The Nordic Baking Book's Kladdkaka (Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake)

November 23, 2018
4 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

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.

"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."

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. —Ella Quittner

Test Kitchen Notes

Feel free to swap in all-purpose or cake flour, if it's what you have on-hand. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
The Nordic Baking Book's Kladdkaka (Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake)
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 8 pieces
  • 200 grams (7-ounces or 1 3/4 sticks) butter, plus extra to grease
  • Breadcrumbs, to coat
  • 200 grams (7-ounces) dark (semisweet) chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 grams (9-ounces or 1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • 40 grams (1 1/2-ounces or 1/3 cup) weak (soft) wheat flour
  • Good pinch of sea salt
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/345ºF/Gas Mark 4. Butter a 24-cm/9 1/2-inch springform cake pan and coat with breadcrumbs.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Add the chocolate and keep melting everything together while stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients while you keep stirring until well combined.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the surface and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. It should be sticky on the inside. If the cake gets too dark, cover it with aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ifjuly
  • Eleanor Goodman Gipson
    Eleanor Goodman Gipson
  • Kate Valleri
    Kate Valleri
  • Smoothiesrule
  • Rachel Weise
    Rachel Weise

34 Reviews

ifjuly August 19, 2020
The gooey chocolate pudding cake of my dreams! And the easiest one to boot too--recipe isn't kidding about taking 30 minutes tops start to finish. I'd tried others last winter and the one before that, British recipes IIRC, and they were all disappointing--grainy from unmelted sugar. The secret is indeed to cook it briefly on the stove first to avoid that graininess. Dreamy, delicious stuff, the hype is totally merited!
Jenna H. March 16, 2020
AMAZING. These will not disappoint you! <3
MMR April 21, 2019
Made this and added a goat cheese whipped cream. It was delicious and the perfect creamy, tangy topping to balance the sweetness of the chocolate.
Eleanor G. April 21, 2019
I used really good chocolate and the flavor came through loud and clear-delish. Also, ground salted buttered pecans (leftover hors d’oeuvers) with graham crackers for the crust and topped with rolled marzipan-mainly to use it up. Nice!
Kate V. March 29, 2019
My husband took the first bite and accidentally swore in front of our son. He absolutely loves this cake.
Try to splash out on high quality chocolate. I've made it twice already and subbed crushed graham crackers, thanks to Darian below, and baked for 25 minutes.
Darian January 22, 2019
This cake is SOOO good! My family was literally speechless while they ate it. I used graham cracker crumbs instead of breadcrumbs since I had them on hand. Cooked for 25 minutes and it was perfect!
porchapples January 16, 2019
Added cardamom and lemon zest to the batter ( directly into the melted butter)
Ithaca January 10, 2019
Made this at the weekend - didn't change the recipe (except to use a 50:50 mix of dark and milk chocolate) and it came out great, 25 mins in the oven was about right. Our kids loved it - it is very sweet, but you only need a small serving anyway as it's very rich. I used a square shallow non-stick cake / brownie tin with greaseproof paper lining and no issues with sticking at all.

It did literally take 15 mins to put together so definitely something we'll be making again.
dc January 1, 2019
Loved this! Served New Year’s Eve and everyone had 2nds. We didn’t find it too sweet but I did use 4oz of 70% and 3oz of 60% bittersweet chocolate. I cooked it for 27 minutes, could have probably gone 30. This will be made again! Thanks for sharing.
Linda M. December 31, 2018
This recipe is quite fantastic as literally melts in one's mouth (and dark chocolate is "healthy"😊)! Cooking time for me was about 25 minutes as I was waiting for the edges to be a little crusty and the middle still a little wiggly. It is quite the tempting dessert, and one I shall definitely make again to share its exquisite "yummyness with others". Thank you Food52!
Anna B. December 27, 2018
This looks quite a bit sweeter than I would prefer. How much do you think I could reduce the sugar without messing up the texture?
Lynn December 27, 2018
I used a scant cup, but I also used a very dark chocolate and that worked for me. I definitely have no sweet tooth. :-)
Anya S. February 14, 2019
I used just 70% dark chocolate and served with barely sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries. I didn’t find it too sweet like that but I’d skip the ice cream since the cake is really rich and sweet enough.
Joyce December 26, 2018
A little too sweet for my taste. I'll decrease the sugar a wee bit next time. Like some others, my butter-chocolate mix was too hot and began to cook my eggs when I mixed them in. I've never had that happen before, revolting. So I'd let it cool a bit next time before mixing. Used AP flour and seemed alright. I lost my springform pan when moving and haven't replaced it yet. A well buttered and crumbed 10" cake pan lined with parchment paper worked very well though. Cooked 25 minutes until the edges were noticeably set but a toothpick still came out sticky when inserted.
Kirsten December 25, 2018
This is the 1st thing I’ve baked in years & it was painless! I let it cook the full 20 min. & maybe a little beyond. The center looked a little like pudding, but once cooled that’s just fine. I cut the sugar down to 1 cup based on others’ advice (thank you!) & might even cut it a little more next time. A little powdered sugar &/or whip cream on top & definitely 5 stars (4.5 for taste & then .5 because it’s so incredibly easy!).
Smoothiesrule December 22, 2018
Most of the trouble was due to my holiday stretched brain. BUT I never heard of a 9 1/2” springform and had overlong internal debate of using a 9 vs a 10. Then, the multicultural instructions threw me. Seems like a cool idea until you realize it said 175C and 345F. Yes folks for some strange reason it didn’t seem odd to bake something at 175F and then I thought “gosh, this certainly is gooey”. So I guess this recipe is fine if you aren’t rushing around like a lunatic. But then I would have made something else
thedrells December 3, 2018
I made this on Saturday for my daughter's birthday (her 20th), she thought she'd died and gone to heaven :-) I used an idea in the comments of lining with cocoa first rather than breadcrumbs, I also limited it to 1 cup of sugar.
Kathryn L. December 2, 2018
Why is the pan lined with breadcrumbs? I really don’t want breadcrumbs coating my cake when it’s finished cooking. I’d much rather butter and coat the pan with a little cocoa. That makes better sense to me. I’m glad it turned out well for so many. My dad would have loved this.
Smaug December 2, 2018
It's just to prevent it sticking, a lot of people do it with all their cakes. This cake isn't likely to stick, you could skip it. I suppose cocoa would be alright, though I wouldn't do it- it burns very easily. I used flour, which was undetectable on the finished cake. I doubt the breadcrumbs would be either.
Fiona W. December 24, 2018
Not sure mine is going to
come out of the pan in spite of butter and cocoa/sugar. It’s not cool yet. ??
Becky January 9, 2019
How do you test to see if the cake is done? Thanks
Jillkn December 2, 2018
What is in the additional topping shown in the video? Looks like something fruit.
Regina November 30, 2018
Just made/ate this great cake. Wonderful! It did take almost 30 minutes to cook. At 15 minutes it was still liquid. I served with whipped cream and toasted pecans. Simple and delicious!
Betsy November 30, 2018
Would it be possible to substitute almond flour for the soft wheat flour called-for in the recipe?
Mary F. December 21, 2018
Yes, in the comments for the other article featuring this cake someone subbed almond flour and said it worked well.
Rachel W. November 29, 2018
Made this last night and it was SOOOOOO good. I didn't have bread crumbs so I just used butter and cocoa powder for the pan. My father said this is his new favorite dessert; it might be one of mine too. Winner!
Ella Q. December 21, 2018
So glad you enjoyed, Rachel!