Schaum Torte

Picture the sweetest person you’ve ever met; or better yet, look up the word sweet in the dictionary and guess what? You’ll see a picture of my aunt Bernice!! Do you see her? No? Not in your dictionary? Well, maybe it’s just in my mind, but I think you get the picture. She is just a honey of a person, always having a kind word, a smile and a bit of warm encouragement to everyone who passes her way.

Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!

Bernice and Uncle Alvin ran a large Wisconsin dairy farm where I spent many a summer day roaming the corn fields, collecting eggs from the henhouse and helping my cousins round up cows at day’s end from remote pastures, herding them back to the picturesque red barn. We played hide ‘n seek in the barn loft – piled high with newly mown hay, snuck strawberries and raspberries, still warm from the summer sun, in Bernice’s lovely garden and indulged joyously in these wonderful, light-as-a-feather, melt-in-your-mouth Schaum Tortes.

Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!

Schaum Torte is just a funny German word for a baked meringue dessert. It seems that every nationality has something similar; the Russians* have their Pavlova, Italians call them Meringues, in France it’s Dacquoise, etc. In Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is often a celebration dessert – it’s simple, yet beautiful and addictingly delicious!

 Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!

So back to sweet Bernice ……. she was the “queen” of Schaum Tortes in our family! My mom occasionally made them and although mom’s Schaum Tortes tasted wonderful, they looked a bit ho-hum compared to Bernice’s perfectly swirled, hollow centered, white towers;  crying out to be filled with mounds of freshly whipped cream and bright crimson berries (if my cousin, Jane and I didn’t swipe them all in our garden pilfering!) So you can see why, for special family occasions, Bernice’s assignment was often Schaum Tortes.

Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!

To this day, each year when strawberry season arrives, I make Schaum Tortes and think fondly of my aunt. You can call them whatever you want (personally, I think Pavolva sounds much more sophisticated!) but when you see that farm stand with local berries or a pick-your-own sign, grab a bucketful and be sure to treat your family/friends to this fabulous dessert!

Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!

 P.S. I combine my mom’s “plop them on the cookie sheet’ technique and Bernice’s swirly technique. I plop the batter into a large zippered bag, cut off one corner and then pipe them onto the cookie sheet; not so perfect like Bernice’s, but still pretty and quite acceptable to my family. Oh, and in all fairness to my mom, she did have six little hoodlums (aka kids) running around, so I should have just been happy that she even made Schaum Torte!

*Author’s addendum – oops! A reader set me straight and I so appreciate it! It seems that Pavlova originated in Australia or New Zealand when the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, visited there!

Schaum Torte - A funny name for such a fabulous dessert/confection. It’s very light, sweet, delicious and versatile!


Schaum Torte

5 from 1 reviews

A German-inspired light, sweet dessert confection everyone will love!

  • Author:
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: German


  • 6 egg whites, from large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 250˚F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. With a Sharpie type permanent pen, trace 6 -3″ circles on each sheet of parchment paper.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the egg whites, water and salt till the mixture begins to stiffen and forms a point when beater is pulled out. Continue beating and add, very slowly (over 2-3 minutes), 1 cup sugar, cream of tartar and vinegar.
  3. Add the other 1 1/4 cups of sugar, again very slowly, and vanilla. Beat for 10 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of meringue onto the circles on prepared sheet pans and hollow out the centers with a teaspoon or follow directions in step 5 for piping.
  5. For piping, snip off a corner of a large zippered plastic bag or decorating bag. Place a large (I use a Wilton 1M) decorating tip into the corner opening. Spoon about 1/2 of meringue into the bag and twist the top closed. Starting in the center of each circle and moving in a circular pattern fill in each circle with meringue. Continue piping around outside edges, forming walls. I usually go around 2 or 3 more times, depending on how tall I want my Schaum Tortes. Use your finger to smooth out the top where the piping stops.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour, then turn heat off and leave Schaum Tortes in oven for another 1/2 hour. Remove and store in an airtight container. Believe it or not, these guys also freeze beautifully! I’ve kept them in the freezer for several months, when thawed you’d never know they had been frozen.


To serve:
I like to dollop freshly whipped cream in the centers and top with fresh strawberries or other berries, sweetened with a touch of sugar. You can do it the other way around too, spooning the strawberries or other fruit into the hollow centers and topping with dollops of whipped cream. Sometimes we also put ice cream in the center and berries on top. As you can see, there’s no set way to serve these, but do expect rave reviews!

Adapted from this fun old-timey cookbook produced by the ladies of the Lutheran church in my hometown during the Second World War.

24 thoughts on “Schaum Torte”

  • I just watched a channel nine story that has been investigating where the pav comes from. It has been discovered it was I. The USA pre Australia. The USA pave originated from this shaum torte. So in my book the Germans should have the credit of creating the pav.

    I think in truth and instinct the best desserts originated Europe.

    The Balkans, Polish, Russians Germans all make amazing desserts.

  • I was so thrilled to see your recipe for Schaum Torte, which is the one thing that my Grandmother always made. My German, lived in Wisconsin Grandmother. Then I click on the link for the old timey cookbook and up comes butterhorns, which are my husband’s favorite thing, from his Norwegian, lived in Wisconsin Grandmother. You made this Wisconsin girl’s day. Greeting from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. .I’m headed to the kitchen to make Schaum Torte for my Dad, to remind him of his mother.

  • Now Chris I would have had to correct you too but I’ll go one step further and say Pavlova is Australian. The New Zealanders like to try and claim it but it’s ours!

    This is such a beautiful version. As soon as I see some good strawberries I’ll have to whip some of these up for dessert. It’s amazing how delicious something so simple can be.

  • meringues have never appealed to me, but they never looked so pretty to me either! I love the idea of filling them with sweetened berries and whipped cream. What a perfect summer treat!

  • So pretty! Love your mom’s plop technique 🙂 They taste even better when they have wonderful memories attached. Just delicious!

  • i dont think i can even get the pronounciation correctly. it’s nice having a dessert that brings back so much memories of someone, i think you did just as perfect, the swirls are so pretty with that hole in the center!

  • I’m with you Chris I think the word Pavlova sounds more graceful and lovely than Schuam Torte. You’d look beautiful and I prefer them piped rather than plopped as well. Very pretty photo. Makes me want to dive in.

  • I love the name schaume torte for meringues! I think it means cloud? But I have to say, as a proud Australian, Russia has Pavlova?!? There is debate as to whether it was New Zealand or Australia who first named that meringue dessert for Anna Pavlova, but it definitely wasn’t Russian!

  • Wouldn’t this be great for a bridal shower? I have never heard of this kind of torte, but we have lots of those meringue cookies around here.

  • I really enjoyed reading your post… so much of cooking and meals are realted to good memories, don’t you think???? Every time I think about my grandma (the sweetest one) I can’t help but thinking how much I enjoyed picking wild blueberries and raspberries with her… After the picking part, there was the baking one, we made cake and pies… Your Shaum tortes looks wonderful and they sure put a highlight on these beautiful and fresh strawberries…

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