Runeberg torte | Traditional Finnish almond cake recipe

Runeberg torte has a unique appearance and flavor. If you are an almond lover like me, you like cardamon, and want to try a treat packed with flavor, I guarantee this iconic Finnish Runeberg torte recipe is your cup of tea.

Runeberg tortes on a serving tray, two coffee cops with saucers on a flower printed linen.

The beginning of the year is the time for two distinctive treats in Finland, Laskiaispulla and Runeberg torte (Runebergin torttu). While Laskiaispulla is a fluffy bun overfilled with luxurious whipped cream falling out of it, the Runeberg torte hides its secrets like a yummy horse of Troya. It is a modest-looking cake, but packed with flavor. Its appearance is distinctive: tall, cylinder-formed, simple pastry with a tiny dot of raspberry jam on the top encircled with sugar icing.

When you walk around in January-February in Helsinki, the Capital city of Finland, you will find the café vitrines colored with the red and white of the plentyness of Runeberg torte. Every bakery has its own version. This all culminates on the 5th of February, the Runeberg Day.

The story behind the Runeberg torte

It is said that Mrs. Fredrika Runeberg, the wife of the Finlands national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, was the first to make this treat. It was the time after Christmas in the early 19th century. Mr. Runeberg was complaining that his sweet tooth was tingling. The pantry was quite empty after Christmas celebrations so his wife used what was left: some bred crumbs, gingerbreads, almonds, and cream. Mr. Runeberg was delighted.

Another version of the story says that Runeberg loved this treat that Lars Astenius, a pastry chef in their hometown in Porvoo, baked. Runegergs visited often his bakery. But the fact is that you can find the recipe in Fredrika’s recipe book – so who can tell how the story really began?

Well, I’m totally, impartially on the wife’s side.

Though the creator of the Runeberg torte is unclear, the characteristics stay from year to year the same: the simple outline of the cylinder form, almond crumbles, moist mouthfeel, and the delicious raspberry jam. These Finnish traditional and seasonal pastries are in every café and bakery from January until the 5th of February, Runeberg Day when we celebrate Runeberg’s birthday. By the way, Runeberg is THE poet who has written the lyrics of Finland’s national anthem.

Ingredients you need

  • Gingerbreads, you can also use oat biscuits or thin crispbread
  • Wheat flour, you can also use Graham flour, maybe spelt or Einkorn might work too!
  • Almond flour and crumbs, traditional, can be substituted with other neutral flavored nuts or seeds
  • Cardamon, try to add some other Christmas flavors like a hint of nutmeg or cinnamon!
  • Baking powder
  • Butter, can be substituted with margarine
  • Brown sugar with molasses (fariinisokeri/farinsocker), can be substituted with cane sugar, plain white sugar, or half sugar and half dark syrup
  • Cane sugar, can be substituted as above
  • Eggs, choose free range organic eggs when possible
  • Coconut cream, traditionally there is used regular cream. I wanted to pair up the coconut flavors with the incredible almond flavors. Coconut cream can be substituted with cream, soured cream, milk of your choice, crème fraîche, or smetana
  • Sourdough bread crumbs, can be substituted with another kind of bread crumbs
  • Raspberry juice. Traditionally is used alcohol like arrack or punch. I don’t prefer the strong alcohol flavor, so I have been using the raspberry juice instead to enhance the raspberry flavors in the torte. Can be substituted with lemon juice, orange juice, or almond liqueur
  • Bitter almond aroma or almond extract, can be left out if you don’t like the flavor
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raspberry jam, use homemade if possible. Shop bought is also good, make sure to use jam that is close to marmalade with consistency, so it will not run down
Three glasses on their sides on a wooden surface, there is coming out some almond crumbs, some crushed ginger breads and cane sugar.

Tools you may need

  • Rolling pin or mortar for crushing the gingerbreads
  • Sharp cooking knife and cutting board
  • Bowls for dry and wet ingredients
  • Measuring cups
  • Scale
  • Electric whisk
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Small cake tins (traditional size is about 5,5cm ø, and 5-6cm tall), you can use as well muffin tray or ovenproof cups as I have used in this recipe
  • Baking pan and sheet (optional)
  • Small cooking pan and spoon
  • Sieve and/or small cloth for filtering
  • Piping bag or a small clean plastic bag, where you can cut the corner open for piping

How to make

Making the dough

Turn the oven on to 200°C (392°F). Begin by measuring the gingerbreads and use a rolling pin or mortar to crumble them and pour them into the bowl for dry ingredients. Then cut almond crumble: cut slices with a sharp knife and then cut horizontally to make almond crumble. I have chopped the almonds to very coarse crumbs – you can sure cut it finer if you prefer.

