In Iceland, this layered prune torte is made for the winter holidays and nibbled on all season, thanks to its long shelf life.


Recipe Summary

Makes one 9-inch cake


For the Cake
For the Filling


Instructions Checklist
  • Make the cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. With machine running, add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

  • Reduce speed to low. Working in batches, add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating once with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until dough is smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • Make the filling: Combine prunes and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until prunes are tender, about 15 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop prunes in a food processor, and return to saucepan with reserved liquid and the granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Add vanilla, salt, and cardamom. Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 7 equal pieces (about 6 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 10-inch round, and cut into a 9-inch circle using the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan as your guide. Place 1 dough circle on a baking sheet, and bake until edges are golden, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Repeat with remaining 6 dough circles.

  • To assemble: Spread about 3/4 cup prune filling evenly onto 1 cake circle. Top with another circle, and continue until all 7 layers have been assembled (do not put filling on top layer). Wrap in plastic; let stand overnight.

  • Dust cake with confectioners' sugar. Cut into quarters, then horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Cook's Notes

Wrap the dessert in plastic, and store at room temperature to enjoy it for up to three months.

Reviews (4)

42 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 12
  • 4 star values: 18
  • 3 star values: 9
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 3 stars
It’s a ok attempt. The cake however did not originate in Iceland at all, it was however invented by 100% Icelanders. Icelanders who were living in Gimli Manitoba and wanted to make something tasty with the ingredients they had. So was born this cake. The mission ingredients are cardamom (as said earlier) and pure almond extract. Also when you are done, you wrap it in plastic wrap, then in tin foil, pretty tight. Then you leave out on your counter for about a wee
Rating: 4 stars
All Icelanders make this recipe slightly different, there's no right or wrong way (but people do have strong opinions about their family recipes!). My family recipe also uses 2 tsp cardamom and it uses butter. The trick to any vina terta, however, is it needs to rest in the fridge or freezer for at least two or even three weeks. That's what makes it moist and allows the flavours to blend nicely (my mom's recipe also used butter not shortening/sour cream). Recipes vary between 5 and 8 cookie layers, we do 5. My mom usually iced just the top with a buttercream icing after the resting period which makes this cake more palatable for kids (everyone?). Either way, this is the closest recipe I've seen online to my mom's. Make it in late November so it's ready in time for Christmas festivities.
Rating: Unrated
A cake that was made with frugality in mind, when winter had only the availability of dried fruit at hand. Brown sugar was commonly used as less expensive, as was shortening. Cardamom is a spice favoured in Scandinavian cooking use as much or little as you may. Use rimmed cooking pans upside down for ease of sliding thin cakes off without breakage.
Rating: Unrated
I have not made this recipe, but my grandmother was 100% Icelandlandic & this recipe is SO wrong. The first crime is that there should be at least 1-2 Tbsp. of fresh ground cardamom seeds ( from the pod )in the cookie dough. Second, NO butter. Use shortening & sourcream so it stays very moist. There is no cutting of dough into sizes. You turn a 9" round upside down & roll out the dough & slide the cookie off when done. Tradition is 6 layers of cake & 5 layers of prunes ( Lemon, sugar, prunes).