I’m not a big fan of sweet pastries, but in Finland I became addicted to one particular type, the Runeberg’s cake (Runebergintorttu in Finnish).
Who is Runeberg and why this cake is named after him? Johan Ludvig Runeberg was a famous Finnish poet. The story says that he liked sweets. A lot. One morning he felt like eating something sweet for breakfast, but there was nothing like that in the house. So his wife Fredrika searched around the kitchen and made a cake from available ingredients – almonds, breadcrumbs and flour with apple jam and icing on top. Since then it became Runeberg’s favourite breakfast along with some punssi (Finnish liqueur).
Whether it’s true or not, the cake is amazingly tasty. There are quite many different variations of it, most of which I’ve tasted 🙂 The one I like most is from Ekberg bakery (you can read more about Ekberg here). They are fully topped in rum, and it gives them some extra flavour and moisture. Also, interestingly enough, in Ekberg these cakes are called “Fredrika”, after Runeberg’s wife. Makes more sense this way – to name it after the creator, rather than heavy consumer 🙂
But other versions of the cake are also nice – it all depends on personal preferences. For example, the one from Keisari bakery is also quite good. It’s made with candied fruits instead of almonds, and has more biscuity texture.
There is only one issue with Runeberg cakes. They are available only from the beginning of January until February 5th, Runeberg’s birthday. The only place in Finland where you can find them all year long is a city of Porvoo, where Runeberg lived with his family and where the cake was invented.
So, make sure you don’t miss the Runeberg cake season! It’s definitely worth it 🙂