- For the Icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cake pan generously with baking spray such as Pam for Baking. Place the prepared pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and molasses together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Turn the mixer speed down to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk. Add the second third of the flour mixture followed by the remainder of the buttermilk. Finally, add the remainder of the flour mixture. Mix until everything just comes together.
- Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then carefully flip out onto a wire rack.
- While the cake is cooling, make the icing: Whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl. Add additional water as necessary to create an icing that is a pourable consistency. Once the cake has completely cooled, drizzle the icing over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Swedish Spice Cake and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.