Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recipes: American Kanelbulle Cake (Cinnamon Bun Cake)

 Author’s Note:
I ♥ cinnamon… I love it in my yogurt, on my apples, and even in my tea.  Let’s just say that I’m obsessed (for the complete posting on cinnamon read “An Ode to Cinnamon”).  So anytime I can turn cinnamon into a good brunch dessert, I’m all for it.  And this recipe is just “the fix for my jones”…Apologies, drug lingo has never been my strength.

Eat good food.  Drink good Beer.  And above all, stay classy.

American Kanelbulle Cake
BY: Sam Parks (Dec. 2011)

My mother’s entirely family is Scandinavian.  Her father is of Norwegian descent and her mother is Swedish.  And around the holidays there is always more than a little nationalistic one-ups-man-ship around the dinner table.

Not many people know it, but the Swedish people’s greatest contributions to global society are dynamite and Kanelbulle.  Of course you probably know Kanelbulle as cinnamon buns or sticky buns.  My version of this recipe incorporates raisins and cinnamon into almond flavored egg dough for the perfect balance of spicy brightness with subtle sweetness, though the glazing does add the mammoth blast of sweetness Americans have come to expect.

So put in that old DVD of “Fargo,” find on your flannel hat, and shout “Uff Da!”  From my family to yours, I sincerely hope that you enjoy this Americanized version of an Old World classic...at least it’s safer to eat than dynamite.  
American Kanelbulle Cake


For the dough:
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 0.5 oz. (2 packages) bread machine yeast
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz. almond paste
  • 2 tsp. amaretto
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks + 1 Tbs. water lightly beaten (reserved for the egg wash)
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 Tbs. cinnamon

For the filling:
  • 4 Tbs. melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners/ powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon


  • Dissolve the granulated sugar in the warm water.  Add the yeast to the sugar/ water and stir vigorously for 30 seconds.  Set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes, you should see a healthy head of foam forming on the mixture by this point (surprisingly an oven set to 400 degrees and turned off after 1 minute, is the ideal location for “proofing” your yeast/ dough).
  • In a 2 quart sauce pan bring the milk to a light simmer.  Add the butter, salt, honey and almond paste to the milk.  Continue to cook the mixture over medium heat until the butter has completely melted and the almond paste has dissolved.  Cool to room temperature (you can cheat by adding a few ice cubes; just keep in mind that you may need to adjust your flour)
  • Into a large mixing bowl, measure 8 cups of all-purpose flour.  Pour the yeast slop into the flour and begin mixing by hand. 
  • Slowly add the milk/ honey/ salt/ almond mixture to the flour.  When the mixture resembles thick oatmeal, add the eggs, raisins, cinnamon, an amaretto (it’s easier to add these at this stage rather than later).
  • Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (this may take 15-20 minutes).
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and allow the bread to rise for 1.5 – 2 hrs. or until it has doubled in bulk. 
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 24 in. x 12 in. 
  • Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the cinnamon, brown sugar, and walnuts. 
  • Tightly roll the dough on it long axis (see figure 1).  The tighter the roll and the more rotations made are critical to ensure the filling is evenly distributed.  Just be careful not to tear the dough.  

Fig. 1
  • Pinch the two sides of the long seam together, using a little water if necessary.
  • Then roll the rope of dough around its short axis so that it resembles a coiled snake (see figure 2)
Fig. 2
  • Place the coiled dough into a greased and floured 8 in. cake pan.  Allow it to rise for approximately 1.5 hrs.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cook for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the loaf from the oven, and brush with the egg wash.
  • Return the loaf to the oven and cook for 10 additional minutes.
  • Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to rest until it reaches room temperature.
  • Combine the powdered sugar, milk vanilla, and cinnamon until it is a thick, milky consistency.  Pour the glaze over the loaf, and enjoy! UFF DA!

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