Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka)

Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka) | Recipe | Gather and Graze

I’ve not spent much time at all in the kitchen over the past couple of weeks… my thoughts, mind and heart have been elsewhere.

My head and heart both know though, that cooking is therapy for me, just as running, swimming, surfing or tennis will be for others. Whisking, sifting and stirring all create a welcome distraction… and within moments, the scent of softly spiced cake emanating from the oven is in the air… comforting, warm and soothing.

Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka) | Gather and Graze

  • 100g/⅓ Cup + 1 Tblespn Unsalted Butter
  • 180g/1 Packed Cup Brown (or Raw) Sugar
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • 200ml/¾ Cup + 1 Tblespn Sour Cream
  • 190g/1¼ Cups Plain Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 1½ Teaspoons Ground Cloves
  • Pinch of Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a (22cm x 13cm) loaf pan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar. Add the sour cream and then the cooled melted butter and continue to whisk until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. In 2 lots, add this to the wet ingredients, stirring between each addition until just combined.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, until a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when tested in the middle. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, before removing the cake from the pan to a cooling rack.

This Spice Cake is lovely as is, or with a little butter slathered over each slice with a good cup of tea.

My lovely Swedish friend Helena made a version of this Spice Cake to serve for morning tea not so long ago and it inspired me to do a little research of my own on ‘Mjuk Pepparkaka’, which has resulted in this adaptation… a little darker in colour than Helena’s perhaps due to the brown sugar. ‘Mjuk Pepparkaka’ translates literally to ‘Soft Gingerbread’.

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41 thoughts on “Swedish Spice Cake (Mjuk Pepparkaka)

  1. tinywhitecottage

    Cooking is therapy for me too Margot. There are days when I’m not inspired to step foot into the kitchen and other days (like today) when I spent five wonderfully relaxing hours blanching cherry tomatoes to marinade in olive oil, herbs, chili flakes and garlic. I am having a hard time keeping up with the tomato harvest and I woke up to a swarm of fruit flies (gnats!) around our platter of tomatoes on the counter this morning! Those little critters were enough to inspire me to put up a few mason jars of cherry tomatoes. Inspired by gnats! 🙂 Therapy. My first thought when I glanced at your Mjuk Pepparkaka was “perfect cake”. No cracks! How did you do it? The texture looks so spongy and like Johnny said “melt in your mouth”. Love the simplicity of this recipe. It’s wonderful.

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Oh dear, what naughty little gnats! Great thinking to preserve them and get them off the counter… they’ll be wonderful in all manner of dishes!
      I think it will be a cooking day for me too Seana… we spent most of the weekend busy in the garden, so I’m feeling that some baking is in order for today. I’m contemplating some Lavender/White Choc Cookies (though will need to go easy on the lavender, so that they’re subtly fragrant and not over-the-top perfumed)… can only try! 🙂

      Reply
      1. tinywhitecottage

        Yes. You don’t want your cookies to taste like laundry detergent! 🙂 Lavender is so lovely to bake with, however, it can be overbearing and turn soapy. 🙂 sounds like a lovely cookie with white chocolate and a “hint’ of lavender.

        Reply
      2. Tania

        We are enjoying the crispy outside and moist dark interior of this cake, lovely with a cup of tea. Great to for school lunches, I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the cake, although I doubt it will last a few days in this house!

        Reply
        1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

          That’s wonderful to hear Tania! Thanks so much for letting me know how the cake turned out and that you’re enjoying it. You’re absolutely spot on with the fact that it’s a great one for school lunches – my boys both really enjoy these flavours too! It does make a reasonably large cake… I use my largest loaf pan to cook it in and thankfully it keeps really well in an airtight container for at least a few days… toasted then slathered with butter is lovely too! 🙂

          Reply
  2. Francesca

    Love the idea of this cake, Margot! Sounds perfect to go along with my morning coffee. My therapy activity is cleaning. I can do it with my eyes closed and it has an immediate soothing effect on me! Hope everything is fine with you and your loved ones.

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thank you Francesca… its so lovely to hear from you and I appreciate your kind words.
      If only cleaning was something I found therapeutic too… I love organising things and keeping the house tidy, but sadly the duster and I have never become good friends.

      Reply
  3. Johnnysenough Hepburn

    With that much sour cream this is bound to be melt-in-the-mouth. With spices on top of that I’ll have a slice straight from the plate, and when you can be bothered I’ll have a couple lightly toasted! Please? Actually, I read this post a couple of days ago. But it was too late to leave a comment. Right now, after reading headlines/news all day, I’m in need of diversion.

    Haven’t sent the recipe for the lemon-you-know-what as yet. The coconut milk, that would solidify, is no longer available. Wouldn’t you know it. And at the moment I’m happily addicted to brownies. Making another batch tonight with coconut cream in a block, to taste that against butter – that I forgot to buy. Oh, well. And do hope you are well.

