Turns out, February 5th is a special cake-eating day here in Finland.
Runeberg cakes, more precisely. Not that the celebration is for the cakes; really it is just an excuse to these little round almond cakes topped with raspberry jam.
And, hey, you don’t have to convince me to eat cake.
These little pastries are named for Finland’s national poet and author of the Finnish national anthem, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. As the story goes, he was very fond of these little treats and frequently ate them for breakfast. Some stories say that they were originally whipped-up by his wife, who made them from the scratch flours she had on hand. Eventually a confectioner in Porvoo, Finland (Runeberg’s hometown) started making them and people just started referring to them as Runeberintorttu -Runeberg tortes- and consuming them on his birthday every year.
And the rest is delicious history.
Last year I remember seeing these things around but I never ate one. This week, while in Porvoo, I ordered one with my lunch. (When in Rome, eh?)
First impression: pretty tasty, but sort of a standard dry-ish cupcake with no redeeming frosting. But still good flavor. Overall, would eat once a year for the holiday’s sake. (Because, I mean, its still cake….)
But then I made a stop by the bakery around the corner (that I am obsessed with and probably talk about too much) and, well, there was a whole plate of Runeberg’s staring at me. So, why not? It sounded like it would go nicely with my pot of English Breakfast.
When I dug into that baby- I was a believer! I may have to bribe the owner for the recipe. This one was light and moist with pieces of chopped almonds cooked in. And, it tasted like, a heavy tablespoon of almond extract. It was divine.
And I would be lying if I said that was my last one. Oh no…..consider my diet very satisfactorily busted.