Swedish

The Fudgiest Chocolate Cake Needs Just 5 Ingredients & 20 Minutes

Why kladdkaka, or Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake, is a home cook's dream.

November 26, 2018

Kladdkaka—or Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake—is a home cook's dream. It's five ingredients, plus a pinch of salt and some breadcrumbs to line the pan (which, in a bind, you could skip in lieu of just butter). The cake batter comes together in just one pot in roughly five minutes, or as long as it takes you to melt chocolate and butter, then stir in some dry ingredients. It cooks for about 15 minutes meaning, all-in, you're never more than a half-an-hour out from a warm, fudgy slice of it.

And according to Michelin star-winning chef Magnus Nilsson, who estimates that he eats kladdkaka roughly once a month, it always turns out way better at home than it would in a professional kitchen.

"It only works well in the home," he says. "It doesn’t function well in bakeries, because they want to do it too well—that’s not the point. This whole cake is like the polar opposite of a cake in the traditional meaning. It’s unleavened, and under-baked—all the things that are problematic with a normal cake."

Nilsson is a Swedish chef whose restaurant Fäviken has received abundant praise for its innovative Nordic cuisine, which uses locally sourced ingredients. He's been profiled on The Mind of a Chef and Chef's Table. In his newly published The Nordic Baking Book, a compendium of regional baking recipes, Nilsson speculates as to the origin-story of kladdkaka, which started to appear in Swedish cookbooks and magazines in the mid-1970s.

You're looking at my plans tonight. Photo by Rocky Luten

"Kladdkaka is a relatively recent addition to Swedish cake culture. Its origins are a bit unclear and the accounts on where it came from are as colorful as they are conflicting," he writes. "One can also assume without going out too much on a limb that the unleavened, very gooey and soft cake of today is the result of naturally occurring cake evolution. Someone had a really good recipe for chocolate cake, perhaps a brownie one, or why not something more central European in style? The same person, in the heat of the moment, forgets to add baking powder only to realize his or her mistake halfway through the cooking process. They then remove the undercooked cake from the oven and they are astounded by its deliciousness."

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“My go to in this class of cake is one from Le Francais, a Chicago area restaurant (collected by- who else- Maida Heatter), called "Torte Souffle au Chocolate). The ingredients are 4oz. unsw. chocolate, 6oz. semisweet chocolate, 5 oz. butter, 1c.+1Tb. sugar, 7eggs,1/3c. Grand Marnier. The egg whites are whipped and folded in, so it rises a bit during baking, but collapses into a dense cake. Similar to this recipe, but considerably more baking time. ”
— Smaug
Comment

Astounded sounds about right. It's just about the chocolate-iest dessert I've ever tasted, like a flavor and texture hybrid between dense, flourless chocolate cake, and gooey brownies. It's no wonder that, according to Nilsson, it's the most common recipe search from Swedish websites, with more than 650,000 search engine results.

"There are as many conflicting ideas on how to eat this cake as there are recipes for it," he writes. "Some like it warm with ice cream, some like it at room temperature with nothing, and I like it as my wife will tell you to eat it: cold from the refrigerator with whipped cream on the side."

The variation you see on our site is one of several kladdkaka recipes he's published in The Nordic Baking Book—others that made the cut include Nilsson's wife's iteration (with cocoa powder and vanilla sugar), and a version with white chocolate. Nilsson's exhaustive research, including hundreds of visits to homes for cooking demonstrations, for his compilation of Nordic baking recipes and for those in its younger, savory sibling, The Nordic Cookbook, took about six years.

Which, if you do the math, is roughly 155,000 kladdkakas.

What's your go-to chocolate cake recipe? Let us know in the comments!

36 Comments

elisamama December 2, 2018
Would this work with earth or smart balance to sub for the butter to be dairy free? If so, would any other changes be needed?
 
Sarah December 2, 2018
Spun like a yummy oversized brownie...mmmmm! No bread crumbs? Just butter pan and dust w cocoa, it I’ll still look great for serving.
 
Elizabeth B. December 1, 2018
I have dark chocolate cocoa powder. How can I make that work?<br />
 
Drew D. November 30, 2018
I can't wait to try this, it looks amazing! What is the topping/jam shown in the video?
 
Kitchen D. November 30, 2018
I'm definitely making this for December holiday drop in company. Re: Topping? I hope not what magazines use, which is often picture perfect shaving cream to hold up spectacularly swirled "whipped cream." A cake like that deserves a natural, fresh raspberry and a pretentious leaf of mint! Any more chocolate on that dish and I'd probably cry.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 30, 2018
Hi Drew! It's whipped cream and currant jam. Happy baking!
 
