This traditional kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns recipe is made with soft and chewy dough, a buttery cinnamon-sugar filling, twisted into cute knots and topped with slivered almonds and pearl sugar.
Kardemummabullar are one of the best fika recipes those looking to bake authentic Swedish pastries. They’re typically sold at Swedish bakeries from Goteborg to Stockholm and enjoyed on a fika menu during a Nespresso coffee break.
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What is Kardemummabullar?
Kardemummabullar directly translates from Swedish to Cardamom Buns.
A variation of these sweet buns are popular across Scandinavia and typically enjoyed during fika, or a cake break with coffee.
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Kardemummabullar VS Kanelbullar
The popular Swedish fika menu items Kardemummabullar and Kanelbullar feature very similar recipes. They’re both members of the Vetebullar family, a general term for wheat-based dough that can be transformed into a number of bun creations.
If you’re visiting a Swedish bakery and sample freshly baked Kardemummabullar you’ll munch into a sweet bun with a strong cardamom spice flavouring.
Kanelbullar are baked similarly to their Kardemummabullar cousins, but feature more cinnamon in the recipe.
Read the ingredients list for traditional Kardemummabullar and Kanelbullar recipes and you’ll find ground cinnamon and cardamom are included in both. Swedish bakeries typically adjust the amount of each spice so locals buying for a celebratory homemade fika menu know what Swedish pastries will be stronger in cinnamon or cardamom.
The popular Swedish fika recipe is also known as a cinnamon bun, cinnamon swirl or cinnamon Danish. In Sweden it can also be called kanelbulle, in Denmark it is known as kanelsnegl, in Norway it is known as Skillingsboller, Kanelbolle and Kanelsnurr, and in Finland it is known as korvapuusti.
What Is Swedish Fika?
Fika is often translated as “a coffee and cake break”, which is mostly correct, but locals in Sweden will attest it is much more than that.
The word fika actually derives from the 19th-century slang word for coffee: kaffi. Invert the word kaffi, and you get fika!
Fika is a concept, state of mind, attitude and important part of Swedish culinary culture. Many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for fika every day. It means making time for friends, family and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a petite Swedish pastry.
Fika cannot be experienced at your desk at work or at home by yourself. Swedish Fika is a communal ritual. Swedish children are taught that it is important to make time to stop and socialize during the day.
Locals believe taking a pause to refresh your brain and strengthen you relationships is important. It also makes business sense: Swedish firms have found teams work better and are more productive when fika is institutionalized.
Fika can also be used as a verb in everyday conversation. Swedes will often say to each other, “Let’s go and fika!” or “You and I fika together well”.
Serve the Best Swedish Pastries On Your Fika Menu
Browse the Fika menu and you’ll find plenty of savoury open faced sandwiches, salads and sandwiches. While Swedish fika can include light savoury lunch items, most pair their coffee with traditioanl Swedish pastries.
If you’re looking to host a fun Swedish fika menu for friends and family these are the most popular pastries:
- Spiced Sweet Buns: spiced with cardamom (kardemummabullar) or cinnamon (kanelbullar).
- Chokladbollar: no-bake ball recipe featuring butter, sugar, cocoa powder, oats and coconut.
- Småkakor: a variety of dainty homemade shortbread cookies.
- Kladdkaka: Sweden’s take on the American brownie is more gooey in the centre and often served in a triangular slice.
- Dammsugare: these cute sweets resemble a 1920s vacuum cleaner. They’re made with leftover cookies, spiked with Swedish punsch liquor and wrapped in green marzapan.
- Vaniljhjärta: these romantic heart-shaped treats are our favourite sweet snack on Valentines Day. They comprise a shortbread exterior and custard interior.
- Prinsesstårta: Sweden’s most famous pastry translates to Princess Cake. Popularly served at birthday parties, they feature a sponge cake, layer of jam and cream, cover in green marzipan and decorated with hot pink flowers.
- Mazariner: these dainty sweet tarts are filled with ground almond paste then topped with a layer of white or pink icing.
Travel to Scandinavia to Enjoy Swedish Cardamom Buns at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Czech, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey and Italy.
My fondest food memory of Sweden is the country’s curiosity for pastries! I was in Goteborg on Midsommar, instantly falling in love with Jordgubbstårta and Kardemummabullar.
If you’re staying at a hotel on holiday in Sweden you’ll find traditional Kardemummabullar and Kanelbullar served each morning at breakfast near the sourdough bread and croissant section.
Scandinavian countries are known for having the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world. So if you’re an espresso or latte lover, you’re bound to find Swedish Cardamom Buns at bakeries from big cities to small towns.
Once back home from a Scandinavian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Sweden and can impress friends and family by making your very own homemade Kardemummabullar!
Best Swedish Bakeries For Kardemummabullar
If you’re traveling to Sweden make a point of visiting these popular Swedish bakeries to sample authentic Kardemummabullar and Kanelbullar.
