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Mar 18, 2004 04:20 PM

Need recipe for multi-layer Ukranian cake

  • g

When I was a kid my parents had good friends who had emigrated from Ukraine in the 1950's. My parents moved, they lost touch, but I've never forgotten this incredible Ukranian cake that the wife used to make.

I'm dreaming of finding a recipe to be able to recreate it. In the alternative I'm also posting a request for suggestions about where to find this at a bakery in the greater NYC area.

Overall the cake was white/yellow; it had many, many thin layers (I'm guessing 12 or more) that were less cakey and more like a cookie; layers were separated by a creamy filling/frosting that I'm guessing must have had had condensed milk in it; it was sweet, but not cloyingly so; it was maybe 5" high.

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    Shalini Bhalla

    I've has something like what you describe at a Russian bakery in San Francisco (dont know about NYC).Its located on Geary st. The cake had 10 or 12 layers and a maple/ caramely cream between the layers. It was called Mother in laws cake or Madam something cake. Really yummy.


    1. Hi,

      What you describe is the classic Russian dessert of Napoleon Cake.

      I just googled and found a webforum with a recipe from a 92-year-old Babushka. I think it meets your needs.

      Often these are for sale by the slice in Russian bakeries.

      CAthy2 ili Yekaterina Karlovna!


      2 Replies
      1. re: Cathy2

        Thanks so much for the name lead! Some of the discussion in the link you provided described the cake I remember, although the version I had was definately not made with puff pastry. The recipe provided needs some help, so I'm going to follow-up directly with that poster. Again, thanks so much. rocks!

        1. re: Got Cake?

          A Russian friend's mom used to make a multi-layer torte/cake -- the layers were very light made from lightly ground walnuts instead of flour. Then the layers were were filled with a light mocha cream. Mom hand chopped the walnuts because grinding them caused them to be too oily, so the cake took hours to make, but it was sensational. I don't have her recipe unfortunately but this one looks very much like it:

      2. I make a cake, about once each year, that is commonly known as Baumkuchen. It has many thin layers and, in it's traditional preparation, is made by drizzling layers of batter onto a round "spit" over a heat source. When the layers are finished baking the spit is removed and the elongated layers are cut into rings which form layered round cakes with a hole in the center with each layer resembling a tree ring.
        My version drizzles thin layers of batter into a spring form pan (or simply onto a sheet pan) making them as evenly round as possible, and baking layer upon layer until the cake is done. I sometimes use a pastry brush but with practice it's not too difficult to get even layers using a ladle and then evening it up with a brush. The finished cake is usually about 18 layers. It looks like a very tall stack of very thin pancakes but isn't at all a stack of pancakes. It is light textured, moist and quite delicious.
        This method:

        2 Replies
        1. re: todao

          Re Baumkuchen:
          On one of the cable channels there's a series call Above the Alps and one episode has about a ten minute segment about a woman in Switzerland who has a cottage industry making a cake the authentic way.
          Good illustrations of the methods she developed to follow her family recipe.

          1. re: todao

            In Lithuania, it's call Raguolis or Sakotis. Racine Bakery in Chicago makes a nice one and they do ship.

            Here are a couple of youtube links. One shows the traditional/original cooking process. The second link shows how a supersized sakotis is made. This takes place at a Lithuanian Medieval Times like venue.



            Regarding the Napoleon, the Lithuanian version uses a puff-pastry dough, for the richness, but the dough is pricked and flattened on the pan so that it doesn't puff up. The layers are compressed giving a more solid/cookie-like texture.