Viennese whirls

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This delightful Viennese whirls recipe will help you perfect this classic biscuit, the ideal bake for an afternoon tea. For an extra homemade touch, try making your own easy raspberry jam to sandwich the biscuits together.

First published in 2016

The Viennese Whirl is an old fashioned British biscuit which is thought to have originated from Austria – they are buttery, light biscuits that are truly melt in the mouth, filled with jam and buttercream. Similar to the Empire Biscuit, the biscuits are piped onto the baking tray before being baked, which gives them a pretty, patterned finish, hence the name 'whirls'. A very well-known British cake company has made them famous, and they are often seen on the afternoon tea time plate!

To further confuse the issue, there are more biscuits based on the Viennese Whirl, called Viennese Drops; they have a slice of cherry on top of the biscuit, and are not sandwiched together, but are just as tasty and are less sweet than the whirls. You need to use a piping bag to obtain the 'whirl' shape, and the biscuits need to be a pale golden brown, and no darker, once baked.

My recipe for Viennese Whirls is based on an old Be-Ro recipe my mum used to make called Viennese Fingers; the same biscuit dough was piped into finger shapes. After baking, one end was dipped in chocolate, and sometimes sandwiched together with buttercream. The biscuit dough is made with a mixture of flour and cornflour, and it’s the cornflour that gives the biscuits their crumby and light texture.

The biscuits are quite tricky to make, but the results are worth the extra effort. One tip – when I made mine, it was a very hot day, so try to make sure that the buttercream is chilled before filling the biscuits, otherwise you won’t be able to pipe the buttercream properly. The biscuits are just as nice plain, if sweet jam and the buttery filling isn’t to your taste.





  • 175g of butter, softened
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 100g of self-raising flour
  • 75g of cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 50g of butter, softened
  • 100g of icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To serve

  • raspberry jam
  • icing sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment
To make the biscuits, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the flour and cornflour and mix well. Add the vanilla extract and stir well to mix it into the biscuit mixture
Place the mixture into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe rounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet
Bake for 20 minutes, until a pale golden brown
Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before carefully removing them to a wire cooling rack
Meanwhile make the buttercream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy and store in the fridge until needed
When the biscuits are cool, spread raspberry jam over one biscuit and the pipe some buttercream on top. Place another biscuit on top to form a sandwich
Continue to do this until the all of the biscuits have been filled and sandwiched together. Sprinkle extra icing sugar over the biscuits to serve
First published in 2016

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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