Towards the end of January, small cakes appear in shops and cafes across Finland. Runebergin Tortu Every year around the date of his birthday, these exquisite little cakes are sold all over Finland and are hugely popular.
There is another story that the cakes were created by the poet's wife Fredrika, as the recipe was written out in her cook book from the 1850s. She made the cakes from flour, breadcrumbs, biscuit crumbs and almonds, decorated with jam and icing but it was most likely she adapted her recipe from the one by the Porvoo baker.
What are Runeberg cakes?
Runeberg cakes are small and cylindrical shaped, with a moist, almond flavoured sponge, topped with a circle of white icing with raspberry jam. The topping gives them their distinctive look.
There are numerous versions of the recipe for Runeberg's cakes but this one comes from Finnish friends. You will need a small cake or muffin tin (approximately 5cms diameter for each individual mould).
85g caster sugar
1 egg (beaten)
110g (plain) flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
1 tsp cardamom (husks removed and ground)
Pinch of salt
100ml double or whipping cream
50 ml water, lemon or orange juice