Celebrating the Cinnamon Bun, Sweden’s Favorite Baked Treat

If there’s one baked item that’s quintessentially Swedish, it’s the cinnamon bun – or kanelbulle, as it’s known in Sweden. The Swedish love affair with cinnamon buns dates back to the years immediately following World War I, when ingredients that had been rationed became available again. Over the next few decades, as both the economy and kitchen equipment improved, cinnamon buns went from being a special treat sold only at cafés to something almost anyone could easily bake at home.

Contributing to the popularity of cinnamon buns is the Swedish tradition of fika, a deeply ingrained custom that involves a social coffee break with a sweet treat – more often than not, a cinnamon bun. Cinnamon buns are so much a part of Swedish culture that the Swedish Central Statistics Bureau has tracked everything from the number of cinnamon buns the average Swede eats in a year (230 in 2013) to the rise in cinnamon bun prices at cafés (74 percent between 1990 and 2017).

Cinnamon buns even have their own holiday, Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon Bun Day), which has been celebrated annually on October 4th since 1999, when the Home Baking Council (Hembakningsrådet) launched the tradition as part of its 40th anniversary. Of course, there are also statistics related to this celebration. According to a 2018 study by Oxford Research, Swedes purchase approximately seven million cinnamon buns on October 4 every year, with an additional two million buns baked at home. An impressive number for a population of 10 million!

Published on October 4, 2018

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