Cook knife placed on the wooden surface with whole almonds, coarse almond crumble and fine almond crumble.

Add almond crumbs into the bowl with the gingerbread crumbs. Mix wheat flour, almond flour, cardamon, and baking powder in the same bowl and put it on the side.

Take another bowl for the wet ingredients. Cut the butter into a few centimeter cubes, and add the brown sugar with molasses and cane sugar. Use the electric whisk to cream it. Add the eggs one by one and whisk in between. If you are using a bitter almond aroma you can add it now into the batter. Lastly, add the coconut cream and mixed dry ingredients alternately and whisk carefully to combine.

Several coffee cups buttered and floured with sourdough bread crumbs.

Grease and flour the cups or cake tins. I always use small ovenproof cups of Finnish Arabia porcelain, but if you have the cake tins about 5,5cm ø, and 5-6cm tall, they are just perfect to use now. Pour the batter in and leave 1-2 fingers wide space for the tortes to rise. Move to the baking pan, and use a baking sheet if needed. Place them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and beautiful golden color and the toothpick comes out clean.

If you want to enjoy these tortes as delicious almond muffins you can stop right in here and start eating. But with the next steps you can upgrade your muffins to yummy Runeberg tortes.

Resizing the Runeberg tortes

When the tortes have cooled down cut gently the tops of from the tortes. Don’t press too hard or the torte will tear up and be deformed. The easiest way is to use a large bread knife. Then turn them bottom up to have a nice and even surface. The idea is to get the flat tops so that the icing sugar circle and the raspberry jam won’t fall off.

A woman cutting the tops off from a Runeberg torte, on the side some are already cut some are still whole.

Dunking the Runeberg tortes

Next, you can whip up the flavorful mix to dunk in the tortes. Mix water, sugar, and raspberries in a small cooking pan and bring it to a boil. If you are using juice you can skip the next part. Use an immersion blender to blend the raspberry-sugar water. Let the mix cool down and filter the raspberry seeds with a sieve or a small cloth. I like to use both to make this step easier. When I have poured all I gather all the corners of the cloth in one hand and squeeze with the other one to push out all the liquid.

Hand squeezing a cloth with raspberry juice running in a glass bowl. Behind the unfinished Runeberg tortes.

When your raspberry water is ready, dunk and roll the tortes in the water – be generous. You can even dip them twice to get them nice and moist. Leave them on the side for a moment to let them suck in all the liquid. If you are not in a hurry you can even leave them covered in a fridge to the next day.

Woman dunking the Runeberg tortes in a bowl with raspberry juice. On the side a tray with unfinished tortes.

Decorating

Mix water and powdered sugar in a small bowl. When well combined, pour the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe a small ring on the top of the torte, about half a centimeter from the edge. I had a quite small hole in my piping bag so I did two circles on top of each other to make a larger circle. Let the icing sugar dry on the surface then fill the circle with the raspberry jam.

Serving

Traditionally Finns are known to drink lots and lots of coffee and that is what is commonly served with the Runeberg torte. So get that coffee pan on the stove to get the perfect Runeberg Day vibes with a cup of coffee and your Runeberg torte! With the Christmassy flavors Runeberg torte pairs up perfectly with the Christmas Glogg with hibiscus too!

I RELATED: Delicious Moroccan Spiced Coffee Recipe | Make in 10 minutes

Two Runeberg tortes and two coffee cups filled with coffee on white and blue flower-printed linen.

Storage

Runeberg torte stores in the fridge for up to four days. If you want to freeze them, do so before dunking and decorating.

Little Helper

Baking this recipe, the most interesting moments for a younger chef helping you are first of all mixing and measuring the ingredients for they are quite many! Dunking the tortes is also the most intriguing for a little helper. Watch out for the raspberry jam jar – tiny fingers might find it and empty it sooner than you think!

Runeberg tortes on a serving tray, two coffee cops with saucers on a flower printed linen.

Runeberg torte

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Runeberg torte has a unique appearance and flavor. If you are an almond lover like me, you like cardamon, and want to try a treat packed with flavor, I guarantee this iconic Finnish Runeberg torte recipe is your cup of tea.

