15 Traditional Swiss Desserts And Swiss Cakes To Try

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It’s hard to say which is more iconic: The breathtaking landmarks in Switzerland or the delicate Swiss desserts and food. When you see the Matterhorn with your own eyes while enjoying a warm slice of apple tart, you’ll find that the two choices are best enjoyed together!

What’s Special About Swiss Desserts?

Switzerland is known for its delectable cuisine and intricate sweet treats, but what makes Swiss desserts so extraordinary? This is a general question travelers ask themselves before visiting. But once you dive into the culinary culture of Switzerland, you’ll be left amazed and satisfied!

Swiss cakes feature many different varieties of caramelized fruits made into decadent sweet treats you can enjoy any time of the day. From Swiss cookies to sweet desserts, you’ll also find many delicious uses of groundnuts used in unique and creative ways. 

What makes Swiss sweets and desserts so special is the unique displays of a culture that most are not familiar with, featuring common flavors but in a distinctly Swiss fashion. The way to fully enjoy the world of different choices of Switzerland desserts is to give them a try!

Most Famous Swiss Treat

Swiss Chocolate


If there is one food or thing Switzerland is famous for, chocolates have to be a forerunner contender. Swiss chocolate is probably the most iconic Swiss dessert, known throughout the world as one of the most superior in quality chocolate. 

There are countless brands and names, but one thing they all share is fine craftsmanship and amazing flavor – from the decadent Lindt to the airport classic we all know as Toblerone.

For any tourist, locals will point out the best places to visit that feature world-famous Swiss chocolatiers, and there are even tours throughout cities in Switzerland that are exclusively about chocolate and its history in the country.

The Swiss pride themselves on detail, mastering their craft, and perfecting whatever they set their minds to – and it can be seen clearly (or rather tasted) when you try their chocolatey Swiss desserts!

One of the best things about Swiss Chocolates though is that there are some so famous that you can even get them online, without having to travel to Switzerland. 

Swiss Desserts: Best Traditional Swiss Cakes And Tarts

Rüeblitorte (Carrot Cake)


Rüeblitorte, also known around the world as carrot cake, can be traced far back in the world’s history, to Middle Age Europe. Carrots were a natural sweetener many hundreds of years ago, and a staple ingredient in Swiss desserts and cakes.

It is most popular in the region of Aargau, also known as carrot land, because of the vast farmlands devoted to growing carrots. However, Rüeblitorte is not just enjoyed in this region but throughout Switzerland. 

These beloved Swiss cakes are made with basic ingredients such as eggs and butter, the Swiss carrot cake is distinct in that they use ground nuts instead of flour! The result is a phenomenal combination of earthy flavors and a fluffy cake base.

While most of the world uses the usual sugared icing, the traditional glazing used for these Swiss cakes is usually lemon, and the sharp taste contrast with the groundnuts is simply sensational!

Nusstorte (Traditional Groundnut Tart)

Originating from the Graubünden region in Switzerland, Nusstorte is deeply rooted in the traditional cuisine of Swiss desserts. While most varieties of nuts are used today, Nusstortes were initially made with walnuts.

First made in the early 1900s, Nusstorte has taken on many variations and names and is one of the most popular traditional Swiss cakes. You can find them during the holiday seasons at festivals and any other time of the year. The caramel and nut center make these Swiss cakes one of the most divine classic desserts you can find today!

Wähe (Traditional Fruit Tart)


Once thought of as the “poor man’s food”, Wähe has become a staple Swiss dessert found all across the country in bakeries, restaurants, and local homes. While it’s hard to pin down which fruit was traditionally first used, it’s safe to say that apples, plums, and apricots were common options – depending on what fruit was available and in season.

Traditionally, these Swiss cakes were prepared by using up stale bread that had not been eaten, hence the association with the lower class of Switzerland. Now, there are both savory versions made with ingredients like onions, cheese, or even spinach, as well as sweet varieties, using the fruits mentioned.

Äppelkaka (Apple Tart)


One of the most classic Swiss cakes has to be the Äppelkaka. While it is not certain when it was first invented, any local will most likely have a story about their grandmother preparing an apple tart during their childhood.

Made with simple ingredients like flour, eggs, and butter – what makes this such a classical Swiss dessert are the apples that are perfectly caramelized with a hint of cardamom and cinnamon taste. Sometimes, oats are used to replace the flour, but they all share the commonality of finely cooked and baked apples with the crunch of the freshly baked golden top.

You can be sure to find apple tarts at most cafes and eateries across Switzerland, and with a fresh steaming cup of coffee or tea, few things sing the song of Swiss desserts so well!

Zuger Kirschtorte (Traditional Layered Sponge Cake)


Zuger Kirschtorte is an iconic Swiss dessert originally from the region of Zug (which is where the name came from). These world-famous Swiss cakes are made with decadent layers of buttercream. But the star of this dessert is the cake soaked in Kirsch.

The outside of the Zuger Kirschtorte is then decorated in finely roasted almonds with a top layer of meringue that is dusted with fine icing sugar to create one of the most delectable desserts in Switzerland ever made.