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Johnny, lovely to hear from you and hope that you’re well too. I haven’t had brownies in months… oh dear, the mere mention of them… doesn’t take much to get that craving happening!
      Interestingly, I opened a tin of coconut milk the other night to make a Massaman Curry and it had solidified and developed a slightly unusual aroma… not what I was expecting, so binned it rather quickly in disgust. I haven’t ever seen coconut cream (or milk) in a block before… are you finding it can be a good substitute for butter?

      Reply
      1. Johnnysenough Hepburn

        Yes. Admittedly, it’s a long time since I’ve used a block. And normally that was used within a curry of some description. To bake with it all I had to do, after melting it, was to add 2 tbsp evo oil to the batter to get the right consistency. And those brownies are scrumptious. Melt-in-the-mouth delicious. I’ve just made a second batch of them today. This time as a slab, like normal. During the week I managed to buy what was sold as a brownie pan. Think 8 x mini loaf tin or tray instead. Not suitable for brownies, but excellent for my date and walnut loaves – again made earlier. Plus my third brownie (with butter) recipe baked in a bowl, turned upside down and it shall be transformed into a hedgehog! If I dare to start using my new grass nozzle, that is. I’ve never been keen on icing. But I’m really into the idea of this as an autumnal project! Oh, and I’m making my first plum jam of the season as I type. One of those days!

        Reply
  4. sam @ nourish

    It’s lovely to be inspired by another’s cooking, and go off on a little journey of discovery afterwards. The final result looks just delicious 🙂

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Absolutely Sam… it’s wonderful to feel inspired by others and their culture… and such a joy to be introduced to much-loved dishes that mean something and have memories attached for those people.

      Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Hungry Mum… this is actually quite a moist cake, though my photo doesn’t really do is justice. With this winter sun, I can’t seem to get the light quite right these days. I do hope you try it though… a great one for kid’s lunch boxes too.

      Reply
  5. Anne Wheaton

    As we head for autumn, this looks a perfect cake. It looks delicious. Like your Gather & Graze gallery in the sidebar. Has that always been there? Just watched a succession of very desirous dishes flash by (and I’ve not long had breakfast). Hope the whisking and sifting is proving therapeutic. Anne x

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Anne, it’s not a fancy cake by any means… but really lovely for those days when you just need a little slice of something flavourful to go with a cup of tea or coffee. It was also lovely slightly toasted/warmed and with butter on top. The gallery has been there for a little while now… so pleased that you like it. At the very least, it keeps some of the old tried and tested recipes from getting too dusty sitting away in the archives…
      Lots more whisking and sifting to go… but yes, it’s working…. thank you. M.xx

      Reply
  6. Chica Andaluza

    Do hope all is ok with you – it’s tough when other stuff is going on that you have to deal with but cooking with love is indeed a good therapy. Beautiful cake – I love the flavours!

    Reply
  7. apuginthekitchen

    What a lovely cake, I am such a big fan of spice cakes, gingerbread or anything with warm spices. I have never heard of this cake before but it does look delicious. I would love it with some caramelized apples or pears and some cream. YUM!

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      You’re so right Suzanne, this would be beautiful as a dessert… warmed up, with some caramelised apples/pears and a dollop of whipped cream on top! Perhaps I’ve just found our dessert for this evening – thanks! Hope all is well with you and Izzy and Nando. xx

      Reply
  8. Meggie

    Good job there, spreading the recipe of this delicious Swedish “Mjuk pepparkaka”! I don’t know if lingonberry jam/sauce (similar to cranberry sauce and a must-condiment to Swedish meatballs) is available in Australia (maybe IKEA), but if, a tip is to add 3-4 tbsps of the jam to the batter next time. That will add further moist to the cake Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much for the tip Meggie! I actually have an unopened jar of lingonberry jam in the pantry (that I bought at Ikea up in Sydney not so long ago) – I’ll definitely try your suggestion next time I make this. Cheers, Margot

      Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Hi Iain, I’ve just googled ‘Kruidencake’ to have a look and they are remarkably similar, though perhaps without the sour cream? It’s the subtle spice mix that I really love… perfect morning/afternoon tea fare. Perhaps we’ll see ‘Kruidencake’ feature on ‘My Foodtopia’ before too long?? 🙂

      Reply
  9. jothetartqueen

    oh I hope you find more time in the kitchen in the coming weeks!

    Love brown sugar in cakes..it gives that lovely dark molasses flavour that can’t be replaced.Don’t know much about this Swedish spice cake. Perhaps I should do some research of my own.

    Reply
    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      I hope so too Jo… thank you! This is such a simple cake to prepare, yet beautifully flavoured with the spices and sugar. Not overly sweet… perfect to go along with my afternoon cup of tea today.

      Reply

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