Rabska Torta, Rab Cake

Rabska Torta, Rab Cake

Eva 16 marzo, 2018
Este post también está disponible en Spanish

I love to travel, if I had the economic possibilities, I would be away from home all day with my suitcase hanging from my arm. But as today that cannot be, we will try to travel through the flavors, aromas and senses pampering our palate. We went to Croatia to enjoy its wonderful Rabska Torta, Rab cake.

This sweet pastry is traditional and native to the island of Rab located in the Gulf of Kvarner. It is a cake made with a kind of marzipan flavored with Maraschino liqueur and grated citrus fruit. It is placed on a very thin spiral-shaped dough and the sides are decorated with the same dough, creating small ruffles. Then it is baked, just in its exact time to maintain its juiciness, and sprinkled with icing sugar. There are no words to describe its wonderful taste and texture.

Rabska Torta origin.

It is said that in 1177 Pope Alexander III, crossing the Adriatic Sea with the ships that escorted him, took refuge in the Croatian islands due to a storm.  On his arrival, he consecrated the Cathedral of Rab Maria Himmelfahrt. In gratitude, the Benedictine nuns wanted to create an almond dessert with a wafer base reminiscent of the sweets of Siena (the Pope’s birthplace), thus giving rise to this cake.

Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab

The original recipe is secret and is kept in the archives of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Andrew of Rab. It is said that the success of this cake lies in the preparation of the filling. This should be kneaded with the hands several times to amalgamate the ingredients well. In addition, the amount of egg will depend on the degree of drying of the almonds.

To flavor the cake, zestings of citrus fruit and Maraschino liqueur are used. This is a cherry liqueur called marrascas to which sugar, almonds and honey are added. The distillate is left to mature for a minimum of 2 years in ash wood barrels, which do not transfer its color to the liqueur, and then sugar is added.

But, this cake was already made before….

Three hundred years before Pope Alexander III’s arrival in Croatia, this cake was already baked in the homes of the wealthiest families. Two hundred years later, the nuns of St. Anthony’s Monastery turned them into cakes and then they reached the hands of the Benedictines of St. Andrew.

Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab

Not all the women wanted to make it, only a few of them got used to making it. This cake is usually made on special dates or holidays such as Easter, Christmas, christenings or weddings.

It is said that the Rabska Torta must always be present at weddings, otherwise the celebration would be meaningless. Or much worse, it would be a sign of bad omen.

Tradition in the hands of a bakery.

For those who dare not bake this wonderful cake or who are lucky enough to travel to Rab Island, you can visit the Vilma Brna bakery where they prepare it. She once had the opportunity to learn how to make this recipe and shares it with all of us through her bakery over the years. They have won several awards, including the Croatian prize for the best souvenir.

Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab

There you will be able to see how they make it in the first person, as well as taste it together with other delicatessen. The most traditional way of presenting it is in the shape of a snail, but they are also made in the shape of a heart or elongated bars.


Recipe from Catch my cake and Le tenere dolcezze di Resy


  • 4,6 oz (130 g) bread flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 0,7 oz (20 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 y 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt


  • 7 oz (200 g) ground almond
  • 7 oz (200 g) icing sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 0,7 oz (20 g) Maraschino liqueur
  • zest of an orange and a lemon
  • 5 raw almonds for decoration + icing sugar for sprinkling


Make the dough.
  1. In a bowl, add the flour together with the lightly beaten egg and the butter.
  2. Integrate the ingredients in the bowl itself until we obtain a homogeneous dough.
  3. Add the water along with the sugar and salt, continue kneading until it is completely integrated.
  4. Transfer to a work surface and start kneading. We will have to obtain a smooth, silky dough that does not tend to dry out. in that case, we'll add a little more water.
  5. Knead for about 12-15 minutes to develop the gluten well and obtain an elastic dough. The dough must pass the membrane test.
  6. If we let the dough rest we must always cover the dough to prevent it from drying out.
  7. I remind you of this post where I tell you how to make it and how to know if the dough is ready.
  8. Once the dough is ready, divide it into two equal pieces, cover with film and leave to stand for 45 minutes at room temperature.
Make the filling.
  1. In a bowl, add the ground almonds together with the icing sugar, the liqueur, the egg and the grated citrus fruits.
  2. Mix with a silicone spatula to combine the ingredients. If necessary, we will use our hands to achieve a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Cover with film to avoid drying out while stretching the dough.
Stretch out one of the dough pieces.
  1. Dump the dough on a clean surface. Stretch with the roller until you reach a rectangle of approximately 10 x 11 inches (25 x 30 cm). The dough should be very thin and semi-transparent.
  2. Put the dough over the surface on which the cake is to be baked. In my case I opted for a perforated tray and a silpat. This allows me to work the dough more comfortably than on baking paper.
  3. With the help of a cutter, we draw a spiral on the dough as we cut.
  4. Cut a spiral next to the one we have created to remove a piece of dough. You will see this part more clearly in the video.
  5. Remove the dough strip and any excess dough from the sides. I recommend you make a longer spiral than we need, we will always have time to cut the rest of the dough.
  1. Place the almond mixture on the spiral of dough that we have created. We'll make sure it's the same thickness over the entire surface.
  2. Using two forks or your hands, mould and draw lines on the surface.
  3. Cover with film to avoid drying out while stretching the other piece of dough.
Stretch the second piece of dough.
  1. Dump the dough on a clean surface. Stretch with the roller until you reach a rectangle of approximately 10 x 11 inches (25 x 30 cm). The dough should be very thin and semi-transparent.
  2. With the help of a cutter we cut strips 0,8 inch (2 cm) wide. Mine were 0,6 inch (1.5 cm), but they'll be a little bigger.
Finish decorating the cake and bake.
  1. Preheat the oven to 240º F (120ºC).
  2. Place the strips of dough that we have cut around the spiral.
  3. As we place the dough strip, we gently pinch the dough to create folds that will stick to the filling.
  4. We will do it all over the surface of the almond mixture, both inside and outside.
  5. Decorate with the raw almonds at both ends of the cake.
    Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab
  6. Bake at medium height for 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven. The cake should not be browned or baked too much to make it juicy inside.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  8. Once it has cooled, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
  9. It is kept in perfect condition for 2 months in an airtight container.
    Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab


  • The amount of water in the dough will depend on the absorption capacity of your flour. But it will hover between 1-3 tablespoons.
  • Knead very well to develop the gluten completely. Remember that we must stretch the dough a lot until it becomes translucent. Without a perfectly developed gluten, this will be very complicated.
  • Let the dough rest before stretching it so that the gluten relaxes and the stretching process is much easier.
  • If you don't have any Maraschino liqueur you can replace it with another type of liqueur that you have at home; cherry liqueur, Cointreau, almond liqueur, hazelnuts...
    Rabska Torta, pastel de Rab

Without a doubt, this Rabska Torta or Rab cake is a classic and traditional pastry. Flavors with quality ingredients that can only result in an exceptional sweet.

An incredibly aromatic, juicy, sweet interior, accompanied by a very thin crispy layer that surrounds the entire exterior... It's hard to put into words what this cake conveys. I think, you will have no choice but to try it this weekend.... So you can practice for Easter and serve it with Hot Cross Buns!

I wish you a wonderful weekend, see you on Monday ;)

Big hugs,

Sources: CroconnetVilma Brna

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