As the largest country on the planet, unsurprisingly Russia has a very varied cuisine, ranging from the European influences on the western side to the Eastern provinces bordering China and the Far East. We could also discuss the central areas, and the multitude of influences to be found there. Basically, finding one cake to represent Russia would be nigh-on impossible – it’s just too big!
This cake is an example of the Western style of cooking. ‘Korolevsky’ translating as ‘royal’, this cake would usually be found in the imperial cities, eaten by the aristocracy. It is traditionally a three layer cake, each layer made with a different flavouring – chopped walnuts, poppy seeds and cocoa powder. I decided to break with tradition though, creating a marbled version of the cake, which also works well. The recipe is adapted from here, however, I decided to top the cake with a vodka ricotta frosting. Whilst ricotta itself is not Russian, Tvorog (a Russian cottage cheese) is very traditional in the cuisine, and so I wanted to use this influence in my frosting.
Korolevsky Cake with Vodka Ricotta Frosting
- 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups sour cream
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
- 1 pound (16 ounces) of ricotta cheese, drained of excess liquid
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp of vodka
Preheat the oven to 380°F and grease 3 sandwich tins. Set aside.
To make each layer of the cake, mix two eggs with one cup of sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add one cup of flour and stir to combine. In a ramekin, mix 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda with 1 tsp vinegar. When it fizzes up, stir into one cup of sour cream which should also start to rise. At this point stir into the cake batter using a spatula.
Split the mixture into 3 parts, adding a different flavouring to each one, either 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp poppy seeds or 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts. Alternate spoonfuls of the three mixtures into a loaf tin (or round if preferred) and use a skewer to swirl the mixtures, creating a marbled effect. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together until the mixture is thick and fluffy. Use this to sandwich the different layers together, before sprinkling the remaining chopped walnuts and poppy seeds on the top of the cake to decorate.