Food & Drinks,  Sweet Treats

Valentine’s Vinarterta

My boyfriend had been asking about a little dessert recently, an old Manitoba favourite.  Being from Winnipeg, he assumed I would know what it was; and I did’t.  Turns out I might be the only Manitoban who doesn’t know it, you see it’s was an old Icelandic dessert brought to Manitoba way way way back in the day.

The original cake was made with alternating layers of vanilla or cardamom spiced shortbread and plum jam.  Being the last minute lucy I am, I did not have plum jam, or plums to make jam – but I did have figs and raisins.  So I made my own version of vinarterta with cardamom & vanilla spiced shortbread with fig and raisin spread. And then I got crazy and made a little dark chocolate buttercream icing for the top layer, because dark chocolate and figs are good together.  It was the first time I’ve ever made it, and I have to admit it turned out pretty good.  Especially since I hate baking, like actually really hate it.  You see I’m not a big fan of measuring, I like to throw a little in here and a little in there.  But the one recipe that I have nailed is shortbread, so I used the trusty shortbread cookie recipe I developed that never lets me down, researched a few other shortbread cake recipes and adjusted it to make it a bit more cakey.

Now I’ve only made this recipe once – I’m not much for testing recipes over and over again…so hopefully this one works for you as good as it did for me.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cardamom (I like the spice, but it can be a strong flavour for some, so start with 1 tsp. and see how that is for you and if you don’t find it to overpowering add in the other 1 tsp.)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt



  1. cream butter and sugar together well (a bit more than your normal shortbread recipe)
  2. beat eggs in separate bowl and then add to the butter mix
  3. following add the almond milk, vanilla extract, cardamom, and salt and mix until combined
  4. add in flour a cup at a time and mix until fully combined
  5. break dough into two balls (easier to handle) and refrigerate for one hour to make it easier to handle ( if you don’t have that much time on your hands, you can cheat and stick it in the freezer for 10-15 min.
  6. Once dough has stiffened up, roll out and cut into large thin circles (about 9″ will do) – you should have about 5 or 6 layers. I stuffed mine into heart shaped cake pans, because it was Valentine’s and I’m a dork.  Put circles onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350F for about 10-12 min or until light golden brown
  7. Once cakes have baked and cooled, spread the fig & raisin filling (recipe linked) between layers living the top layer plain.  Cake is fine to sit on the counter and also freezes fairly well if wrapped in plastic wrap and then tinfoil


Because I was too lazy to try and draw and out larger thin heart layers, I pressed my batter into heart shape cake molds, baked a little slower to cook through and then sliced them into 2-3 layers for my finished cake



If you would like to go the extra step and add a little dark chocolate buttercream to the top layer, click the link for the the recipe and see below for my version of the finished cakes.


Kristen xo








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