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Vetekrans (Swedish Tea Ring)

This vetekrans recipe makes an irresistible Swedish tea ring that’s basically a giant wreath made of cinnamon buns. It’s all covered with a generous drizzle of vanilla icing and absolutely perfect with a steaming mug of coffee.

Vetekrans is a longtime favorite in my house, though I must confess that I don’t make it too often. Why? Because this recipe makes a GIANT wreath of cardamom-spiced cinnamon buns smothered in vanilla icing… and I have a small family. You need a crowd to devour this sweet yeasted bread, which is really best within a day or two of making it.

Today provided the perfect opportunity to make it as we had friends dropping by for an outdoor movie night. I wanted to make a fun dessert everyone could eat with their hands and that didn’t require too much effort. Believe it or not, that is this vetekrans recipe! Despite its impressive appearance, this Swedish tea ring is surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a bit of time and patience.

What is Vetekrans?

“Vetekrans” literally means “Wheat Wreath,” though it is more commonly called a Swedish Tea Ring. The recipe comes from Scandanavia and makes a tender and fluffy pastry that’s an addictive blend of yeasted coffee cake and sweet cardamom bread. When I describe Vetekrans to my friends I usually say something like: “It’s a wreath of cinnamon rolls covered with icing.”

A slice of vetekrans on a blue plate

You’ll Love this Recipe Because…

  • It is easy to make. You do need a bit of baking knowledge, but if you can make cinnamon buns then you can make this Swedish Tea ring.
  • The taste! Divine. This recipe is, in a word, decadent: like the best cinnamon buns you’ve ever had strung together in a fragrant cardamom-spiced wreath, then drizzled with an vanilla glaze.
  • So fluffy. Each slice of Vetekrans is tender and fluffy.
  • Impressive. If you want to impress someone with your baking prowess and are wondering what to make, this recipe should be on your list of contenders.

How to Make Vetekrans

The initial stages of making vetekrans are similar to making cinnamon buns, the key differences being you don’t have to knead this dough much and the dough is chilled overnight. However, the process of rolling it out, adding butter and cinnamon sugar, then rolling it all up is identical. I will outline the steps below but for a visual check out my Homemade Cinnamon Buns recipe.

Proof the yeast. In the bowl of a stand mixer (affiliate link), dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add a generous pinch of sugar and let it stand for 5 minutes. The mixture should get bubbly.

Make the dough. While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter and let it cool a bit so it is warm, not hot. Add the butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and cardamom to the stand mixer (affiliate link). Mix briefly with the paddle attachment. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing between additions. The dough should form a ball, but it will be quite sticky, not smooth like regular bread dough. This is normal. If the dough becomes too thick for the paddle attachment you can switch to your dough hook and knead it briefly until the flour has been worked in.

Chill. As soon as the ball of dough forms, cover your mixing bowl with saran wrap and place it in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours. I usually chill this dough overnight because the dough is much easier to work with when it is quite cold.

Roll out the dough. Lightly flour your countertop and turn the dough out onto the surface. Roll it into a 20 x 24 inch rectangle.

Assemble. Melt the butter, then spread it over the top of your rolled-out dough with a pastry brush. Make sure you cover every inch of the dough up to the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top, making sure to leave a 1-inch margin along the edges of the dough where the dough is NOT covered with sugar. (This is important because if you don’t leave that margin the edges won’t stick together when you roll up the dough.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Second rise. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, this will take about 60 to 90 minutes.

Bake. Preheat your oven to 375F. Bake the vetekrans for 15-20 minutes, checking at the 15-minute mark. If the bread is browning too quickly you can cover it loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to allow the insides to continue baking without making the exterior brown further.

Make and add the icing. In a large bowl combine the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and cream. Mix well until you have a thick but pourable icing. With a spoon, drizzle it all over the top of your vetekrans

Allow to set and cool. Let the bread cool until the icing has hardened a bit. This will take about 30 min to an hour. About halfway through I might add a second coat of the icing by making another batch of it and filling in any gaps where the icing dripped off the edges of the bread.

Vetekrans on parchment paper covered with icing

Tips for Success

  • Do the baby bottle test. When determining how warm your water should be to proof the yeast, do the baby bottle test. By this I mean add a dab of the water to the inside of your wrist. If it feels warm it’s the perfect temperature. If it feels hot, then it is probably too hot for a baby’s bottle and also too hot for the yeast. Hot water will kill the yeast.
  • Don’t skip the chill time. The vetekrans dough is very sticky, so the chill time is an important part of successfully making this recipe. Once the dough has chilled it is easy to work with and won’t stick to everything.
  • Use a pastry brush. This simple tool makes it easier to cover the rolled out dough with melted butter. In a pinch you could use your fingers, but that can get messy. A pastry brush is much better!
  • Don’t forget that margin. It is important that you leave a 1-inch margin along the edges of the dough when adding the cinnamon sugar. This allows the dough to stick together and seal in the sugar as you assemble the vetekrans.
A slice of vetekrans on a blue plate with a fork, a bite taken out

How to Store

Once it has cooled to room temperature you can loosely cover the vetekrans with aluminum foil and store it on the counter for up to 2 days. Don’t put it in an airtight container or the icing will start to get sticky as it absorbs moisture from the bread.

To slightly extend its shelf life you can store the bread in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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Vetekrans (Swedish Tea Ring)

Swedish tea ring on a baking sheet with parchment paper
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This vetekrans recipe makes an irresistible Swedish tea ring that’s basically a giant wreath made of cinnamon buns. It’s all covered with a generous drizzle of vanilla icing and absolutely perfect with a steaming mug of coffee.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Rising Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Scandanavian

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)

For the Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Proof the yeast. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the yeast, warm water and a generous pinch of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. In the meantime, melt 1/2 cup of butter and set aside to cool slightly.

Make the dough. Add the melted and cooled butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and cardamom. Mix briefly with your paddle attachment. Add the flour 1 cup at a time until a ball of dough has formed. If it becomes too thick for the paddle attachment, switch to your dough hook and knead briefly until the flour has been worked in.

Chill. Cover your bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Roll out and make a jelly roll. Flour your countertop and turn out the dough. Roll it out to make a 20 x 24 inch rectangle. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and with a pastry brush spread with a thin layer of it right to the edge of the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, leaving a 1-inch margin along the edges of the dough where there is no sugar. Roll up the dough into a log, pinching the dough together at the edges and along the seams.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, pinching the ends of the log together to form a circle. If the dough wont stick together wet your fingers with a bit of water and moisten the dough, pinching the ends together firmly but gently. 

Shape the vetekrans. With scissors, cut almost through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each piece so that the cut side is exposed. Let rise until almost doubled (about 60-90 minutes in a warm location).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden. If the vetekrans is browning too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

Make the icing. In a large bowl combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Drizzle all over the baked vetekrans while it is still warm, then set aside to finish cooling.

Notes

Recipe and method adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas.

Keywords: swedish tea ring, yeasted coffee cake, cinnamon bun wreath, cardamom bread

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