While in Sweden, I didn’t get to eat as many pastries as I would have liked, but it was still a carbohydrate bacchanal not soon to be forgotten. Bread at every meal. Potatoes. Buns. Cakes. Pepparkakor. My regime went out the airplane window…


Traditional Swedish pastries are not as sweet as American ones. They’re flavored differently too, with delicate saffron or cardamom, and raisins. These are from the Konditori Fågelsången (Birdsong Café) in Uppsala.

While we were in Sweden, the country was preparing for St. Lucia day, December 13, when little girls dress in white robes with red sashes. The eldest wears a crown of candles (!) on her head, and they sing the St. Lucia song, delivering coffee and special Lussekatter buns to their parents. (The Lussekatter buns are the S-shaped ones at the top of the case. They’re a simple sweet-roll dough with saffron.)


So cute. Notice that the candles are REAL. I saw real candles everywhere on this trip. Photo: Blue Church; click for source.

And then there are the cakes…


The green “Princess cakes” are much-favored in Sweden. They were invented in the early 20th century for the three daughters of Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, the Duke of Västergötland: Margaretha, Martha and Astrid. The blue cakes are called “Prince cakes” and the pink ones are “Opera cakes.”

In Sweden, the coffee break (“fika”) is a national institution. It’s not a meal, like English tea, but a break from work or study, when people take time to enjoy coffee and a treat. They don’t drink their coffee in front of the computer. It’s too good for that!


The Princess cake has layers of sponge with pastry cream and whipped cream, topped by a layer of marzipan. Sometimes other layers are included, of jam or fresh fruit.


I was so greedy for this one that I ate a bite before I thought to take a picture.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the Best Cake on Earth. But I haven’t been to Vienna… Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all!