Posted in Baking/Cooking

My Traditional SCHAUM TORTE Recipe

(This is my most revisited post on my blog which I get as many as 75 hits per day – and this was posted 12/14/06 . . . be sure to leave a comment.  I love to see where people come from and their interest in Schaum Torte!  Thank you!)

had a small family growing up. It was just my parents, my sister and I, my grandpa, and then my dad’s cousin we called “Auntie” and his brother, would come for holidays.    My aunt was a wonderful baker.  She would make individual plates for my sister and I with cut-out cookies decorated beautifully.  For our holiday dessert we would have a traditional German dessert very popular in my hometown of Milwaukee, called “Schaum Torte”.  No one seems to hear of it around here in Michigan.  I made it for our oldest’s son’s graduation party, and most looked at it and pass it by.

Schaum Torte is a meringue type dessert, which we either top with strawberries or raspberries and icecream.  The meringue is “melt-in-your-mouth” good.  And before you read the recipe and decide to make it, it is not a diet dessert by any means, and would use up your calorie count for a week!


  • 6 egg whites (Do not get any yolk in! Eggs should be at room temperature)
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I’ve used almond flavoring instead also)


  1. In large metal mixing bowl, beat room temperature egg whites until foamy
  2. Add cream of tartar and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).
  3. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high speed until very stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).  About halfway through the sugar add the vanilla (or almond) extract in.

Now you have a couple of options in how to complete it.  You can make  12 individual tortes, by  putting them on a brown paper bag.  Just divide by tablespoons, and push in the middle of each to make a pocket.  When done, these peel right off the paper bag very easily.  These tortes come out more crusty all the way through.

OR, my favorite way, is to put it into a buttered 9 inch spring form pan.  This way the torte comes out more soft inside and just a light crisp shell on the outside.

With either option, put in the oven at 250 degrees for one hour.  Turn off oven, leave door shut, and let stay in the oven for another hour.

These store for days in an airtight container.  I then top it with raspberries or strawberries.  I love the juice from these soaking into the meringue.  Or, we top with icecream and one of the fruits.  It is wonderfully delicious, and something we keep special by making for special occassions only.


Beloved KEPT Child of Jesus stumbling by faith ~ Married 33 years ~ Blessed Mama of 10 beside me & 2 at Jesus' feet ~ Homeschool mama of 26 years ~ Writer * Blogger * Reviewer ~

66 thoughts on “My Traditional SCHAUM TORTE Recipe

  1. I was just watching the ‘Barefoot Contessa’ program on FoodTV and she was making something called a ‘Pavlova.’ Seems an awful lot like a Schaum Torte to me. I don’t care for Schaum Torte myself, but my husband is from Milwaukee, and that is still the preferred birthday dessert when his family gets together.

  2. Hi,

    I’m from Taiwan and have been to Milwaukee couples of times long time ago.

    Yes, I’ve tried and enjoyed Schaum Torte during my visit to Wisconsin. You are right, no one seems to hear of it outside Wisconsin. After so many years, I even don’t remember how to spell the word Schaum. I used “meringue”+”ice cream”+”strawberry”+Milwaukee” as key words to search on Google and finally got the name and got here! : )

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your posts and all my old memories.

    Taipei, Taiwan

  3. Many thanks for this wonderful recipe. I have been searching for this recipe to recreate this wonderful dessert that my German grandma would create for special occassions. The small shells are NOTHING compared to the bigger torte version …. that chewy section …. nothing else like it!

