15 Amazing Austrian Cakes To Try Out in Vienna
Despite being a tiny country of only 8 million people, the Austrian population has been pretty busy coming up with some of the most delicious cakes in the world. This is partly because of Austria’s imperial history – the Habsburg Empire and its capital city, Vienna, used to be a global cultural hotspot for the arts.
During this time, Vienna became famous for its coffee houses, where you could sit with a newspaper, enjoy a coffee or engage in philosophical discussions with artists and thinkers of the time.
Austrian nobility was also known to enjoy the finer things in life. Take the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, who married the king of France, for example. When the French population complained about not having bread to eat, she famously replied they should simply eat cake.
Of course, Marie Antoinette came to regret those words – she was executed by guillotine in 1793. But while we may criticize her flippant remark, we cannot deny that Austrian cakes are, quite literally, to die for. Let’s round-up some of the most famous cakes you can and should enjoy in Vienna.
The Austrian Sachertorte is so famous that it is frequently bought as a souvenir of a visit. This chocolate cake was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832, and the recipe was perfected by his son Eduard Sacher, making it a real family recipe.
Consisting of two pieces of chocolate sponge separated by a thin layer of marmalade and covered by chocolate glazing, this cake has carved itself into Austria’s culinary history like no other. It is usually served with a side of whipped cream.
Tourists continue, up to this day, to flock to the famous Café Sacher. For me, I have never understood the fuss as I’ve always found the Sachertorte rather dry. But, while many of the less-famous cakes on this list are much tastier, this cake not only convinced the Austrian nobility, it has also gained a loyal international fan base, making it one of the world’s most famous cakes. So, who am I to argue?
While not quite as famous as the Sachertorte, the Esterhazytorte is another staple in any traditional Austrian coffee house. Named after the Hungarian Count Esterhazy, this cream cake was invented by confectioners in Hungary, but quickly made its way into the hearts of the Viennese people.
Consisting of four sponge layers separated by a layer of buttercream, the Esterhazytorte is slightly complicated to make.
It may be easiest to enjoy the cake ready-made, presented to you on a plate at one of Vienna’s coffee houses – and, believe me, that is worth the wait – but if you do put in the effort to recreate this delight in your own kitchen, it will be very worthwhile. You just can’t go wrong with this beautiful delight.
Needless to say this is also one of the most popular desserts in Hungary, so if you visit Budapest, its capital city, you can give it there a try as well.
The Mozarttorte was named after the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and has been inspired by the traditional Mozartkugeln – little balls of chocolate filled with pistachio, marzipan, and nougat. These are a perfectly delicious snack that are often taken along on hikes and bike rides.
The Mozarttorte consists of many of the same ingredients as the Mozartkugeln, and yet there seems to be little agreement among confectioners about the recipe. Either way, if you like marzipan, this cake is definitely for you!
4. Malakoff Torte
It seems that Austrians really like naming their cakes after celebrities and the Malakoff torte is another example. This cake was named after Duke Malakoff, a French war hero who received the title from Napoleon III after successfully storming the Malakoff Tower during the Crimean war.
Viennese confectioners were clearly equally impressed by the man’s efforts and rewarded him by naming their Austrian version of the tiramisu after the French nobleman.
While the famous Italian tiramisu and the Malakoff torte look very similar and neither require baking, there is a key difference. While a traditional tiramisu consist of lady fingers dipped in coffee and surrounded by mascarpone and eggs, the Malakoff torte is made from lady fingers dipped in chocolate and custard buttercream.
5. Linzer Torte
If you are looking for something a little more down to earth, you might like to try the Linzer torte. It is a sponge made with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda and lemon covered with a layer of red currant jam and finished off with a lattice of dough.
But don’t let the simplicity of this cake fool you. While you may think that there is nothing particularly groundbreaking about the recipe, the Linzer torte is in fact the oldest known cake recipe in the history of the world.
How about that for a sweet surprise? Not to forget, you can also try the famous Linzer cookies, the mini-versions of the Linzer Torte.
While bananas definitely don’t grow in Austria, this hasn’t stopped this small, snow-capped country from creating one of the best banana cakes of all time. Made with bananas, custard, chocolate, and sponge, this particular Austrian cake is probably my favorite.
Little tip: While you can get a traditional Bananenschnitte in most Austrian restaurants and cafés, this particular dessert tastes best when cooked at home. You can find an English version of the recipe here.
