Mother Earth Living

Recipes with Cardamom: Kaffekage

By Cornelia Carlson
December/January 1996

Capture the flavor of a Scandinavian Christmas with the rich taste of Glogg and Kaffekage.


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Makes 1 large loaf 

Year round, cardamom is a favorite flavoring in Scandinavian breads. The sweeter, festive Julekake variation is reserved for Christmas.

• 3/4 cup scalded milk, cooled to 110°F
• 1 package dry active yeast
• 1 large egg, slightly beaten
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon rum or melted butter, cooled

1. Place the milk in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over it, stir briefly to dissolve, then let it stand for 10 minutes, or until bubbly. Stir in the egg, sugar, butter, cardamom, and salt.

2. Beat in enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead on a floured board for 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and let it double a second time.

3. Shape the dough into a 9-inch round loaf or cut the dough into three pieces, roll each into an 18-inch “snake”, and braid the strands. Lay the dough on a greased baking sheet, cover, and let it double again.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with the rum or butter and bake for 40 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool slightly before slicing.

Norwegian Julekake Variation: Add the following ingredients to the basic recipe before stirring in the flour: 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup chopped candied citron, 1/4 cup currants, and 1/4 cup chopped, blanched almonds.


Cornelia Carlson exercises her passion for growing tropical spices in her San Diego–area home. She has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet (Prima, 1996). 

Click here for more recipes from the original article, Recipes with Cardamom.








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