Goddess of Cake


Fredrika’s Tart
February 5, 2010, 12:00
Filed under: Desserts, raw food | Tags: , , , ,

The 5th of February is the honorary day of the national poet of Finland,  Johan Ludvig Runeberg. He lived in the 19th century and was a popular author of his day.  These days we celebrate his memory with a little pastry called Runeberg’s Tart.

Runeberg, like other men of his status, had a wife, Fredrika. For over a hundred years Fredrika was only credited for being the wife of Runeberg, and as  the inventor of the famous tart. In reality,  Fredrika did not even invent this pastry,  it was a specialty of a local bakery.  Instead,  she was an herself an aspiring writer, and a deeply ambitious person. But she was always left in the shade of her famous spouse. In those days before washing machines and vacuum cleaners, her days were mostly filled with household chores that she found absolutely dreary, besides of having to deal with a womanizing husband and financial difficulties.

Fredrika, isn’t it strange how still in 2010, a young lady, liberated and educated, like me, would make the choice of trying to be famous with her skills in the kitchen? Why would she do that? Since, between you and me, a pretty young lady with good cooking skills is to most people nothing more than that, however ambitious or clever she may be otherwise.  A hundred years after you, Fredrika, I must admit that certain attitudes do sit tight in the society.  And all you young ladies who are reading this blog and haven’t started your own, do consider another subject than cooking or handicrafts! Because, to formulate this clearly: after you are dead, do you want to be remembered for a friggin’ cake,  named after your husband, or because, for example, winning the Nobel Prize in physics? I think this is something we all should think about, seriously.

But anyway, this tart is for you Fredrika, I promise to read your texts one day too.

Fredrika’s Tart

I decided to make a raw version of Runeberg’s Tart. A Runeberg’s tart is a pastry with almond meal, bread or gingerbread crumbles, flavoured with cardamom and moistened with rum or punsch, a typical Swedish alcoholic drink.  The tart is topped with some raspberry jam and sugar icing. You can find a nice vegan recipe here. This is how they look made by my friend Rosa, who traditionally arranges each year a party where only  Runeberg’s Tarts are served.

My raw version contained almonds, lucuma, coconut, cardamom, dates, honey and some rum aroma, which is indeed artificial and not raw at all. But you could leave it out, substitute it with real rum or use bitter almond extract. The pink  “icing” was a bit of a challenging part, and I ended up doing it with coconut oil and honey, but later realised that probably also some cashew nut cream would have looked nice.

5 pieces

2 dl blanched almonds

1/2 dl shredded coconut

3 tsp lucuma powder

5 dates

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 drops rum aroma

a pinch of cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

The ” icing”:

2 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp honey

some raspberry purée/ other red juice for colour

The “jam”

1/2  dl frozen, thawed raspberries

honey for sweetening

I blended together all the ingredients for the tart with a food processor. Then I formed a round bar with the help of some baking parchment and stuck it to the freezer for about ten minutes. Then I cut the bar into five pieces, about 4 cm tall, and decorated them with raspberry puree and and piped on the icing.  The raspberry puree was made with a hand held blender and the icing by simply mixing the ingredients with a spoon.

The tarts tasted surprisingly much like actual Runeberg’s tarts, but the consistency was a bit too heavy and oily  for my taste.  So I think I need to experiment a bit more with this raw dessert thing…

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16 Comments so far
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Well what do you know! I put my tarts in the oven only a minute before I came here and noticed your post. Nice to get different variations of the tarts and different views about the Runebergs.

I guess I also fit in the category of a young woman keeping a food blog. But for my defence, it’s only a relaxing hobby helping me to forget real work and moreover, definitely not without an ideology. Actually, I feel I’m following those large footsteps of the Runebergs.

Comment by Malitsu

Yes, well, I guess I am being a bit provocative here, as usually :) I know most food bloggers are excellent, creative writers and photographers besides of their cooking skills, but for some reason I’ve recently felt that I have heard quite a lot this “oh you bake very nice things”, but anything else I do or say isn’t taken seriously. As if a person could only have one skill? That is the point that I’m trying to make: it might be a good idea to make a professional career with something else first, like you obviosly have Malitsu, in order to not fall in the “pretty girl making cakes” – category.

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

Well surely we all want to be remembered by other virtues too besides baking. But even with all those other virtues, baking certainly is a noteworthy virtue, something that requires patience, imagination and creativity.Poor Fredrika did not have that many choises in her time…
Nice looking raw Runeberg tart.The oiliness can be reduced by dehydrating the tarts for a while.

Comment by Yaelian

yes, I agree with you Yaelian. I hope that more people would think like you do about baking! And thanks, I did dig somewhat in your blog to get inspiration for the tarts. So that’s what the dehydration is for!

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

Great idea to make a raw version of Runebergintorttu. Hear you on the sexual division of labor. Some things in society change so slowly. Well, you can always conceal your gender in the internet. =)

Comment by Heikki

Well, I could hide my gender, but I didn’t, did I? Besides my mission in the world is that also silly girls shall be taken seriously :)

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

I do think that blogs are a tremendous resource for community-building and exchange of ideas, especially among marginalized groups like vegans and women in this carnivorous patriarchal society. What we really need is a Nobel prize for the best raw Fredrika’s tart recipe!

Comment by Anni

Haha, you’re right about it! We as marginalized groups should make the norms fit us, instead of making ourselves fit the norm. But I guess I’ve sort of tried to make ecxactly this point by living it for ten years, and indeed I’m at the moment so tired of it that I’m actually recommending the easier way to every one, which means to hide your marginalized nature, and live up to the expectations of the society.

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

Thanks for the great laugh this morning. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I am in a similar predicament in life, being labeled as the girl that cooks well. I will strive to be known as more than just that. I will leave you today with a compliment about your great writing, never mind the tart ;)

Cheers to Fredrika!

Comment by The Ordinary Vegetarian

Cheers to you, Ordinary Vegetarian! “Never mind the tart” – that was about the nicest compliment that I’ve heard in my life!

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

salla, olet blogi-idolini! tää teksti oli ihan mahtava!

Comment by mandi

Kiitos Mandi :) !

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

Maybe I am back to the beginning, but after ten years of carreer-life, even some published papers… I think my cakes and knittings are the most important thing I can leave behind. Love your and all the other food blogs with attitude. And the tarts… they are absolutely fabulous!

Comment by Okriina

Thanks Okriina! My degree is in textile handicrafts, and now I’m writing a food blog, so I guess I enjoy those things tremendously too. Sometimes I just feel that somehow, shouldn’t I be trying to do something else than what women have had to do for thousands of years?

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake

Lovely story …. I think of cooking and baking as an art form at this point, especially now that most women (and men) don’t know how.

Comment by Liz@Cafe Liz

Thanks Liz! I know, it is funny when sometimes people ask about some simple thing, like a quiche, “did you really bake that from the start?”

Comment by Salla@Goddess of Cake




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