I had the amazing opportunity to go back to Denmark this summer for the third time. In Denmark, the predominant flavor for sweets and alcohol, much to my dismay, is licorice. Salted licorice candy and liquors like Små Grå dominate the market. I had to get used to the question, “Does it taste like licorice?” when offered anything new. Thankfully, Denmark does rely on other flavor profiles, and much to my surprise, I have fallen in love with other candies and liquors. Has anyone heard of Fiske Fjæs? One shot of that menthol-tasting alcohol and your sinuses will be cleared!
I always go back to an original favorite, though. Eight years ago, almost to the day, I arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a semester abroad. One of my first trips with my classmates was out on a fishing boat. We started the journey with a shot of ice cold Akvavit, or Snaps. Danish Akvavit does not rely on licorice, thank goodness, but on caraway and dill. It sounds like it would not be pleasant, but there is something earthy and satisfying about it! For these cupcakes, I used Danish Aalborg Akvavit.
I decided to pay homage to licorice through the use of fennel seeds in this cupcake. Pair it with the herbaceousness of the Akvavit in a cream cheese frosting, and you have a Danish-inspired cupcake!