  4. I have this recipe in my grandmother’s recipe notefile that is over 40 years old and peeling apart. They were Irish and from Depere Wisconsin and NOONE outside of Wisconsin HAS any idea of what I am speaking of when I talk about this. Ten years ago when my Uncle was sick and about to pass from luekemia I wanted so badly to make it for him, but did not realize I had the recipe. My mother and grandmother would make it differently though. If anyone knows of the following… They would use whipped creme and put fruit in it and fill the shell of meringue (after very carefully slicing off the top with a very thin knife) and then they would replace the top of the shell. They baked and cooked all the time and also worked full time. I have wanted to make this for so long. I have to admit it was not something I liked as a child. I thought it was way too sweet….imagine that as a child, but I just did not care for it…but I want to try to make it… just for the memory if nothing else…. I am so glad I found this site. If anyone knows of this way of making the torte please let me know because my grandma’s recipe is not very complete and I am sure it was very understandable to her, but not to someone who has never made the creme and fruit. Thank you for any help. And thanks for the memory. She and my mother had the knack of the Irish with their skill of baking…no doubt about that….

    1. This was my dad’s favorite dessert when I was growing up. Recipe came down through his mother’s family, which has roots in Germany among other places. The meringue is the base. After it’s done, if you’ve created big peaks in it ( think big Hershey kisses, only it’s the meringue ), you can carefully cut the peaks off, layer with fresh whipped cream and fruit (strawberries in a sugar juice ) and then finally top with the peaks

  5. Hi, I am also german from the milwaukee area. I have made this using less than 1/2 the sugar and it turns out fine. My great aunt also made little cookies from it with the mini choc chips in it. They were called forget me cookies.

  6. This is so great! I am from the Milwaukee area but transplanted to Minneapolis. No one here (except the rest of us transplants “gets” Schaum Torte. My grandma Sermau in Wauwautosa was a master at it. My father used to take photos before we could eat it. It is the quintessential holiday celebration dessert. We do ours with strawberries and whipped cream. And I preface that it is a performance dessert – we assemble it at the table just before serving it. Usually someone has to mop up strawberry juice!

    I also make the cookies at Christmas – I have an old recipe from either the Wisconsin Power or the gas company cookbook – there are mint merigues with mini-chips or ones flovored with raspberry jello (rather than some of the sugar) and mini-chips. Both great hits!

    Thanks for a great walk down memory lane – now I’d better get to the kitchen to make my schaum torte so it’s ready for Easter dinner!

  7. You have to be of German descent and from Wisconsin to know Schaum
    Torte. If you come to Milwaukee, go to Mader’s restuarant for this wonderful dessert. My great aunt Della made it for us. A woman in our church, Calvary Lutheran, Thiensville, WI makes it for our church functions and there is never any remaining. She does large one in spring form pan for crowd. I’m making this for
    our church Senior luncheon at the end of the month. Gut essen.

  8. Hello,
    This sounds delicious. I was wondering if this is similar to the dessert mentioned in the movie, Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder. I think it’s pronounced, schuam varten kirs torte? Any help finding the spelling so I can look up the recipe would be appreciated.

    1. Gene Wilder was from Milwaukee, so I would not be surprised at all if it was the same dessert. Maybe someone who knows German can help out with the meaning of the two words in the middle “varten kirs”?

    2. The dessert mentioned in Young Frankenstein is Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, known in English as Black Forest Cherry-cake. Nothing to do with Schaum Torte.

      (And I just now realized this is a two year old comment I’m replying to… oh well.) 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing your recipe! My German Grandma from Milwaukee would make these for us (yes, like little nests on paper from a brown paper bag) and I loved it when the strawberry juice soaked in and made the meringue chewy, or when you left the meringue out and it got “stale” it would get good and chewy, too. Never had one made in a spring form pan as one big torte but may have to try that if it gives you the same effect.

  10. I am from the New York City area and back in the mid-50’s my brother married a German girl. She introduced Schaum Torte to our family and we have been making it for every special occasion since! We make ours in a spring form pan and when it is cooled, we break some of the pieces of the top off in big chunks, if possible, fill the shell with real whipped cream, and then place the chunks on top of the whipped cream. Then after we slice each piece and put it on a dessert plate, we drizzle frozen/thawed strawberries over it. I have tried using fresh strawberries but there isn’t enough juice to soak into the meringue, so use frozen! This has become our families “signature dessert” and I serve it whenever I have new friends over for dinner. I have since moved to Cleveland, OH and no one in Cleveland has ever heard of it! I have been spending my winters for the past six years in Cape Coral, FL where they have a large German population, and it is much more popular down there!

