Happy Birthday Johan Ludvig Runeberg!

Today in Finland we celebrate Runeberg’s Day. J.L. Runeberg (1804-1877) is Finland’s national poet and the writer of our national anthem. A while back, I visited his home – now a museum – in the quaint town of Porvoo.


The Runeberg family lived in their Porvoo home for 25 years.


The family had eight children, of which one was the famous sculptor Walter Runeberg.


You can easily get a feel of what it was like to live in the home as great care has been taken to make it as authentic as possible.


After Runeberg died, his wife, Fredrika, moved to Helsinki and the home served as a school for a couple of years. Luckily, most of the artifacts of the home were preserved and the home opened as a museum only three years after Runeberg’s death.


In summer, take some time to wander in the historical garden in front of the home.


It is one of the only town gardens to have been conserved in Finland.


In 2002 the garden was restored to how it was during Fredrika’s care, so you can pretend to be in the 1800s while looking around.


The garden is not meant to be a playground and no dogs are allowed. It’s perfect to take a breather and if you have time, to read a book.


Runeberg has been applauded for his literary works but I’m sure all Finns will agree that he should also be celebrated for the cake that has been named after him – the runebergintorttu. However, it was not J.L. Runeberg who invented the cake.


As money was sometimes tight, Runeberg’s wife Fredrika, had to be an inventive baker. She threw the cake together to please her husband’s sweet tooth, combining breadcrumbs, punch and berries from her garden. Alas! The runebergintorttu was born. The story tells us that Runeberg loved the cake so much that he ate one for breakfast every morning.


Unfortunately I do not have a proper photo of the cakes but here you can see some fake ones from the museum to get an idea of their shape. There are many different bakeries in Finland that bake these cakes and each one has their own recipe. Some people make a point of trying as many different ones as possible as they are only available for a few weeks every year! Do make sure you go out and get your own runebergintorttu today before it’s too late.

Have you tried these cakes before? What was your impression? If you want to attempt to make the runebergintorttu yourself, find the recipe here.


30 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Johan Ludvig Runeberg!

  1. Wow, what a unique place to visit. And Iโ€™m very curious about those cakes. Iโ€™m going to b on the look out for them. Iโ€™ve been somewhere that had Finnish food, I just canโ€™t remember where ? Unless I have it confused with a spot in Florida?? Ur Iโ€™ll b on the look out, very nice photos Suvi. Itโ€™s nice to see you again

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, you really made me miss Finland all over again. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a hopeless cook, and I’d make even the most patient pastry chef cry, so no Runeberg Delights for me this year. You did inspire me to go and plot my return though, so thank you again! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! It’ll be good to be back, if I make it. ๐Ÿ˜

        Making these in school would have been a horror. Always managed to avoid Home Ec due to a combination of moving and schools restructuring their curriculum.

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  3. I’m one of those tasters that try to get Runeberg cakes from different bakeries ๐Ÿ™‚ Runeberg cake is the reason to love January. Lovely photos! Need to check out this museum next time I visit Porvoo ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Oh yes, I would be excited to see some photos of the outcome and also hear how it tasted. If it’s not possible to make this shape, you can make muffins with the Amar recipeand then just so the topping as in the original! xx


    1. So true, the shape is unlike no other! I always make a point of at least having one. If you were to visit Finland at another time of year, Porvoo town is the only place to find them that I know of โ˜บ๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words โ˜บ๏ธ I do hope you get a chance to visit one day and either see the winter darkness or the neverending daylight in summer!

      Liked by 1 person

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