29 May 2024
The love of fika: kanelbulle & Butterkaka
Community Swedish Culture

The love of fika: kanelbulle & Butterkaka

Ever since my first visit to Sweden, I fell in love with many things Swedish including the beautiful countryside, nature, food and its people.

This love at first sight happened over eleven years ago on a sunny day in June when I came to visit one of my closest Swedish friends. I was smitten with Stockholm the instant I arrived and that was further confirmed as I got to know the capital with my friend.  We toured the city day by day for a week. My friend showed me all of its glory as the sun continued to shine well into the evening.

One of the things that I remembered most over the years was being taken to a coffee shop for a fika (a coffee break usually including something sweet to enjoy). Coming from Seattle I naturally have a strong love for coffee, and I always enjoy a few cups of coffee a day.  Ordering coffee was easy, but choosing which sweet treat to enjoy it with was hard! I went for the classic Swedish kanelbulle as I am crazy for cinnamon rolls and wanted to try one with a Swedish twist, not like that cinnamon rolls that I am accustomed to at home. Let me tell you it did not disappoint!  It melted in my mouth, that explosion of cinnamon and cardamom swirl topped with pearl sugar on top. I could have eaten a dozen!

Kanelbulle is one of those special treats that gives a homey comfortable feeling, making me think of my summer days or being wrapped up in a cozy blanket reading a book

image: Fredrik Broman/imagebank.sweden.se

Fast forward eleven years later and my love for that special treat is still there. I am happy to say I’ve had many kanelbullar over the years and enjoyed every bite!  I have to admit I have never actually made the Swedish kanelbuller because they are always so easy to get, or someone will have them already made when I come over.  One of my best friend’s mom makes the best kanelbullar I have ever had so I usually save room to indulge in a bag of hers when I stop by to say hello.

Another one of my favorite fika foods to indulge in is called butterkaka.  Another close Swedish friend, who lives in Norberg, is an amazing baker and whenever we get together we tend to bake something. For the last few years, it has become sort of a tradition of ours to bake kanelbullar, but gradually we graduated to baking butterkaka after I discovered it in one of her cookbooks.  Now we always bake this when we spend the weekend together. It is our thing. We always have such a good time making it and then of course eating it!  It’s hard to just eat a couple bites because it is absolutely decadent and delicious.  This is the kind of treat that is reserved in my mind for special days, like spending it with good friends. Butterkaka is a “cake” baked in a round pan.  The pan is filled with several kanelbullar aligned together and then the middle of the kanelbuller are filled with a vanilla cream and baked.  You can either top it with pearl sugar or with a sugar glaze, which we do.  Below I have included two recipes, one for kanelbullar and the other for my favorite, butterkaka.  Enjoy!



25 muffin forms/paper

25 g fresh yeast

75 g butter

2.5 cups milk

0.5 dl sugar

1 pinch salt

1 tsp ground cardamom

about 7 cups flour


50 g butter

0.5 dl sugar

1 tsp cinnamon


1 egg


Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Melt the butter and add the milk and let it become hot to the touch, 37 degrees.  Dissolve the yeast in a bit of dough liquid, then add the rest.  Add salt, sugar and cardamom and stir.

Use an electric mixer with dough hooks or appliance to work in all the flour in the dough.  The dough should be soft and supple.  Cover it and let it rise for 30 minutes.

Make the filling by mixing the shortening, sugar and cinnamon.

Roll out the dough into a rectangular plate, 20 x 50 cm.  Spread with filling and roll it up.  Cut about 1 ½ cm thick slices and place them in the muffin forms, cut side up.  Let them rise for about 30 minutes.

Beat the egg with a whisk and brush this carefully on the buns (do not press hard).  Sprinkle with pearl sugar.

Bake in oven at 225 degrees for 8-10 minutes or in oven 200 degrees for 10-12 minutes.



130 g butter

5 c milk

50 g yeast

1 tsp salt

1 c sugar

13-15 c flour

4-5 c cold custard/vanilla cream

1 egg

Cinnamon Filling:

150 g butter

3 tsp cinnamon

1 c sugar

Melt butter in saucepan, add milk and heat to 37 degrees. Crumble the yeast into a bowl, stir yeast with a spatula. Add the milk and butter and then salt, sugar and almost all of the flour. Knead the dough until smooth. Cover and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.  Put the dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Divide the dough into two parts.   One part is enough for a butter cake made in a spring form pan and the rest can be made into little muffin forms/paper for individual butterkaka.   Roll out the dough and put in the cinnamon filling. Cut about 1 ½ cm thick slices and place them in the pan.  Let it rise for 20-30 minutes.  Put the custard in the middle of the buns and brush then with a beaten egg.   Sprinkle with pearl sugar.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200-225 degrees.

By Talia Klundt

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