  11. i am from Milwaukee and back in the 70’s my husband and I went to Maders(local German restaurant) for our first anniversary and had schaum torte for dessert-it has become our standard dessert for big festive gatherings. We pick and freeze strawberries so we are always ready!!!! I encourage all to try this–it is easy and delicious and just beautiful to look at. The different textures make it delightful to eat and it can slide in as a dessert to almost any type of meal. Thanks for sharing this!!!!

  12. Yes, my wife’s cooking magazine had a recipe for Pavlova and it sounded just like schaum torte…I think the bigger media outlets think that schaum torte doesn’t sound ritzy enough, but it sure looks to be the same recipe. Like most here I have Wisconsin roots: both parents and lived near Milwaukee much of my life.

  13. Thanks for the recipe. I do have an addition though. I just made some without the vanilla, because the numbered directions list didn’t remind me to put the vanilla in. What step should it go in?

    As for the tradition, ditto to all the other comments. I’m of German ancestry, from WI, near Milwaukee, sharing the recipe with my friends in San Francisco!

  14. I’ve started experimenting with these as of late. I lived in Oshkosh, WI for about 4 yrs and a family friend made this for someone’s birthday celebration. I never forgot it. I currently reside in North Dakota and I PROMISE no one here has ever heard of this, but I am on a mission of sorts to let my friends know exactly how good these are. I am making these as a “single serving” type thing by dropping them by the spoonful. Very good to enjoy with a bowl of warmed fruit. In the small quantity like this they are much better than a desert rich in butter and egg. I am also going to work with reducing the sugar by a bit and see if it affects the outcome. Current batch in the oven is flavored with orange extract 🙂

  15. I have spent hours translating recipes for German Christmas cookies and traditional cakes. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will definitely bookmark it and try it out. I love cooking and baking!

  16. I remember these from my childhood. I was born in Milwaukee. My mom, grandmothers, aunties all made them, usually as an elegant replacement for strawberry shortcake. I have made them myself a few times.

    I’m now borderline diabetic, and am thinking of making these with sucralose, plain fruit and yoghurt for breakfast. Could be fun!

  17. HELP! A batch of individual Schaumtortes just came out of the oven – perfect. But we’re not serving them until Monday. How can I preserve them so they don’t become so chewy you lose your teeth filings? I’m also transplanted from Milwaukee to Ft. Myers via Baltimore and when my editor worked with me on my book, he had to correct all the German colloquialisms. I’m 5th generation and they still come out!

    1. Ours never last that long here! 🙂 But I would think if you kept in an air tight container it would help. I’ve also heard that putting in an airtight container with paper bag helps absorb extra moisture. Let me know!

      Tell me about the German colloquialisms. Having been away from Milwaukee for close to 30 years, I’ve probably forgotten many! But a Milwaukee word that still slips is “bubbler” for drinking fountains – which is not German!

  18. What fun it’s been reading these comments! I think that the main difference between Pavlova (made in Ireland and Australia) is that the Pavlova calls for corn starch. This results in a firmer textured product that the Schaum Torte I make from my aunt’s 80 + year-old recipe. Mine goes into a spring form pan. My friend’s Pavlova bakes in one large piece on a baking sheet. It holds its shape; mine collapses. The Pavlova also is less sweet than the Schaum Torte. Each is delicious.

  19. Hi! I’ve used a modified version of this recipe for my husband, who loves schaum torte. I’d never heard of this dessert until I met him. Your recipe was a good find for me because I’m living in Denver and the high altitude does a number on air-leavened goods. I’ve had schaum tortes come out totally round like a volleyball, just due to the low air pressure here in the Mile High City. The addition of both vinegar and cream of tartar really helps keep my tortes from blowing up – thanks for posting this!

