Thanks to trade with the Hanseatic League, spices have been present in Scandinavia since the fifteenth century. They were used mostly in mjød, or mead, a fermented honey drink. See mead. When spices became more affordable around 1700, they began to be used more commonly. In Scandinavia, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla have been especially popular in baking for the last 200 years.
Vanilla is a basic ingredient in many cake recipes and is also found in candy and caramels. See caramels. Cinnamon is used in many ways. Arguably most famous is the cinnamon bun, of which commercial and home versions exist, along with regional variations. The kanelsnegle is a Danish pastry for which cold butter is rolled into dough that is coiled around a sweet cinnamon filling. The most widespread cinnamon buns, called kanelbullar, are made with yeast dough, with melted butter added. They are offered by almost every baker throughout Scandinavia. Similar to kanelbullar are kardemummabullar, which use ground cardamom instead of cinnamon. Cardamom is used throughout Scandinavia to enhance the flavor of almost all variations of blødt brød—the soft, sweet, yeasted wheat bread that forms the basis of many buns and cakes.