Swedish

The Fudgiest Chocolate Cake Needs Just 5 Ingredients & 20 Minutes

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

December 27, 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."

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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!

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches.

51 Comments

Martha S. December 27, 2018
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Elizabeth B. December 26, 2018
I made this for Christmas Eve dinner. I did not use any bread crumbs. Just buttered and floured the pan. I used a regular non-stick baking tin. Had to cook it for an additional 10 minutes. It was delicious....also could only find dark bittersweet chocolate so did a half & half with regular semi-sweet chocolate . Will definitely serve this again.
 
Elizabeth C. December 25, 2018
A simple fast recipe that you can tweak to make your own.
I used All Purpose flour instead of weak flour
Crushed pretzels instead of breadcrumbs and both worked out fine.
Topped with home made whipped cream, not too stiff.
I did have to increase the time and temp (I don't think this was due to my changes).
After 20 mins at 345 degrees the center was still liquid in my gas oven.
I increased temp to 350 and baked it for another 15 mins.
I live in Pennsylvania, I don't know if elevation is a factor?
The final result was a moist, dense, fudge like cake that
I will definitely make again :)
 
Joanrich December 25, 2018
Why not use ground nuts instead of bread crumbs?
 
V December 25, 2018
I found the breadcrumbs to be very forgiving for a marginal baker. They soaked up the butter and chocolate like a champ without burning.
 
V December 23, 2018
Pretty sure it is almost impossible to mess this cake up.... I tried several times to mess it up while following this simple recipe and it still turned out amazing. If my baking was on film..... the bloopers would look like this - all went well until after I poured the batter into the newly purchased springform cake pan.... when I was getting ready to pop it into my 175F oven I realized I forgot the eggs. I poured the lovely looking batter out of the pan, back into the saucepan; broke 4 eggs into a bowl, scrambled them and stirred them into the batter. I then rebuttered and breaded the cakepan over whatever was left in there before. With the batter then complete and correct, I gingerly put the cake into the oven. While hoping for the best - I checked the recipe and cake when I realized 175 was suppose to be 345F (that’s when I thought, this cake is doomed!).... went back to the oven after 15 mins and raised the temperature to 345F and cooked it for another 20mins. Needless to say the cake turned out perfect. Pretty sure baking is not my strong suit but I will keep trying! On to the poached Salmon..... wish me luck!
 
Gloria R. December 22, 2018
I made this amazing desert today and I must say this is a winner! I will be making this over and over again!
 
Asma December 22, 2018
I've made this thrice now, second and third times with the following changes: 175g butter, 175g sugar and a large pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Everything else remained the same as the original recipe. Oh and I buttered the tin and coated it with cocoa powder. Excellent!
 
Joanne December 21, 2018
Do u have a link to his wife’s version?
 
zingyginger May 9, 2019
https://www.saveur.com/swedish-gooey-chocolate-cake-recipe
 
Polly V. December 21, 2018
What is “soft” wheat flour? I just completed a family cookbook with several Swedish recipes. It has been self published and ready to give my Swedish family this Christmas. Wish I could have added this wonderful cake!
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. December 21, 2018
Hi Polly,

It means "low gluten"—it's cake flour or pastry flour. With that said, all-purpose works for this recipe as well if you already have it on hand. (You'll have a slightly less light, tender crumb, but it'll still be delicious.)

Ella
 
Smaug December 21, 2018
I inadvertently made this recipe once without the flour; it made considerably less difference than one might think. In this quantity and with the high fat/low moisture content of this recipe, I find it very unlikely that the type of flour will make a significant difference
 
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?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. December 18, 2018
Hi Elisa,

I haven't tried that, but I suspect it would work. Please let me know if you try it!

Ella
 
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?
 
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?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 29, 2018
Hi Pamela,

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.

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?
?


 
Author Comment
Ella Q. November 29, 2018
Hi Kathleen,

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.)

Ella
 
Sherry E. December 2, 2018
ever get response?
 
Smaug December 23, 2018
This cake really has no structure in the sense that most cakes do, the amount of sugar won't affect it. It's awfully sweet as written.
 
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.
 
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!
 
Binu December 18, 2018
Hi, I tried with replacing equal amt of almond flour, came out yummy.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. December 18, 2018
So good to know! Thank you! :)