  20. I so enjoyed reading all the posts as I grew up in a German household in Plymouth Wisconsin and my mother always made schaum torte for every birthday and special occasion so this brings back many memories. My mother’s recipe is very similar but she always made it in a cake pan and cut it into squares with the strawberries on top. We preferred this method as it remains soft inside and oh so yummy! Can’t wait to start baking!

  21. I too grew up with Schaum torte in Watertown, WI. My grandmother would make it and we would have it with strawberries, it is the best. My mom makes an angel pie every year which calls for the same schaum torte recipe for the pie crust and chocolate filling! It is the very best!! Happy Thanksgiving and I hope everyone gets to have some form of schaum torte this holiday!!!

  22. Born in Milwaukee,grew up in Grafton(20 miles north). Used to drive into Milwaukee for Christmas dinner at Aunt Esthers’ house (22cnd and Wells). she made the soft center with raspberries. The best ever. Family were Prussian(Doegnitz und Saueressig) and Pomeranian(Voeks) from Ozaukee county. I’m a retired surgeon living in st. Pete fl.,can’t wait till ?Christmas dinner

  23. Retired surgeon living in St. Pete Fl. Born in Milwakee,raised in Ozaukee county(20 miles north of Mil. When I was a child we’d drive into Mil. To Aunt Esthers’ house for Christmas dinner(22cnd and Wells). That’s. Where the family ate soft center schaumtorte. Such wonderful memories!! Ancestry , Prussian( Doegnitz and Saueressig) and Pomeranian(Voeks). Early settlers of Ozaukee county Wis. Great blog!!!

  24. My mom asked for this for her birthday. She is a Wisconsin girl, but I didn’t realize it was a Wisconsin thing til I went on line. – We grew up overseas, and I don’t remember her making it for us. I have my first batch in the oven now. Thanks for the recipe! And for the information that I could make them a little ahead! (the dinner is tomorrow)
    Lisa in the Twin Cities

  25. My German grandmother made this for special occasions as I was growing up. I always thought it was German but she was also from Wisconsin! ( we live in California). I never knew how to spell Schaum and always wondered if it was sham or pretend torte! In Switzerland meringues are very popular with double cream ( very thick cream), but I wondered about the berries. Then I decided to google it and found your recipe – thanks! Perfect!

  26. Cindy Baier Boelk here-a true Wisconsin German! I have been told that in Wisconsin eggs were always plentiful and the German women came up with Schaum Torte to utilize eggs and save the flour. Pavlova is harder and not as chewy-and if you tell any Wisconsin German Grandmother the two are the same thing you will get quite a lecture on the difference!
    Our family put bananas and strawberries in the middle-and fresh whipped cream on top, or ice cream.
    Its seems this recipe was unique to the Milwaukee area. Half my German family was from Milwaukee-the Schaum Torte experts- and the other half was from Marquette County-they never heard of Schaum Torte.
    “Schaum” can mean foam, or froth-

  27. HELLO! I’m a Michigan girl living in Madison, WI. I am experimenting for a wedding dessert, and trying the larger version in a 9″ spring form pan. Is it necessary to press the center down like you would the smaller, single tortes? I hope so, because that’s what I did. I’m looking forward to tasting it!

    1. I would not press it down. When I make the smaller individual ones, it’s to have like a little bowl to put the fruit/icecream in. Let us know how it turned out! 🙂

      1. Well, Loni is absolutely correct! Don’t press down if you’re making the larger torte. The edges were raised and crispy, but the center was gooey and runny. I’m going to try again, though!

  28. Hello – My mother-in-law, who is from Mayville, Wisconsin makes this. It’s always been a favorite of my family when we visit them in Virginia. I just made it for my husband for Super Bowl Sunday but it’s just not the same as her’s. Still wonderful. We serve it with fresh strawberries that we chop earlier in the day so they make their own juice and real whip cream. I didn’t know how unique the recipe was until I read this blog. We live in Pflugerville, Texas, a German community, and do not know of anyone else that makes schaum torte but us! It really must be a Wisconsin recipe!

