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Swedish Cardamom Braids

"Swedish people love their coffee—especially with this classic coffee cake. The recipe came from my father's aunt, and I can remember my mother crushing cardamom seeds to make it. Back then, you couldn't buy cardamom already ground." —Harriet Meola, Mauldin, South Carolina
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 loaves (12 slices each)


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, egg yolks, cardamom, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down; divide in half. Divide each half into three portions. On a lightly floured surface, shape each portion into a 16-in.-long rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Brush warm loaves with butter. Combine the pecans, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over loaves.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 175 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 39mg cholesterol, 54mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
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  • tcavman15
    Feb 22, 2012

    This bread tasted great! I had a hard time getting the topping to stick better. A lot of it crumbled off every time we sliced it. My husband liked to toast thick slices under the broiler and butter them. Perfect with a cup of coffee.

  • afarrens
    Dec 27, 2011

    I love this! It tastes like a slightly spicier cinnamon raisin bread (probably because I added 1/2 cup of raisins). After I made it the first time, I made it again the next day! My entire family loves it. It's GREAT!

  • bekahgrrl1
    Jun 8, 2011

    I made this for my husband's Swedish grandmother and she loved it. It is not supposed to be overly sweet (that's the American expectation). The topping adds enough sweetness for me. Spicy, fluffy light, fabulous! I would make this every week if I could.

  • CRitz816
    Dec 16, 2010

    My husband grew up with "Swedish Coffee Cake", and he loves this. He said it tastes just like what his mom always bought at the Swedish bakery. I would prefer a sweeter treat, but this is not supposed to be sweet. I make it often for him.

  • jeclark
    Jul 28, 2010

    It tasted like there was something missing... almost like it should taste sweeter.