The 1930s were a politically tumultuous time that saw the rise of Hitler in Germany, the integration of Austria into the Third Reich, and the beginning of World War 2. But the 1930s also gave rise to at least one positive occurrence – the invention of the delicious Kardinalschnitte. This delicious concoction was created by Café Heiner in 1933 to commemorate cardinal Theodor Innitzer and to honor the Catholic religion.
It is an incredibly sweet cake and represents the colors of the Vatican, white and yellow, and the Cardinal himself – red. It consists of a fluffy cream made with egg whites, mixed with pieces of sponge cake, and filled with currant jam, making it a great cake to serve during your next garden party.
Whether you are a practicing Catholic or not, if you are looking for a delicious cake to commemorate a special occasion, the Kardinalschnitte is the perfect dessert for get-togethers and celebrations.
If you have ever been to Vienna during the winter, you will have probably noticed the Christmas markets and kiosks selling mulled wine and a drink called Punsch. This is very similar to mulled wine, as both are sweet, alcoholic and mixed with a variety of wintery spices. However, mulled wine is made with a base of wine, while Punsch is made from rum or other spirits.
Although the invention of Punsch can be traced back to India and was brought over to Europe by British mariners, the drink quickly became immensely popular in both the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.
It is a well-known fact that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart loved it, and it seems that the Austrian population agreed. and they loved it so much that rather than keep it for winter days, they created a cake especially for it. Punschschnitte is a pink cake covered in glazing made from Punsch.
Rehruecken is a cake whose name supposedly reflects the fact that it looks a bit like the markings of a deer. Made with chocolate, flour, eggs, and almonds, this nourishing cake is a perfect treat for snowy winter days. But if you want to bake a truly traditional version, you will need to get a special half-moon-shaped baking dish.
10. Maroni Obers Torte (Maronitorte)
Known as Maroni Obers Torte, or simply Maronitorte, this particular Austrian cake gets its name from a very special ingredient – baked chestnuts. Consisting of layers of a chestnut cream filling and chocolate sponge, the Maronitorte is a favorite among Austrians during the autumn.
11. Oberlaa Kurbad Torte
The Oberlaaer Kurkonditorei is a confectioners and bakers that opened in 1974, making it one of Vienna’s younger coffee houses. And yet its comparative youth hasn’t stopped the Oberlaa confectionary from establishing itself as one of Austria’s most-renowned pastry shops and cafés.
Its signature cake, the Oberlaa Kurbad torte, a nut cake filled with layer upon layer of chocolate cream, may be much younger than the Sachertorte, the Mozarttorte or the Kardinalschnitte, but it has become a firm favorite of Austrians and non-Austrians alike.
The Ribiselkuchen is an Austrian cake traditionally baked in the spring when the trees of Austria’s gardens are filled with redcurrant berries. Made from a base of sponge and covered with a cream made of egg whites, sugar, and redcurrants, this dish is one of the lighter desserts on our list.
13. Himbeer Torte
Come early summer, it’s time for another Austrian treat – the Himbeer torte. This cake almost entirely consists of raspberries and jelly, making it a slightly healthier choice than its chocolate-heavy brothers and sisters.
But it is probably the fruitiest dessert on this list, it doesn’t mean you miss out on the taste of cacao, as the base is a crunchy chocolatey sponge.
If you are visiting Austria, it would be a shame to miss out on the luscious Cremeschnitte. Going as far back as the 18th century, this traditional cake consists of two thin sheets of butter sponge hugging a whipped cream based filling.
While there are many different variations of this recipe, and it has also found its way into the cuisine of Slovenia, Romania and Switzerland, definitely try the simple, traditional version during your next visit to Austria.
15. Mohr im Hemd
A list of Austrian cakes would not be complete without mentioning the famous Mohr im Hemd.
While Viennese cuisine would be completely unthinkable without this hot and extremely chocolatey sponge cake, its name has been criticized. The name translates as “moor in a shirt”, and the term “moor” is now seen as a derogatory reference to Muslims or even just darker skinned people in general and confectioners have been urged to change it.
Whichever position one holds on its name, most agree that its taste is pretty much as close to heaven as you can get in this world.
Want to know more?
If this list of Austrian desserts was enough to get your mouth to water, we recommend checking out our article on fifteen Austrian desserts, must try-out foods in Vienna and the most delicious Austrian foods.