Icelandic Vínarterta or Randalín: A lost Icelandic tradition which is still alive in Manitoba

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Icelandic Vínarterta or in common language traditional Vienna cake of Icelandic ethnics which is also famous as Randalín around the world is is a multi-layered cake made from alternating layers of almond and/or cardamom-flavoured biscuit and plum jam, the jam usually including spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and cardamom.

To make it more delicious, some other fillings such as apricot and rhubarb can also be included. Vinarterta or Randalin originated in Iceland, but its name and composition both hint at Austrian roots.

The recipe of Icelandic Vínarterta was brought to Manitoba by Icelandic immigrants to Canada, many of whom settled at New Iceland and from Manitoba it has been distributed in the whole Canada.

The cake is now better-known in the Icelandic communities in Canada and the United States than it is in Iceland. The modern Icelandic cake differs from the traditional cake, with common substitutions for the plum jam including cream or strawberries. In New Iceland, substitutions for the filling are discouraged.

The cake is typically served in rectangular slices with coffee. It can be iced with bourbon flavored sugar glaze. The cake’s history was the subject of a dissertation for a doctorate by historian Laurie Bertram at the University of Toronto.

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