Canada: taking a trip to Cupcakeville
Oh, Canada. The charmingly apologetic, less temperamental neighbour to Trump’s America, Canada is renowned for its extreme winters, maple syrup, and foxy head of state (think again... Queen Elizabeth, we’re looking at you)
It also holds a special place in Kryddhyllan’s spice rack (for those that don’t know, we’ve enjoyed our fair share of arctic winters as Montreal locals). So we were extra excited to meet up with former Torontonian Erin, for an afternoon of Canadian fare and fun. Another victim of Sweden’s grand seduction ploy, Erin moved to Stockholm for love three years ago, trading in Tim Horton’s for fika, and poutine for köttbullar.
She welcomed us into the sophisticated apartment she shares with her boyfriend (let the record state that she takes the credit for decorating), and showed us to the most organized kitchen we’d ever seen. Erin’s trusty KitchenAid stood at attention, and we soon learned that we had entered into the home of a true baking wizard, known and loved for making delectable creations for lucky colleagues and friends. To our delight, we found out that cupcakes would be on the menu today, and that we’d be making a take on a popular recipe for peanut butter chocolate cupcakes. Don’t worry, we drooled when we heard that too, and said a silent prayer of thanks to whoever invented 2% elastane jeans. Read on to learn how to make these masterpieces below:
“You guys have more sauces than the French. And that’s saying something.”
Recipe for peanut butter chocolate cupcakes
With a longstanding history dating back to 1796 (thank you, Wikipedia), cupcakes are best known for being pretty much irresistible to any living, breathing human being. This recipe takes things to the next level, by adding a peanut butter icing (apparently peanut butter is not just for eating with a spoon straight from the jar), to a classic chocolate cupcake. The result? A match made in sugary heaven.
Make the cupcakes first, and leave ample time for them to cool off before adding the icing (unless you want melted, runny icing… it’s equally delicious but less Instagram-friendly).
Pair with: We’ve never actually considered what beverages pair best with cupcakes, but we naturally assume that some rye whisky (Crown Royal for a truly authentic Canadian experience) would work. Or perhaps some icewine from Ontario?
Listen to: Erin’s pained expression when we suggested Justin Bieber led us to suggest some other Canadian favourites instead: The Weeknd or Drake for whisking through the dry ingredients with your woes, or some classic Bryan Adams (perfect for licking batter off the spoon).
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- ¾ cups cocoa
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius
- Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Keep mixing until the batter is smooth (pro lazy tip: you can also use a mixer for this)
- Slowly mix in the boiling water. The batter should be fairly thin.
- Add the batter into cupcake forms. For mini-cupcake fill it up to about ¾ of the form.
- Leave the cupcakes to bake in the oven for approximately 12-16 minutes, depending on your oven (stick a toothpick into the cupcake, if it comes out free of batter it’s ready)
- Allow cupcakes to cool for at least 10 minutes before starting with the icing.
- 1.5 cups butter (room temperature)
- ¾ of 250g package of cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp whipping cream (35% fat)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 cups icing sugar
- Add all ingredients except half of the icing sugar into a bowl.
- Start blending in a mixer
- Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar, blending the icing a bit after each additional cup
- The icing is now ready to go! Place it in a piping bag (we used a medium sized one) and head to town!
- Let your imagination run wild! Classic or unconventional, we followed only one rule: there is no such thing as “too much icing”.
Kryddhyllan: The first question; what is your favorite food from home?
Erin: That’s a tough one, I love all food.
Erin: Uhhh, well something that I don’t get here, that I can’t really make that well on my own, are perogies. Like traditional perogies with potato and cheddar cheese on the inside. Normally I would go to the Saint Lawrence Market in Toronto, and buy them there. We have them for most of our holiday meals. It’s delicious.
Kryddhyllan: And why is it your favorite food?
Erin: I think it’s because in Canada it’s very mixed, like everybody’s heritage, uh and so it’s very prevalent when we all get together in my family for holidays. So we have like Ukrainian background and Polish background, and Irish and Scottish and Italian. So it’s super mixed and we all bring something special to the table.
Kryddhyllan: Who brings the perogies?
Erin: My mom, I think it comes from her side of the family, her grandmother. I mean we also have cabbage rolls but they’re not as exciting as perogies *laughs
Kryddhyllan: I love cabbage rolls, they’re delicious. They’re so underrated. Cabbage in general.
Erin: I’m so so on the cabbage rolls.
Kryddhyllan: What brought you to Sweden?
Erin: Uh, when I was a teenager I came here to visit my best friend who moved here after her parents got divorced. She’s still my best friend today- and while I was here visiting her I met my current boyfriend.
Kryddhyllan: Love! Love and friendship
Erin: Yup, that was what brought me back as an adult *laughs
Kryddhyllan: Beautiful. I feel like a lot of people come to Sweden for love.
Erin: I think that’s probably the most popular reason I hear around the office with my international colleagues.
Kryddhyllan: And then it steals your soul…
Kryddhyllan: Anyway, love is great. Okay so, favourite new dishes since moving to Sweden.
