The oldest recipe for Linzer Torte dates from the 17th Century, making this perhaps the oldest known cake recipe in the world. Its ongoing success is no surprise: the dough is made primarily from either hazelnuts or almonds, subtly flavoured with cinnamon, and filled with red currant jam. ‘Ribisel ‘ as the red currants are called in Austrian German, are a very popular fruit in Austria and southern Germany, and different dialects have different words for it: we call them ‘Träuble’, as in the Träubleskuchen I made in the summer.
Although this cake is thought to have originated in the Austrian city of Linz, which explains its name, it exists in various forms all across the region. On our side of the border, the Linzer Torte is filled with raspberry instead of red currant jam, and the question of whether to use hazelnuts, almonds or any other nut has not yet been officially decided. I’m sitting on the fence on this one, using a mix of both 😉
The combination of nuts or almonds and cinnamon in itself makes this a perfect cake for an Advent tea party, as well as for any other occasion that requires cake. My recipe is intended for a 26cm /11 in flan tin or similar; I used a smaller, 20cm / 8 in one and made three little Linzer tartlets on the side, as well as some small cookies. Waste not, want not 😉
Linzer Torte (for a 26cm/11in flan tin)
- 200g plain sugar
- 150g whole almonds
- 100g whole hazelnuts
- 180g flour
- 1 generous tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 egg
- 2cl rum
- 250g slightly softened unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 280g raspberry jam or red currant jam
If you can get whole ground hazelnuts and almonds, lucky you. Everybody else needs to start by by grounding the nuts and almonds to a fine powder. You can used ground almonds to give the cake a finer texture, as these are blanched and don’t contain the brown skins. I fancied it a bit more crunchy so I went for whole almonds instead.
Mix the ground almonds, nuts, sugar, cocoa, flour, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the egg, rum and the butter and knead it to a firm dough. Cover and rest it in the fridge for an hour or two.
Grease your flan tin and preheat the oven to 180C
Roll out 2/3 of the dough and line the flan tin.
Cover the bottom with the jam.
If you have leftover dough, why not grease a few empty jam jars for some Linzer tortelets:
Or go even smaller, by making some Jammy Dodgers!
Glaze with the remaining egg yolk and bake for 50 minutes. The jam jars need no more than 25-30 minutes, I baked the little biscuits separately for 12 minutes before assembling them with the remaining jam.
Apparently Linzer Torte is one of the most popular Old World-type cakes in the United States, having been introduced there by a Franz Hölzlhuber in the 1850s. With a name as Austrian as Hölzlhuber I wouldn’t be surprised.