  29. Have you ever heard of mixing the strawberries and shaum torte and possibly a cake together and baking. I remember my Aunt (we all leaved in Wisconsin) made a strawberry shaum torte she called it but when it came out of the oven it had the strawberries and shaum torte was all in one. It was our favorite desserrt but we cannot find her recipe for it.

    1. I’ve made blitz torte before. It doesn’t have strawberries, but it is cake on the bottom and schaum torte on the top. It’s really good.

  30. Hi, just stopping in to see your history on the schaum torte for a class I’m teaching tonight on family recipes. My grandma (who was German) used to make these all the time. She would fill them with whipped cream and bananas… I think the strawberries sound much tastier.

    1. Never tried it with bananas, but whenever I make Schaum Torte I use the frozen strawberries that come in the little square box. They are much juicier and the juice soaks into the meringue making it taste so much better!

  31. Hi There:
    Just finished making Schaum Torte (individual size) & went to look up other recipes and was drawn to your website. I have never heard of using vinegar in the recipe. What does this ingredient do? My tortes were not as THICK as I’d have liked but were soft inside. I used 4 egg whites,1/2 tsp cream of tartar & only 3/4 cup of sugar. Baked 2 hr 10 min at 275o. It made 9 (I had slid one cookie sheet under the other so they would be on one sheet.)

    1. I am not exactly sure why the vinegar – just the recipe I’ve had through the years! 🙂 Try it and see if it makes a difference! Would love to hear!

      1. You can use vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar. It is the acid that helps make the whites firm. The French use a copper bowl. My mother made this dessert all the time. One time she took the tort out of the oven too soon and the center collapsed. Well, we just filled the center with strawberries and topped it with whipped cream. Even the mistakes taste good.

  32. It is great to read these comments! I too lived in Milwaukee growing up and both my mom and grandma would make the Schaum Torte on the paper bag. Wonderful with strawberries that had a bit of juice. About 5 years ago I ran across a similar receipe for cookies at Christmas. Add a little bit of mint and stir in semi sweet mini chocolate chips….. Also a hit!

  33. So fun to read the history of the Schaum Torte! My husband grew up on this (yup, he’s from the Milwaukee area with a German mother). He requested a Schaum Torte for his birthday this year and we’ll be using his grandmother’s recipe. I hope it turns out! So far it is in the oven in a springform pan and has gotten HUGE.

  34. Oh your post brings back such wonderful memories. I am 66 years old and am originally from Milwaukee. 100% German bred. Many years ago, I remember my mother and grandmother making schaum torte for every special occasion. They would make a huge one. It used a dozen eggs for the recipe. To beat the eggs, they used a very old contraption that had blades in it and used a handle to whip the eggs. My sisters and I would feel so honored to start the whipping of the egg whites. Of course as the egg whites thickened, it would get too hard for us to whip. Then mom or grandma would have to take over. After the torte would be baked, mom or grandma would crack the top into sections, put whipped cream and strawberries in the middle and then puzzle the top back on. Never heard any complaints from anyone that had it. I still have the mixer, displayed in the kitchen and love telling the story of it whenever anyone asks what it is.

  35. I too am from Milwaukee. We used to get
    Schaum Torte at restaurants and the country club. But my mom grew up in a bakery, Polish, and she made it there.

  36. Yes, another German-Milwaukee girl here. From Brookfield. My mom always made the Thanksgiving desserts for our large extended family. She always made 1 Schaum Torte (and of course Pumpkin Pie!). I am now going to introduce my husband’s family (they are from Ohio) to Schaum Torte. I am using fresh berries grown right near our southern CA home. Yes, I will mix the berries with sugar & let them get nice and juicy. My mom always baked for one hour then let the shell sit in the oven for several hours – no peeking.

    1. I learned of the recipe in the 1960’s when my brother married a German girl. Since then, I have been making it for every special occasion since! This was in a suburb of NYC. After that, I moved to Cleveland, OH where I made it several times for friends. Nobody had ever heard of it before, but they all agreed that it was awesome! I always use frozen strawberries because of the heavier juice. Although now the juice does seem to be a little thinner than in the “olden days” of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I’m sure using fresh southern Caliornia berries would turn out delightul! Good luck!

