Schaum Torte

Virtually unknown outside of Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is the German equivalent of Pavlova. It’s perfect topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream!

Schaum Torte is a German meringue dessert widely known to Milwaukee residents of German descent.

Many of our grandparents, including my maternal grandma, made Schaum Torte topped with fruit and ice cream for special occasions, and the dessert is also popular at a local German restaurant.

Whether you make a full-size Schaum Torte or the miniature “cookies” version I show here, Schaum Torte is a sweet dessert worth trying!

Virtually unknown outside of Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is the German equivalent of Pavlova. It's perfect topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream!


Schaum Torte History

A specialty from Wisconsin, and Milwaukee in particular, Schaum Torte was created by German immigrants and shared with their descendants.

Schaum Tortes are popular for Memorial Day celebrations when strawberries are in season. My grandma in particular loved to make Schaum Torte for bridal showers because they are such a pretty dessert. It’s also popular at Christmas.

Schaum Torte vs. Pavlova

Pavlova, named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, is a meringue-based dessert (probably?) created in New Zealand in 1927. While these desserts look nearly identical, Pavlova contains corn starch and Schaum Torte does not.

How to Make a Schaum Torte

While our grandmothers whipped egg whites by hand (“beat the heck out of ’em”), we can use modern technology to our advantage.

In a standing mixer, or with an electric hand mixer, start with a combination of egg whites, water, and salt and beat until stiff. Slowly add part of the sugar, cream of tartar, and vinegar.

Finally, add the remaining sugar and vanilla. At this point you can either dollop spoonfuls of meringue onto parchment or pipe circles with a piping bag.Virtually unknown outside of Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is the German equivalent of Pavlova. It's perfect topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream!

Finally, bake in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 30 minutes longer.

Top with fresh or frozen fruit (thawed), especially berries, and drizzle any extra juice over the top.

How to Make a Full-Size Schaum Torte

If you’d like to make a full-size Schaum Torte instead of the miniature version, simply transfer the meringue to a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Follow the baking instructions, leaving the baked shell in the oven with the heat off for 1 hour instead of 30 minutes.

Save this Schaum Torte to your “Desserts” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

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Virtually unknown outside of Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is the German equivalent of Pavlova. It's perfect topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream!
4 from 1 vote

Schaum Torte

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 153 kcal


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


To make individual Schaum Tortes:

  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, and flip over in pan (marker side down).

  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 30 minutes. Remove and store in an airtight container, or serve with fresh berries or ice cream. 

To make one full-size Schaum Torte:

  1. Follow the first 4 steps as written. Then, transfer the meringue to a 9-inch buttered spring form pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, turn off heat, and leave shell in the oven for 1 hour more (instead of 30 minutes).

Recipe Notes

Adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on my Affiliate and Advertising Policy, please click here.

Virtually unknown outside of Wisconsin, Schaum Torte is the German equivalent of Pavlova. It's perfect topped with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or ice cream!

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  1. In what way is the taste different between the two – Pavlova and Schaum?

  2. Do these hold well after filling?

    • Hi Cindy! Yes, they hold up just fine (I assume you’re thinking for a few hours, not a few days). It’s actually nice if you fill them first and if any juices accumulate in the bottom of the torte and soften it up and make it chewy. Those are the best bites. If you have other questions or want more specific information just let me know! Thank you!

  3. Is this Schaum torte tasting the same as Pavlova? I mean chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside or is it just crispy and crumbly overall? Has anyone here tasted both to answer this question?

    • Hi Diana. I’ve made over one hundred schaum tortes, pavlovas and others in my research on the subject. They are all the same thing – with small recipe variations across both meringue cake styles. It is really the baking times and heat settings that make them more or less crispy. Schaum torte well-predate the pavlova. The oldest schaum torte recipe I’ve baked came from the US Midwest c.1850. I put it in front of all my Australian friends and no one could tell the difference – because there is none.

  4. Great post – love the personal history you included. On the Schaum Torte vs. Pavlova – they are identical constructions. The first recipe to surface for “Pavlova Cake” does in a 1929, in a New Zealand publication. “Pavlova Cakes” also surfaced in New Zealand in 1928, but these were small coffee-nut kisses. Australia published the first recipe for “Pavlova” in 1926 (a ribbon jelly). “Strawberries Pavlova” dates back to 1911 (probably English). As to corn starch – it is not included in many of the first antipodean pavlova cake recipes and is not viewed as a mandatory ingredient, in fact my mums 70 year old pavlova recipe has no corn starch added, just egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vinegar and vanilla extract.

  5. This is very attractive but a somewhat different schaum torte not representative as it is known in old northern German families who emigrated to the states–– I agree, it is very much a Wisconsin-Prussian thing.

    My grandmother, born 1913, had made schaumtorte for special events and family birthdays throughout her life, relating that her mother had done the same when good fresh cream and ice were available. They would have a two layered soft meringue with macerated sugared strawberry filling and an exterior covered with whipped cream, garnished by harder meringue dollops and fresh strawberry. The texture of a tall stabilized soft meringue interior (even though the layers have crispiness to them on their respective exteriors as well) is really an essential stylistic difference in the old style. They also must be kept well-chilled because of this.

    • Hi Theo, awesome post. The wonderful thing about these old Germanic schaum torte recipes is they varied in size and shape from family to family. The recipe your grandmother made, a double layer meringue torte filled with whipped cream or ice-cream, and macerated strawberries, was extremely popular and particularly associated with high occasion celebrations (and no wonder, these things were incredibly labor intensive and time consuming to make before the advent of electric mixers and ovens). I bet your grandmothers recipe dates back to the nineteenth century – handed down from mother to daughter. I have been mapping the jump point from Germany to the USA, and you are right – looks like a beloved Prussian innovation.

  6. Thank you, Annabelle—
     Indeed, I have my grandmother’s as well as *her grandmother’s* hand written recipes for the Schaumtorte— not much varied, except for what was available, and when! ;) The quality of the cream a major sticking point. And you are right to think the double-layered version was considered a high occasion celebration. I do think, though, it is significantly different in its qualities from the more firmly baked, uniformly crunchy and chewy varieties of similar meringue dishes. This is very Prussian, but there is an old Austrian dish of poached meringue islands in cream sauce, served with berries, which I find somewhat related.
    Also, I have heard some old recipes used bananas— my family never did, though my grandmother mentioned it… you might keep in mind what a novel and luxurious but increasingly ubiquitous thing the import of bananas would have been at that time. As a side note, their bananas would been richer than ours, as the prevalent varietal was wiped out in the 1910s, as memorialized by the song ‘Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today…”.

  7. Also, the filling was always macerated strawberries, never cream— that was reserved for the exterior. The cream causes the layers to fall apart, and iced cream would weigh it down. Doesn’t work with a lighter bake, though it wouldn— and could be frozen with— a more thorough bake.

    • I’m so grateful for your thoughtful comments and knowledge about Schaum Torte, Theo!! I obviously don’t know nearly as much as you do, but now I can learn. And other readers who are stopping by to learn more will benefit from your generosity. Thank you so much, I really appreciate you!

  8. Fantastic Theo, finally I got the answer I was looking for. Thank you!

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