A delicious Russian cake from my childhood years – my mom used to make it for my birthdays.
The recipe was originally created by the dessert chef of the restaurant “Praga” (Russian for Prague) – Vladimir Guralnik – on the Arbat street in Moscow. It’s actually very similar to the famous Sachertorte.
There are several variations of the cake – I will provide something close to the classic version. It’s light on the bite and relatively easy to prepare. An excellent treat for New Year’s!
Total cooking time – about 3 hours.
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups unbleached All purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 8oz. or 200g sour cream
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
- dash of salt
The creme (this makes a lot, just in case)
- 1 can condensed milk
- Cognac (for a flavorful kick)
- Unsalted butter sticks (400g)
For a “moist” cake –
- Cognac diluted by water
- lingonberry preserves (that’s the kind I used)
Decoration, on top
- Dark chocolate, shredded
Take out the butter – it’s for the creme – cut it up into smaller pieces and let it sit out in a bowl. It needs to become soft. Do not melt it.
Making the dough
1. Into a large mixing bowl, break the 3 eggs and add the dash of salt. Lightly beat the eggs.
2. Add the sugar gradually while still beating the eggs. Add it faster rather than slower. Beat it all together until a fluffy, bubbly mass.
3. Add sour cream, then the 1/2 can condensed milk. Beat the mix lightly then stop for a sec, take the teaspoon of baking soda and hold it over the mixture while pouring lemon juice over it. Add the bubbling baking soda over the dough mixture, lightly beat to integrate.
Note: don’t over-beat – that makes the dough tougher
4. Add cocoa powder, mix it in, using a spoon or something of the like here.
5. Gradually fold in *sifted flour. Make sure you’re folding it in carefully so that the dough doesn’t lose all of the “bubbly” quality. You can fold in with large spoon or by slowly mixing with a whisk. Make sure there are no lumps.
6. The dough should be of medium consistency, somewhat fluid.
7. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the sides of a round cake pan, about 12in or a bit smaller in diameter. Add half the dough, bake for 30 mins. It should rise while in the oven. Do the same with the second half of the dough when the first layer is done.
8. Once a layer is done, let it cool. Then, each needs to be cut (hamburger style), into thinner halves. With the end of a knife, cut not too deeply in, along the circumference. Then take a firm string, insert it into where you already cut through a bit, and by pulling it carefully through, cut the cake form into two layers. We end up with four layers.
Making the Creme
The butter should be soft when you start making the creme,
1. Beat the butter in a bowl (with an electric mixer) for several minutes until it becomes fluffy and light.
2. Keep beating and add in the can of condensed milk. Beat for another several minutes.
3. Add a couple of tablespoons of Cognac, beat lightly and fast to mix it in. This is to your tasting – however much Cognac you want.
4. Put the creme in the refrigerator, let it solidify, then take it out 5-10 mins before you are ready to assemble the cake (so that it’s easier to layer it on).
Assembling the cake
1. Put the layer you’d like to use as the bottom on a plate/dish. Dilute Cognac with water, and preserves with water (the dilution factor is to your liking) and drizzle each over the whole area of the cake layer with a spoon. Then take some of the creme and layer it evenly on top.
2. Place the second cake layer on top of the creme. Repeat with the Cognac, preserves and creme.
3. Repeat for the third layer and fourth layer.
4. For the top, sprinkle the shredded chocolate over the creme. Put the cake into the refrigerator overnight – vital for thorough moistening.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to comment.