Kanelkake; a simple, everyday Norwegian cinnamon cake

Oct 4, 2016

It’s no secret that Scandinavians have a special love for cinnamon and Norwegians are no different.  Cinnamon has been documented to be used in cooking since the 17th century in Norway, but started to be imported already in the 13th century to convent gardens and to major cities.  Bergen was one of the main cities for spice trade.  The traditional Norwegian farmer remained however skeptical at this stage to using these foreign spices.  Spices and herbs were associated with status and wealth for the longest time. In the middle ages, people in Norway ate very few vegetables, but spices and herbs were added to meat (which was also sparse and reserved for the richer population).  In the 17th century it became more common place to use cinnamon to add flavor as well as to preserve foods.
These days, you’d be hard pressed to find any popular pastries not containing cinnamon in Norway (although perhaps a bit of an exaggeration), but you won’t find this one complaining! 🙂
I love recreating simple cakes such as the one I am featuring today, “kanelkake” (kanel is Norwegian for cinnamon), because it’s very light and not overly sweet.  Most cakes I have come across in the United States are either covered in frosting or buttercream, which makes them a “special occasion” cake at best. This is more like a coffee cake or a breakfast bread even, that you can enjoy in the morning or a Tuesday afternoon (or any other day!).
The best part for me is that it contains no dairy or eggs, but is still super juicy, light and fluffy and of course- flavorful with a nice kick of cinnamon!  My chef husband devoured half of this cake before I even got to it – so if you make it, hide it in a special place, and be sure to have a piece while it’s nice and warm right out of the oven!!
KANELKAKE (Cinnamon Cake)
1 1/4 cup almond milk (or other plant based milk)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil or neutral oil
2/3 cup coconut sugar or cane sugar
2/3 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose or spelt flour
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Dress a 9X9 inch rectangular baking pan (like a brownie pan) with parchment paper (or 20x30cm pan for those of you in Europe).
Combine all ingredients in the order above in a large bowl, and pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until a cake tester runs clear in the middle. Cool on a rack before you dive in!!


  1. Hi Sunny this cake sounds great! I’m not a fan of cakes covered in frosting as they are usually far too sweet. Simple, rustic cakes are my favourite and I love that this one is dairy-free as well. I will have to give it a try!

  2. Hi Chez – great to hear from you and that you like the sound of my cake! Let me know how you like it – –
    Happy baking! Sunny 🙂

  3. Your cinnamon cake looks fab! I must make it today! Yummm!

  4. Can you make this with regular milk?

    • Hi Erika, yes you can but I don’t recommend it naturally because this is a vegan blog 🙂 There are many healthier and kinder alternatives out there in the form of amazing plant based milks!

  5. Hi Sunny,
    This cakes sounds perfect…simple, vegan, not overly sweet, I did wonder if that is actually one tablespoon of cinnamon?. That seems like a lot for one cake.
    Also, what type of cocoa is used as I’ve seen Dutch, processed, etc on the store shelves and never knew which to use and when.
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Gina! Glad you like the sound/look of my cake! Yes, one tablespoon is correct, that is why it’s called a “cinnamon” cake, haha … and us Norwegians love cinnamon so we tend to like a lot, but you can reduce it to 2 tsp if you’re not fond of a strong cinnamon flavor.
      You can use whichever cocoa powder you like (although not the “hot chocolate cocoa powder”), either Dutch processed or natural cocoa powder, I prefer the latter most of the time.
      Happy baking!!
      Sunny 🙂

    • Hi Gina,
      SO sorry I didn’t see this until now… Yes it’s one tbsp of cinnamon. I prefer organic cocoa powder, but any cocoa powder will do in this recipe. Hope that helps! Sunny


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