Erin: Skagenröra. Yup, it’s magic on toast.
Kryddhyllan: Before coming here, what did you know about Swedish food?
Erin: I actually knew quite a bit, because my best friend when I was here visiting her in maybe 2003, I wanna say- her grandma had us over for a traditional Swedish dinner. And her grandma was from the suburbs out in Åkersberga, and it’s a very traditional family road, and she served everything. It was like a holiday meal. So my first dinner was some kind of flank steak, and then boiled potatoes with dill, we had sill but homemade sill that she had made herself, we had blood pudding which was interesting…
Kryddhyllan: Such a mix!
Erin: Yeah, she wanted to give me like this full experience of everything. In one meal. She was so excited to have me there. What else did we have? I think some kind of purple cabbage salad, and then- I guess I should clarify that I came around Christmas-time (so maybe it makes more sense now) *laughs. What else… We had ham, and those special potatoes with the anchovies on them
Kryddhyllan: Jansson’s Frestelse? So good.
Erin: Yeah, good is one way to put it…
Kryddhyllan: Well, at least you can say that Swedish food is not very generic. And it’s got a big variety to it.
Erin: Oh yeah. We also had snaps. Homemade
Kryddhyllan: Oh nice, moonshine!
Erin: Exactly *laughs. But she put a lot of rhubarb in it, so it was actually pretty tolerable.
Kryddhyllan: When is it not?!
Erin: I was also an on and off vegetarian at the time, so it was a bit tough for me getting through the meal, so I ate a lot of red cabbage, and my best friend’s boyfriend had most of my blood pudding. I tried everything to be polite, but it was a bit much. So yeah, that was, I think that’s what I’ve associated Swedish food with. And meatballs! Of course we had meatballs too. And the red jam, the lingonberries.
Kryddhyllan: We would’ve been concerned if meatballs weren’t included in this meal.
Erin: It was a big table for everyone to take from, and there were 30 relatives there. A lot of singing too.
Kryddhyllan: The snaps songs?
Erin: Yup. I guess I was around 15 or 16 at the time.
Kryddhyllan: So what do you think is the best and worst thing about Swedish food?
Erin: I actually think the best and worst thing about Swedish food are actually the same. Because Swedes like to put a lot of creamy rich sauces on everything, and it’s delicious… but it’s also a problem. I mean let’s get real, it’s tough. Like chili aioli, bearnaise sauce, hollandaise, I mean you guys have got a sauce for everything. So that’s the best and worst thing about Swedish food.
Kryddhyllan: We do love sauce.
Erin: Yeah, you guys have more sauces than the French. And that’s saying something.
Kryddhyllan: You forgot kebab sauce *laughs. Okay, if you had to pick one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Erin: Hmm. Can I do like a classification of food?
Kryddhyllan: Up to you.
Erin: I will go with Italian food. It’s the easiest to live off of as a vegetarian.
Kryddhyllan: Are you vegetarian?
Erin: Flexitarian. Like a Stockholm vegetarian, because I eat fish and seafood. But if someone served me meat I would eat it, to be polite.
Kryddhyllan: What is your “spice of life”? If you had to pick one spice to flavor your food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Erin: Truffle *laughs. I could drink truffle oil. I put it on plain macaroni with some salt and pepper the other night. I could even skip the cheese. Mac and Truf.
Kryddhyllan: What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? In you whole life?
Erin: I should say something quite profound right now, because I am quite a foodie, but nothing beats my mom’s blackened salmon and the various sides she prepares whenever I come home.
Kryddhyllan: What kind of sides?
Erin: It changes depending on the season, so it’s whatever is available at the farmer’s market and what looks fresh. In Toronto we’re lucky to be close to a really good farmer’s market.
Kryddhyllan: What’s it called?
Erin: Saint Lawrence Market
Kryddhyllan: I miss that in Montreal, they had great food markets. You could get baskets of cheap fresh veggies.
Erin: Yeah, great stuff.
Kryddhyllan: Last question- what is your favourite restaurant at the moment?
Erin: At the moment… hm, that’s hard to pick. It’s like choosing a favorite child.
Kryddhyllan: That’s why it’s just for the moment. For today even.
Erin: My favorite restaurant is actually in Paris. Uh, and it’s called Breizh café, and they specialize in crepes from Normandie, like buckwheat crepes. This year they actually got a mention as one of the top 50 restaurants in Paris. It was just down the street from my apartment so I probably ate there… five nights a week! They also do these specialty Normandie ciders, like the ones that come in a champagne bottle, but it’s amazing.
Kryddhyllan: So good.
Erin: I like really simple food. I mean sure I can go to one of these Michelin star restaurants, and actually, there’s a really good Michelin star restaurant here in Stockholm called Volt and I can highly recommend it.
Kryddhyllan: Where is it?
Erin: It’s on Linnégatan I think. It’s like 7 courses and it’s amazing. They were super flexible with my vegetarian requests. But at the end of the day, I’m a simple person, I like simple food.
Kryddhyllan: Thank you! Let’s eat some cupcakes!