No matter how many delicious things I try, cinnamon buns will always be on the very top of my list. Definitely in top five at least. Possibly even top three. I’ve been toying with the idea of turning the classic Swedish cinnamon bun into a cake and this is definitely it. I guess this recipe should be called ‘cardamom cake with lingonberries, brown butter cinnamon frosting and cream cheese glaze’ but I don’t think I have space for that on here. Cinnamon bun cake with lingonberries it is.
Those who have been following for a while probably know how much I love cardamom and cinnamon. There is just something about that smell that makes me… feel things. I just want to sit down by the fireplace I wish I had, and enjoy a big cup of tea or coffee and eat this cake. Really, having a fire place is one of my biggest dreams.
The brown butter cinnamon frosting in between the layers of this cake reminds me of cookie dough, in the best way possible. And if you have access to it, I recommend using pearl sugar for “dusting” the pan as it gives the cake a lovely crunch and definitely makes it more cinnamon bun-like. Pearl sugar (‘pärlsocker’ in Swedish), or nib sugar, is a large granule sugar that doesn’t melt when baked. Here in Sweden it’s most commonly used for cinnamon buns and chocolate balls. I read somewhere that dusting the pan with granulated sugar instead of flour will create a lovely crunchy crust on the outside of the cake but I have yet to try. The lingonberries add some tartness to an otherwise quite sweet cake. I’m sure cranberries would work well too!
Cinnamon bun cake with lingonberries
Yields one 6-inch cake, serves 6-8
This cake is absolutely delicious and reminds me of Swedish cinnamon buns. Note that if you use the pearl sugar in the pan it gets quite sweet, but it does add a lovely crunch to the cake which makes all the difference.
Cake recipe adapted from the book “Allt om det goda – Kaffekalas”.
- 300 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp whole cardamom seeds, finely ground
- 100 g (1 scant stick) softened butter
- 270 g (1 + 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 large egg
- 100 mL (1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp) sour cream
- 150 mL (2/3 cup) milk
- 60 g lingonberries (fresh or frozen)
- Pearl sugar (can be omitted)
Brown butter frosting
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 45 g (1/3 cup) powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tbsp. milk
Cream cheese glaze
- 75 g cold cream cheese
- 75 g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp. milk
- Pearl sugar
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease two 6 inch (15 cm) cake pans. “Dust” the sides and bottom of the pans with pearl sugar. If you don’t have pearl sugar – bread crumbs or all purpose flour also work, but you won’t get that lovely crunch. Dusting the pan with granulated sugar might work as well, but I haven’t tried it.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until smooth.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture. Add the sour cream and milk and stir until batter is smooth.
- Divide half the batter (1/4 of the batter in each pan) between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spoon. Sprinkle lingonberries on top – then divide remaining batter between the pans, smoothing the tops again with a spoon. Sprinkle with more pearl sugar.
- Bake cakes on the lower rack for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes, then invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Brown butter frosting & assembly
- Place unsalted butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until it melts completely. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown and the butter smells nutty, about 5-10 minuter longer.
- Scrape the melted butter and browned bits into a small bowl and chill until almost solidified but still soft enough to be beaten with an electric mixer (about 20-30 minutes in the freezer, an hour or so in the fridge).
- Beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, powdered sugar and salt and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and beat until frosting is smooth.
- Put the first cake layer on a plate and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top of the frosting.
Cream cheese glaze & decoration
- Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk to desired consistency.
- Pour or spoon glaze over the cake. Dust with cinnamon and sprinkle with pearl sugar.