- Malmo: Bröd och Vänner, Hollandia, Bagaren och Bonden
- Stockholm: Valhallabageriet, Fabrique, Bakery & Spice Sweden Borsons
- Goteborg: Café And The Bakery, Baka Stenungnsbageri, Cafe Husaren
My Family Loves Swedish Cardamom Buns
After encountering Swedish Cardamom Buns on a visit to Goteborg during Midsommar I thought I should introduce the sweet spiced buns to my family.
I knew my family would rave for Swedish Cardamom Buns because they love icing slathered cinnamon buns and my irritable Chocolate Cinnamon Babka.
I baked these Swedish Cardamom buns at the cottage in Muskoka during Thanksgiving holidays. I found cinnamon and cardamom spiced sweet buns are best enjoyed after a rigorous hike or scenic walk during Autumn in Ontario cottage country.
My parents like to do a lot of yard work in October to ready the cottage for the winter season. So more often then not, we’re munching on sticky Swedish Cardamom Buns after raking leaves and emptying the eavestrough, ha!
How To Shape Kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns
In contrast to their American cinnamon roll sisters, Swedish cardamom buns are typically twisted and tied into cute little knots, rather than rolled and sliced like a jelly roll.
Instead of slathering a layer of creamy icing on top, Swedish cardamom buns are sprinkled with crunchy pearl sugar and/or sliced almonds. The homemade dough in Swedish cinnamon buns is also kneaded together with a whisper of ground cardamom, which adds a warm depth of flavour to the cinnamon in the filling.
Beset of all, the sweet spiced rolls are baked just long enough so that they stay perfectly soft and chewy inside, and crunchy on the top.
If you’re baking Kardemummabullar for the first time watch the video below to perfect your knot tying skills!
When To Serve Kardemummabullar
While Kardemummabullar is traditionally served during midday fika we love to enjoy these Swedish Cardamom Buns as a grab and go breakfast or late night dessert.
Kardemummabullar is a pretty Swedish pastry perfect for celebrating special occasions like Christmas morning, Mother’s Day, birthdays, baby showers and bridal showers. While we like to bake this recipe in the Fall and Winter when Pumpkin Spice Latte’s are all the rage, it’s a popular staple in the Spring and Summer too!
What To Serve With Swedish Cardamom Buns
Swedish Cardamom Buns are best enjoyed on their own or paired at fika with a cup of coffee or hot pot of tea.
Having company over for dinner and looking to impress with a decadent dessert? In the past we’ve recommended adding a toasted muffins to an elaborate ice cream sundae bowl. You can do the same with Swedish Cardamom Buns!
Start building a decadent Kardemummabullar Sundae by filling a bowl with sliced apples and pears. Add a few scoops of ice cream, we suggest Maple Walnut or Pralines & Cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with a warm Swedish Cardamom Bun.
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How To Store Kardemummabullar
You can store leftover Swedish Cardamom Buns in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
We sometimes double the recipe and freeze the freshly baked rolls so we can enjoy them over the coming weeks and months. They typically keep in an airtight container for up 3 months. When you want to enjoy a frozen Kardemummabullar simply thaw to room temperature and crisp up in an oven or toaster.
How To Make Swedish Cardamom Buns
Kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns
- Electric Mixer with Dough Hook
- Mixing bowls
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- French knife
- baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup White Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 tsp Ground Cardamom
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 stick Butter
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
- 4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Pearl Sugar
- Heat milk to 112°F degrees then combine with the yeast, and a pinch of white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside until bubbling and active, approximately 7-10 minutes.
- Slowly add 3 1/2 cups flour to the stand mixer with dough hook attachment and knead until a soft dough forms. Only add as much flour as you need. You've got an additional 1/2 cup of flour to use if the temperature and humidity of your kitchen requires it.
- Mix in 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter a few nobs at a time until well incorporated. Shape dough into a plump ball.
- Spray a clean bowl with nonstick spray and roll dough ball in oil. Cover with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel, set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled; about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- When ready to form the Swedish Cardamom Buns, prepare the filling by combining the remaining 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter, 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar, 3 teaspoons of the ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of the ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Stir until fully combined.
- Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- On a lightly floured surface use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12-inch-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter-sugar mixture over rectangle all the way to the edge. Along the 18-inch side, mark the dough every 6 inches then use those marks as a guide to gently fold the dough in thirds onto itself.Turn the dough so the seam is in front of the you and the open ends are to your right and left.
- Trim the edge of the dough slightly so the rectangle is even then using a very sharp knife, slice the dough lengthwise into 2cm strips.
- To form a knotted roll, loop the rope two times over your first two fingers then fold it under to tie it into a knot. Let dough rise 30 minutes at room temperature.
- While the buns are rising, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of light brown sugar with 1/4 cup water, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom, remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve then sugar then remove from heat.
- Remove Swedish Cardamom Buns from the oven and brush again with the simple syrup; cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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