  37. Although I was born in MA, raised in NY and now live in CT, my parents were pure Midwest. My Mother was from Sheboygan WI were my Grandmother and Grandfather also hailed from with German and Danish roots. Dad was from IL and knew nothing about Schaum-torte.
    In our family Schaum-torte season is from Thanksgiving to Easter. One of the issues with this dish is it is not happy on humid days. It much prefers a crisp NW breeze and bone dry conditions. This is not to say Schaum-torte made on a rainy day is bad only a bit chewier.
    I have never had a bad schaum-torte, only some better than others. I normally use a dozen eggs and 3 cups of sugar in a 12 inch spring pan. The rest of the ingredients stay in ratio for the larger batch. The larger batch allows me to make a full Schaum-torte and about a dozen kisses. I use Teflon aluminum foil on a baking sheet. The spring pan is centered, then using 2 tea spoons I scoop up the remaining batter with one teaspoon and push it onto the foil with the other. These are great for popping into the mouth and help to prevent the family members from stealing pieces of the crisp topping. This torte can stay for several days. I normally make it at night, set the oven at 275 and bake the torte and kisses for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and go to bed. I think this does keep the soft portion lighter than a 1.5 hour bake and removal from the oven.
    Special NOTE: For those of the Jewish faith this is the perfect Passover desert. My daughter presented a Schaum-torte to her In-Laws at Passover and was a dynamic hit for an un-levined desert. I am now 62 and have had 3-5 Schaum-tortes per year. That is a lot of egg in the face or mouth.
    Brian J

  38. I grew up in West Allis but my Grandmother was from Sheboygan. I remember this from my childhood served with strawberries. This year I will be making the torte for Christmas. My husband had Heart By-Pass surgery this summer so I am looking for desserts with less saturated fat. I will serve with low fat ice cream and just a dollop of whip cream on his !
    Thank you for the tip of using a springform pan!

  39. Another Wisconsin girl with a grandmother raised in Baraboo area – pure German stock. We also prized this dessert for birthdays – ice cream & strawberries. If it’s humid then turn off the oven and leave overnight. Wonderful memories – never anything left with five brothers on the scene.

  40. I stumbled across your recipe while searching for the history/origin of schaum torte. I’m from Iowa, currently living in Minneapolis, and my family makes it every Christmas. My grandparents used to live in Wisconsin, which is probably where the recipe was picked up (though none of my Wisconsin friends here have ever heard of it!) We bake it in a freeform round on a flat baking sheet and serve it with whipped cream and strawberries.

  41. I am 67 years old. I grew up in Milwaukee and remembered this treat. Strawberries are coming in season. I looked up the recipe but never sure of it. Now, thanks to you, I know I have the original recipe

  42. Living in and from Milwaukee. I tried variations of this with chestnuts and I swear I found this in a Chinese cookbook not Schaum at all, but I recognized the end result. Shaum is what is done with all the extra whites when the yolks are used for CUSTARD ice cream (a Milwaukee staple), and for egg custards used to fill Chocolate Eclairs. The meringue can also be combined with ground nuts and baked/dried in the oven. I am now going to try substituting spenda for the sugar in the Schaums since our raspberries are busting a gut producing this year and all that sugar is just not in my diet.

  43. A Wisconsin girl with a husband from the Pacific Islands, I’m excited to have him try this! I remember my mom making it both ways, but my favorite is in the springform pan. The crisp crust and slightly soft center is perfect with fresh, juicy raspberries!

  44. My Milwuaukee mom used to make this for my June birthday. We would have strawberries and ice cream with it. I now make it occasionally for my family. Most love it. Great memories!

  45. I just got back from a visit to Milwaukee. We ate at Maders and I had the Schaumtorte for dessert. I knew I would have to google it as soon as I got home, it was delicious. I look forward to trying your recipe.

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