The cakes named after J.L. Runeberg were developed by a Porvoo baker and confectioner who lived during the national poet's lifetime, from cakes that the poet is said to have enjoyed for breakfast. Later on the people of Porvoo began to call them Runeberg's cakes, and they are still sold in Porvoo cafés today.
According to an often told story, the cakes were invented by the poet's wife Fredrika, who is known to have made cakes from flour, breadcrumbs, biscuit crumbs and almonds, decorated with apple jam and icing.
The story goes that Runeberg had a sweet tooth and asked his wife for something sweet, but there was nothing in the cupboard. So Fredrika decided to make cakes from the ingredients she had.
The recipe is found in Fredrika Runeberg's recipe book form the 1850s, but is probably adapted from a recipe for the cakes created by Porvoo baker Lars Astenius in the 1840s.
There are numerous versions of of the recipe for Runeberg's cakes. Below is one example that's worth trying. Recipe is from Culinary Porvoo (2009).
Ingredients for 6 cakes
100 g butter/margerine
1 dl fne granulated sugar
50 g finely chopped almonds
1 1/2 dl breadcrumbs
1 1/2 dl white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cardamom
1 dl whipping cream
water, lemon or orange juice
Cream the softened margerine and sugar. Beat in the egg. Mix and dry ingredients and add to the batter. Mix in the cream and if desired a little punch. Grease a muffin tin and pour the batter in the moulds. Bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Make a thick paste from water and icing sugar. Squueze the icing in a ring round a blob of rasberry jam.