How to make the perfect Runeberg torte

Runeberg Day is almost upon us again, which means it's time to enjoy the sweet taste of a Runeberg torte and to celebrate the life of Johan Ludvig Runeberg. In honour of this delicious national tradition, we at Very Finnish Problems have found a recipe for you to make the perfect Runeberg torte.

Who was Johan Ludvig Runeberg

Johan Ludvig Runeberg 1804 to 1877, was, and is, a pretty important guy in Finland. Not only did the poet write the Finnish national anthem, but he also spread patriotism throughout the land decades before Finland became an independent nation way back in 1917. Runeberg was born into a Swedish speaking family in Jakobstad, a western Finnish town on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia and wrote his work in Swedish rather than Finnish. Still, he is very much a Finnish national hero thanks to his work, which centred around the lives of everyday Finnish people living in rural areas.

To pay tribute to Runeberg and his works, most people in Finland enjoy a Runeberg torte every February 5th, the poet's birthday.


Johan Ludvig Runeberg did not invent the Runeberg torte

Runeberg created many things in his life, but the Runeberg torte was not one of them. This delicious achievement is the work of his wife, Frederika Runeberg, who was an excellent baker. Like her husband, she was one of many talents and is remembered as a distinguished writer, editor and pioneer of feminism in Finland. She also had a powerful imagination and created fantastic dishes from simple ingredients, which is how she came to invent the Runeberg torte. Today, the fabulous Finnish treat is served in luxury hotels and upscale bakeries. But it was invented using leftover bread crumbs and fruit found in the garden.

How to make the perfect Runeberg torte So if you want to try your hand at making a Runeberg torte this February 5th, we at Very Finnish Problems advise following this handy recipe from Bake Street.

Ingredients for Runeberg torte batter

280 g AP/plain flour

90 g crushed gingerbread cookies

60 g ground almonds

3 large eggs

125 g whole milk

200 g unsalted butter at room temperature

80 g sugar

130 g dark muscovado sugar

2 Tbsp molasses

110 g freshly squeezed orange juice

one orange zest

15 cardamom pods, crushed

1 tsp natural sweet almond extract

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for Runeberg torte syrup

115 g water

115 g sugar

2 Tbsp rum

Ingredients for Runeberg torte icing

75 g icing sugar

12 g milk few drops of natural sweet almond extract



Pour the water with the sugar in a saucepan.

Place on medium heat and let it boil. The sugar should be dissolved entirely.

Once it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.

Place the syrup in a bottle, add rum, and shake to mix well.

Set aside at room temperature.

Sponge cake

Grease a muffin tray with butter, sprinkle with flour and turn to remove the excess.

Preheat the oven to 355ºF/180ºC.

Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the ground almond together with the baking powder, the crushed gingerbread cookies, orange zest, crushed cardamom (pods removed) and salt.

Mix with a spatula and set aside.

In another bowl, mix the milk with the orange juice, almond extract and molasses. Set aside.

Add the butter together with the two types of sugar in the bowl.

Mix at medium speed with the flat beater for about ten minutes and the texture becomes creamy.

Add the eggs 1 by 1 and mix at the same time at speed 1.

Once the eggs are mixed, add the dry ingredients and liquids while mixing. Once they have been mixed thoroughly, it's time to add a little of the liquid ingredients.

Repeat this process until all the two ingredients have been added.

Divide the mixture into the moulds filling only 3/4 of them.

Smooth the surface with a spoon and place in the oven. For the muffin pan, bake in a first batch for 20-22 minutes. For the rest of the pans, bake them in a second batch for 25 minutes.

Before removing the pans from the oven, prick the cakes with a toothpick. This should come out dry and without adherent remains.

Take out of the oven, let it rest for 2 minutes in the pan, then remove it from it and place on a rack.

Soak with the syrup.

Under the rack, place a tray or bowl to collect excess syrup. Using a bottle, soak the cakes in the syrup while they are still hot. Be generous. Let them cool completely on the rack.


In a bowl, mix the icing sugar with the milk and almond extract.

Place the glaze in a piping bag to prevent it from drying out.

Decorate the cakes.

Put the raspberry jam in a piping bag. Set aside. Make a small cut to the tip of the piping bag with the icing.

Make a slighter larger cut to the piping bag of jam, and fill the inside of each glazing circle. 


Of course, this is one of many tasty recipes you can find. Like poetry, baking is all about creativity and interpretation, so why not add your own twist to the Runeberg torte. After all. Finland is a nation of new ideas and innovation.



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