The 10 best Austrian Desserts
The Dessert Guide to Austria
by Viktoria Undesser
The 10 best Austrian Desserts
Everybody who knows me will tell you that I have a serious case of sweet tooth. Lucky me, that I grew up in dessert heaven: Austria. Most of you have probably heard of or even tasted Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel, but there are some lesser-known gems that you've gooot to give a try when in Austria! I grew up with some seriously talented bakers for a mum, grandmas, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, and great-uncles, so at every family gathering, there were a variety of homemade delicacies for dessert. While I can't invite you all to my family reunions for you to give these treats a go, there are great cake shops all over the country!
First of all, a classic, the Sacher Torte. The "original" Sacher Torte (Sacher cake) is according to the Hotel Sacher, the inventors, the "most famous cake in the world since 1832" and their recipe is a well-kept secret - even though it's replicated by families and bakeries all over Austria, of course. It's a seriously delicious chocolate cake, thinly coated with apricot jam and chocolate icing. The classic at the Hotel Sacher is delicious, however, at almost 5 Euros for a piece of cake, it's also a little excessive. Always go for smaller, less famous, family-owned bakeries.
While the "Sacher Torte" is definitely the most famous Austrian cake, the "Linzer Torte" is considered the oldest known cake in the world with the oldest recipe being from 1653, and that's quite something, too, isn't it? There are different legends of how the cake got its name - one of which is that it was actually a Viennese baker that was called "Linzer". Nobody really knows though and nonetheless, today the city of Linz is famous for its delicious cake. It's a crumbly pastry that has a lattice design on top and isn't it prettyyyy? Also, if you're in Austria around Christmas, there's a Christmas cookie version of the cake as well!
Apple Strudel is usually a "grandma - made - favorite", and I'm no exception. To this day whenever I go home, I make it a point to eat at my grandma's house a few time and she almost always spoils me with some delicious Apfelstrudel! It's originally a Viennese pastry filled with apple, cinnamon, sugar and raisins that's common across Europe. It's less common in bakeries but is a classic dessert you'll get in most restaurants across Austria.
Little Ischler Cakeletts has become a classic Austrian Dessert since their creation by Richard Kurth in the 1950s. He was the head confectioner of the confectionery Zauner in Bad Ischl - that's where the name comes from! It's a pastry filled with chocolate cream and covered in more chocolate and while Bad Ischl is worth a visit, either way, this makes it all the more worth it ;)
This is another favorite of mine and it's part of my earliest childhood memories. Schaumrollen (apparently they're also called "Schillerlocken", referring to the hair of Friedrich Schiller, but I only learned this today) are a cone of pastry that is filled with whipped cream/ meringue-like cream and as simple as it sounds it's heavenly!
Kardinal Cake is a classic with a slight coffee-y taste that even people who don't like coffee will love! It means Cardinal's slice and it got its name because, cut open, the slice resembles the robe of the pope and was originally made for Catholic's day in 1933.
A Topfentasche (bag of curd cheese) is a treat for those of you who don't like their treats overly sweet. It's a square shaped pastry with curd cheese filling that is eaten any time of the day, whether as breakfast or an afternoon treat. Apparently, they've made their way to the US as "Viennese danish"? Correct me if I'm wrong ;)
Mohnkronen are poppy seed crowns - a pastry made with a poppy seed cream. The best ones I've ever had are sold at a little bakery called Cappuccino in Gallneukirchen, a little town close by Linz, but you can get delicious ones all over Austria!
Kaiserschmarrn is a sort of cut-up pancake that got his name from Kaiser Franz Joseph I., an Austrian emperor. Apparently, it was made for his wedding with Empress Sissi and originally called Kaiserinschmarrn (the female version), but Franz Joseph liked it better, so they changed the name. It's often served with stewed plums and powdered sugar.
Salzburger Nockerl is a sweet sourfflé, a specialty of the city of Salzburg (yes, almost all Austrian cities have their own special dessert - I guess I'm not the only sweet tooth in the country). Legend has it that they were invented by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau and represent the mountains (or rather hills) surrounding the city. They're especially delicious when served with raspberry sauce!
Are you making your way to Austria soon?
These are only a few of the infinite delicious pastries and cakes that Austria has to offer. What are your favorites? What are typical pastries of where you're from? If you're planning on visiting Austria and have a sweet tooth and a healthy appetite, maybe bring stretchy pants ;) You've been warned.
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