These cakes were named after Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804 - 1877), the national poet of Finland, who is said to have had a special liking in cakes similar to these.
Runeberg's birthday is celebrated on the 5th of February, around which time the cakes are sold in many bakeries or made at home.
Although the following recipe may seem long and complicated, it isn't the cakes are very quick and easy to make.
25 ml sugar
50 ml soft brown sugar (firmly packed)
100 g butter
50 ml cream
200 ml flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g ground almonds
(50 ml ground dark sugar cookies (see below) or ground or finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
½ tsp almond essence
(a dash of almond liqueur eg "Amaretto")
100 ml sugar
50 ml water
1 - 2 tbsp (or to taste) Swedish punsch, rum or cognac
100 ml raspberries fresh or frozen
50 ml sugar
dash of almond essence
Traditionally, the dough for these cakes is baked in special "Runeberg's tart moulds", sold in many Finnish stores.
The individual moulds are bottomless cylinders about six centimetres tall and with a diameter of about five centimetres.
When baked in these genuine moulds, the cakes are called by their proper name, "Runeberg's tarts".
Picture on right: a homemade Runeberg's tart baked in a traditional mould (seen in the background).
Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat the egg and sugars until fluffy, add almond essence (and liqueur), melted butter and whipped cream.
Mix together the dry ingredients. If you do not have sugar cookies, walnuts or hazelnuts at hand, you can omit them or replace them with ground or chopped almonds. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
Lightly butter eight small (90 ml / 3 fl. oz) cylindrical moulds and spoon the batter into them. Place the moulds on a baking sheet and bake the cakes at 175 - 200 °C for 15 - 20 minutes or when a cake tester/toothpick inserted in the middle of them comes out clean.
Picture on right: ground "Bastogne" sugar candy and cinnamon cookies are suitable to be used in this recipe.
Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup and raspberry topping. Place the sugar, water and the alcohol of your choice into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, so that the sugar melts and alcohol evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the raspberries and sugar into another small pan, bring to the boil and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are broken (about 15 minutes).
Stir every now and then. Set aside to cool. The topping should be rather thick, let it boil for a little longer if it is too thin.
Picture on right: traditional Runeberg's tart moulds.
Take the hot cakes out of the oven, prick them with a toothpick, and drizzle the warm sugar syrup on top of them. Use all of the syrup. Let the cakes absorb the syrup for half an hour or longer. When the cakes seem thoroughly moist, gently remove them from the moulds and flip
If the bottoms of the cakes are uneven, cut them flat carefully, using a serrated knife, so that the cakes will stand straight. This is most easily done while the cakes are still inside the moulds. Cut by moving the knife along the rim of the mould.
Cut a small round hole on the top of the cakes using a small teaspoon (see the picture on below left). Fill the holes with raspberry topping and let it set in refrigerator.
Cut small holes on top of cakes
Fill holes with topping and
Meanwhile, prepare a very stiff sugar icing by mixing a dash or water with icing sugar. Flavour the icing with a dash of almond essence. Pipe the icing around the raspberry topping on top of the cakes (see the picture above right). Let the sugar icing set and serve the cakes with coffee or tea.
Makes about 8 small cakes.
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.