Aprikosenwähe (Swiss Apricot Tart)


The Aprikosenwähe is not just a popular Swiss dessert, but a beloved and favorite choice of Swiss breakfast for many of the locals.

While it is quite similar to the Wahe, these Swiss cakes are made exclusively with apricots layered into the cake mixture with a layer added to the top as well. After baking, the crumbly sides and the soft warm center all culminate into a delicious Swiss dessert you won’t easily forget!

Popular Sweet Swiss Desserts

Swiss Meringue


You’ll probably recognize them for the classic world-famous sweet and crisp meringue cookies. Made simply from sugar and egg whites, Swiss desserts use a wide variety of meringue types, from buttercream frostings to pie fillings, Swiss meringue are as versatile as they are delicious!

The most famous examples of these traditional Swiss desserts are the lemon meringues and the sweet meringue cookies that are baked by themselves.

Brischtner Nytlä (Whipped Cream And Dried Pears)

Simple and delicious, Brischtner Nytlä is one of the most traditional and loved Swiss desserts you can find. It is made primarily from 2 key ingredients, which are fresh whipped cream layered or topped with dried pears. 

As simple as it seems, the taste is out-of-this-world. Cooked and simmered in red wine and sugar, the pears take on a sweet rich flavor that is hard to compare to anything else, and oh-so divine!

The origin of this Swiss dessert began as a way of preserving and saving the pears that were stored during winter, and once dried, the locals thought of an excellent way to utilize them!

A Raspberry Swiss Roll


This Swiss dessert may look intricate and delicate and hard to make, but you’ll be surprised by how simple and easy it is. Despite the name Swiss Roll, there are still debates if these Swiss cakes were originally made in Switzerland. A mystery lost to time, as the expression goes.

The beauty of the Swiss Roll is how varied and versatile it is, as you can make it with sweetened jam or fruit compote, and whatever flavor you prefer, you can be sure you’ll find it. From blueberry to raspberry, to black currant flavors, these traditional Swiss desserts can offer something to any taste preference!

Swiss Desserts: The Best Swiss Pastries And Cookies

Basler Läckerli (Traditional Spiced Swiss Cookies)


Basler Läckerli is by far one of the most famous traditional Swiss cookies. Found throughout Switzerland, they are especially popular during the festive seasons and are considered to be one of the best Swiss desserts. 

Spicy and sweet, almonds and hazelnuts are used to make the Basler Läckerli, along with honey, and Kirsche (a famous cherry brandy in Switzerland). Once baked, these hard and crunchy sweet treats are traditionally cut into rectangle shapes, but you can often find them in a variety of shapes.

Carac (Traditional Mini Swiss Pastries)

It’s hard not to think about Christmas in Switzerland without being reminded of the mini Carac. These sweet Swiss pastries are highly popular and much loved during the festive season. They are found at Christmas events and markets across the country. And thus, is one of the most popular Swiss desserts!

The Carac are considered traditional mini Swiss cakes, but they are rather modern and were originally made as recently as 1990 to the early 2000s. And according to the locals, they can’t remember a Christmas without featuring these fantastic little pastries.

Basler Brunsli (Swiss Christmas Cookie)


Basler Brunsli is another popular and much loved Swiss cookie that features strongly around Christmas time. When visiting any of the festive markets in Switzerland during the festive season, you’re guaranteed to see the Basler Brunsli. After all, they are a prized and famous Swiss dessert!

With simple ingredients needed (like almonds, flour, and egg) the magical part of these delightful Swiss cookies is the cinnamon and chocolate. Shaped into a wide variety of different forms before baking, many locals have fond memories of making these with their families when they were young.

Berliner (Swiss Donuts)


While the Berliner got its name from Switzerland’s close neighbor, Germany, this Swiss pastry has become an integral part of Swiss desserts and sweets.

They look very similar to the Western donuts, and the components are very close. Made with classic ingredients like flour, eggs, and sugar – instead of having a hole, they are filled with a delicious sweetened jam. 

Almost any bakery in Switzerland will feature these little pastry delights, and depending on where you find them, the fillings will be different – But all of them are almost always coated in a fine dusting of icing sugar. “Finger-licking good”, as some would say.

Spitzbuben Cookies (Christmas Jam Cookies)


Fruit and cookies are a combination that the Swiss adore! And during Christmas time, these Swiss cookies are everywhere! Swiss desserts feature a lot of phenomenal cookies during the festive season – And the Cookie Monster would have the time of his life!

Spitzbuben cookies are also quite simple to make, and once baked they are served liberally covered in a coating of powdered sugar. The results are soft-centered and crunchy bites that leave you only wanting more!

The Scrumptious Variety Of Swiss Desserts

From the spicy flavor of Basler Lackerli to the Apricot tart which is a beloved Swiss breakfast choice, it’s hard to decide what is the best aspect of Swiss desserts.

Their world-famous tarts and perfectly crafted Swiss chocolate are like magnets for any travelers visiting Switzerland (if they’re not enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of the Swiss Alps). So, it’s ultimately up to you to decide what is the best aspect of Swiss desserts and the sweet world of Swiss cuisine.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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