Swe-Dishes: Swedish Apple Cake

Food & Drink

Swe-Dishes: Swedish Apple Cake

When we came across Kristi Bissell’s Swedish Apple Cake from her food blog True North Kitchen, we had to reach out to her to find out more and get the recipe.

Kristi’s Notes and Tips

  • Use a sturdy apple such as the Granny Smith. Because we are sautéing the apple slices before they go on top of the cake, it’s important to choose an apple that can withstand a bit of cooking without falling apart or turning to mush. Granny Smiths will do just that.
  • Take the time to grind your own cardamom. I know I say this a lot, but grinding the cardamom really makes a big difference in the flavor of your baked goods. It’s worth the extra five minutes it takes to get the seeds out of the pods and crush them yourself.
  • Don’t overmix the batter once you add the flour. Vigorously mixing a cake batter after the flour is added activates the gluten and can cause your cake to be tough in texture. Mix so that the flour is JUST incorporated, no more.
  • Create your circles of apples so that the slices just touch one another rather than overlap. This should give you just the right amount of apples to fill the space of the cake with two circles of slices. Save the smaller apple slices for the center circle, and leave the center of the cake empty.
  • Don’t skip the step of making the quick syrup and brushing the top of the cake after it has baked. This step really takes this cake from good to great and gives it a gorgeous shine at the end. 


For the Apple Topping:

  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch thick wedges (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Make the Apple Topping: Heat butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sauté until they are lightly caramelized, about 5-8 minutes. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and apples are evenly coated, about 1 more minute. Remove apples from the heat and set aside.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom together in a medium bowl and set aside.  Whisk sugars and eggs together in a large bowl until fully combined. Slowly add melted butter to sugar and egg mixture and continue whisking until uniform in texture.  Add sour cream and vanilla and whisk until fully combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter just comes together.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and even out the top with a small offset spatula. Arrange apples over the top of the batter in two concentric circles. The apples should just touch each other but not overlap. Reserve the butter and sugar mixture that remains in the skillet. Transfer cake to the oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Add a couple of teaspoons of water to the skillet along with the reserved butter and sugar mixture leftover from making the apple topping.  Cook over medium heat until warm and syrupy in texture, about 1-2 minutes. Brush syrup over the top of the cake, particularly the apples. Cool cake for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack and serve.

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way.

Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb.  When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.

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