Smeagol November 29, 2018
Made it and am now a fan (although it is a lot of sugar). No problems with heat & eggs - I stirred it a bit prior to adding but didn’t let it sit to cool. It got even better the next day - the hint of a barely crisped edge crust & rich sugary dark chocolate was perfect. Love how easy the recipe was. Used 80ish percent dark chocolate.
 
Smeagol November 29, 2018
Ps: it did take much longer than 15 minutes to bake, though! Around 25.
 
Pamela L. November 29, 2018
How about baking in ramekins for individual portions? Would that work?<br />
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 29, 2018
Hi Pamela,<br /><br />I haven't tested it that way, but I'd imagine it would be fine—and that sounds delicious. I'd just keep a very close eye on them the first time around to determine bake time.<br /><br />Ella
 
Kitchen D. November 30, 2018
Mousse is good.
 
Kathleen November 28, 2018
Can you cut back the sugar without major changes to the structure?<br />?<br /><br /><br />
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 29, 2018
Hi Kathleen,<br /><br />I haven't tested it that way, but I'd be curious to hear how it goes if you try it out. I suspect you could cut down a bit without big issues to the internal structure, though the top may get less crackly! (I bet it'd still taste great, though.) <br /><br />Ella
 
Sherry E. December 2, 2018
ever get response?<br />
 
Smaug November 27, 2018
I'll have to try this. My go to in this class of cake is one from Le Francais, a Chicago area restaurant (collected by- who else- Maida Heatter), called "Torte Souffle au Chocolate). The ingredients are 4oz. unsw. chocolate, 6oz. semisweet chocolate, 5 oz. butter, 1c.+1Tb. sugar, 7eggs,1/3c. Grand Marnier. The egg whites are whipped and folded in, so it rises a bit during baking, but collapses into a dense cake. Similar to this recipe, but considerably more baking time.<br />
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 27, 2018
That sounds delicious!
 
Smaug November 27, 2018
It is. So in this Kladdkaka recipe, do you cool the chocolate butter mixture at all before adding the eggs?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 27, 2018
I added in the dry ingredients first, and the stirring from that cooled the butter/chocolate enough that I wasn't concerned with the eggs. (If the butter/chocolate were hot enough that I was worried about it, I WOULD let it cool for a few minutes, stirring to release heat, before adding.)
 
Smaug November 28, 2018
Okey dokey then, thanks.
 
Hampton F. November 27, 2018
Delicious! I used cake flour and panko bread crumbs.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 27, 2018
Sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing.
 
Zahra L. November 27, 2018
Is it possible to use all purpose flour for this recipe? Would I use more? Thank you!
 
Hampton F. November 27, 2018
Cake flour worked well, so I would think AP would be fine.
 
Karla L. November 26, 2018
Can you sub whole wheat flour for almond flour to make it gluten free?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 26, 2018
Hi Karla, I haven’t tried that, but it sounds delicious—I imagine it’d be quite a bit denser. Let me know if you try it!
 
Sheri B. November 26, 2018
Are there substitutions for breadcrumbs for coating? Thank you!
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 26, 2018
Hi Sheri, you can just grease the pan extra well with butter. Happy baking!
 
Smaug November 29, 2018
Flour worked fine for coating the pan- what little stuck to the cake incorporated itself.
 
Janie November 26, 2018
What type of breadcrumbs do you place on the bottom of the pan ?<br />Do they incoperate into the cake bottom or stay in the pan.<br />Want to try cake - looks delicious 😋
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 26, 2018
Hi Janie, you can brush them off the side of the cake once finished. Standard (unsalted) breadcrumbs will do the trick.
 
Hampton F. November 26, 2018
It is taking much longer to bake than 15 minutes. Maybe my oven temperature is off!
 
Smaug November 29, 2018
There is no very obvious way to tell when this is done. There's some variability to what temp. the batter will be when you start baking, so that's variable- I had it at room temp. and it took me 25 min. to bake- at that point the top was starting to look dry around the edges, and it came out as advertised. You oven temp. could of course be off- they often are- but doneness of this cake is a little tricky to judge.
 
Katie M. November 26, 2018
I LOVED this! Can't wait to make it, myself :)
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 26, 2018
Thanks Katie! Let me know how it goes.
 
Posie (. November 26, 2018
Yay! This is my favorite -- we wrote about the white chocolate version earlier this year here: https://food52.com/blog/21968-a-squidgy-swedish-cake-that-s-pretty-much-a-brownie-kladdkaka
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 26, 2018
Thank you Posie! I can't wait to try the white chocolate version. I admit I don't naturally gravitate toward white chocolate, but you've convinced me!