Ingredients

  • 40g gingerbreads
  • 2dl wheat flours (130g)
  • 1,25 dl almond flour. (45g)
  • 3/4 dl almond crumbs (35g)
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g butter
  • 0,5 dl brown sugar with molasses (30g)
  • 1 dl sugar (85g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dl coconut cream (90g)
  • dash of almond bitter aroma (optional)
  • 1,25 dl water (125g)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 dl frozen raspberries (60g) OR 0,5 dl raspberry juice (50g)
  • 0,5 dl powdered sugar (30g)
  • 0,25 tsp water

Instructions

Making the dough

  1. Turn the oven on to 200°C (392°F). Begin by measuring the gingerbreads and use a rolling pin or mortar to crumble them and pour them into the bowl for dry ingredients. Then cut almond crumble: cut slices with a sharp cooking knife and then cut horizontally to make almond crumble. I have chopped the almonds to very coarse crumbs - you can sure cut it finer if you prefer. Add almond crumbs into the bowl with the gingerbread crumbs. Mix wheat flour, almond flour, cardamon, and baking powder in the same bowl and put it on the side.
  2. Take another bowl for the wet ingredients. Cut the butter into a few centimeter cubes, and add the brown sugar with molasses and cane sugar. Use the electric whisk to cream it. Add the eggs one by one and whisk in between. If you are using a bitter almond aroma you can add it now into the batter. Lastly, add the coconut cream and mixed dry ingredients alternately and whisk carefully to combine.
  3. Grease and flour the cups or cake tins. I always use small ovenproof cups of Finnish Arabia porcelain, but if you have the cake tins about 5,5cm ø, and 5-6cm tall, they are just perfect to use now. Pour the batter in and leave 1-2 fingers wide space for the tortes to rise. Move to the baking pan, and use a baking sheet if needed. Place them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and beautiful golden color and the toothpick comes out clean.

Resizing the Runeberg tortes

  1. When the tortes have cooled down cut gently the tops of from the tortes. Don't press too hard or the torte will tear up and be deformed. The easiest way is to use a large bread knife. Then, turn them bottom up to have a nice and even surface. The idea is to get the flat tops so, that the icing sugar circle and the raspberry jam won't fall off

Dunking the Runeberg tortes

  1. Next, you can whip up the flavorful mix to dunk in the tortes. Mix water, sugar, and raspberries in a small cooking pan and bring it to a boil. If you are using juice you can skip the next part. Use an immersion blender to blend the raspberry-sugar water. Let the mix cool down and filter the raspberry seeds with a sieve or a small cloth. I like to use both to make this step easier. When I have poured all I gather all the corners of the cloth in one hand and squeeze with the other one to push out all the liquid.
  2. When your raspberry water is ready dunk and roll the tortes in the water - be generous. You can even dip them twice to get them nice and moist. Leave them on the side for a moment to let them suck in all the liquid. If you are not in a hurry you can even leave them covered in a fridge to the next day.

Decorating

  1. Mix water and powdered sugar in a small bowl. When well combined, pour the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe a small ring on the top of the torte, about half a centimeter from the edge. I had a quite small hole in my piping bag so I did two circles on top of each other to make a larger circle. Let the icing sugar dry on the surface then fill the circle with the raspberry jam.

Serving

Traditionally Finns are known to drink lots and lots of coffee and that is what is commonly served with the Runeberg torte. So get that coffee pan on the stove to get the perfect Runeberg Day vibes with your Runeberg torte! With the Christmassy flavors Runeberg torte pairs up perfectly with the Christmas Glogg with hibiscus.

Storage

Runeberg torte stores in the fridge for up to four days. If you want to freeze them, do so before dunking and decorating.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14382Total Fat: 1185gSaturated Fat: 101gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 1031gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 532mgCarbohydrates: 676gFiber: 294gSugar: 255gProtein: 499g

Did you make this recipe?

Share and tag me @blue.tea.tile - I would love to see how it turned out ♡

Recources

To expand my knowledge and to tell you more about Runeberg tortes history I have used the Finnish resources of the archives of Helsingin Sanomat, the leading newspaper in Finland, and the article of the Finnish Public Service Media Company YLE. The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Finnish queen of baking Kinuskikissa (Fudge Cat), but I have tweaked it quite a bit to adjust the flavor to get the non-alcoholic version of the torte just to die for.

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Two coffee cups and a tray of Runeberg tortes.

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14 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It makes me feel like I can make some for myself and my friends with the awesome instructions and photos that you’ve provided. It looks delicious!