20 Jun 2024
Glöggfika: the Swedish Christmas social
Expat Cookbook Swedish Culture

Glöggfika: the Swedish Christmas social

So, it’s almost Christmas and your boss/neighbour/Swedish friend has requested your attendance at a function beginning with glögg-something. What to expect? What to bring? The questions are a-massing… 


December is drawing nigh, it’s peak glögg-glugging time and chances are that you’ve been invited to a glöggfika, or perhaps you want to hold your own only… you have no idea what to expect – or what to serve.  At YLC we take our responsibility to EDUCATE seriously* and therefore decided it would be a good idea to explain the whole glögg-conundrum – oh, and give you some great recipes too.

A glöggfika, is fika – where glögg (the Swedish mulled wine with or without alcohol) is served alongside a variety of Christmasy sweet treats. Instead of kanelbullar – you have Lussebullar. Instead of kakor – you have pepparkakor. And instead of sockerkaka – you have kanel/saffran/mjuk pepparkaka. Same same, in other words, but different.

You may also have been invited to a julfika or adventsfika. That’s basically the same thing. But it might not feature glögg. On the other hand, it might. Confused? Well, you should be.

This would not be the right time to make you aware that there is a difference between glöggfika(1) and a glöggmingel (2)? Or even glöggfest (3), or indeed julfest (4)? (A quick explanation would be: (1) unlikely to involve alcohol, (2) could involve alcohol, (3) likely to involve alcohol and (4) better be involving alcohol) No, jokes aside – let’s stick to the basics and discuss the differences somewhere else.

Instead, in the spirit of Christmas, we thought we’d share some of our fave Swedish glöggfika/julfika recipes. To glögg or not to glögg we’re leaving up to you.

* we do not take our responsibility to educate seriously. To inform and entertain however – we’re big on those.


Christmas Sponge Cake x3


Basic cake recipe:

What you need:

2.5 dl filmjölk (buttermilk)

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

175 g soft butter

2dl sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoon of vanilla sugar (vaniljsocker)

4 1/2 dl all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder


What you do:

Mix together the filmjölk and the bicarb – put aside.

Cream butter and sugar unitl light and fluffy, add eggs, one at a time.

Add vanilla sugar, salt and the baking powder to the filmjölk mix and stir well. Combine the filmjölk mix and the egg mix.

Add flour and mix until batter is smooth.

Butter a cake tin and coat with breadcrumbs, spoon mixture in evenly and bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 45 min to an hour.

For a cinnamon cake: Mix together sugar (about a dl) and cinnamon (5 tablespoons) and alternate sugar/cinnamon mix with cake mix while spooning into tin.

For a saffron cake: Simply add two bags of saffron ( 2x 0.5 g bags) to mix before the flour is added.

For soft gingerbread cake: Add 0.5 dl lingonberry jam, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon ground cloves to the mixture before adding the flour.

The cake recipes originate with my sister who wants me to say that she will not be held responsible for my translation to English and that there is no chance that I will give out her number in case the cakes don’t come out right.*


*I so would.


Rebecca Martin

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