Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 25 mins
This recipe from Western Ukraine is from Christina Nawrocky, a distinguished cook who runs a food column in the Ukrainian woman’s weekly in New York. This recipe is from her mother, who left behind a beautiful, handwritten notebook of recipes, which is Christina’s most prized family treasure, and which offers a perfect access to a rich and authentic regional cuisine.
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup superfine sugar
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated
- 1 1⁄4 cups ground walnuts
- 1⁄4 cup unflavored fine dry breadcrumb
- 1 tablespoon fine ground coffee (not instant)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar (sometimes called icing sugar or powdered)
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- 1 tablespoon rum extract
- 1 cup red currant preserves
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 2 tablespoons water
- The day before assembling the cake, make the meringue layers. Cut out TWO-11-inch circles from parchment or freezer paper; grease well with butter and sprinkle lightly with flour.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F Fold the rim of the baking circles slightly upward.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vinegar together until the whites hold a stiff peak. Add the superfine sugar, a few Tablespoons at a time, beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy. To make superfine sugar blend in the blender until it is superfine.
- Gently fill each circle with half the meringue mixture, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the meringues are light golden and dry, 1 hour.
- Invert the meringues onto a plate and peel off the parchment paper. Leave in a dry spot overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F Line the bottom a 10-inch sprinform pan with parchment or freezer paper. Lightly butter the paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.
- To make the walnut chocolate layer, in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted.
- With clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold one-third of the whites into the beaten yolks, then fold in the rest, alternating with the grated chocolate and walnuts.
- Fold in the bread crumbs, coffee, and lemon juice.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the cake tester comes out clean, another 20 to 25 minutes.
- When the cake cools off a little, remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the paper. Using a serrated knife, cut it horizontally into two layers.
- Whip the cream with the sugar, instant coffee, and rum extract until it holds stiff peaks.
- Place one of the walnut-chocolate layers, cut side up, on a cake platter and spread it with 1/2 cup of the red currant preserves and then with one-third of the coffee-flavored cream. Top with one meringue layer. Spread another one-third of the cream on the meringue layer and top with the second meringue layer. Spread the rest of the cream filling on the meringue. Spread the remaining preserves over the remaining walnut-chocolate layer. Place the walnut-chocolate layer, preserves side down, on top of the cream filling.
- You should have the following layers, starting at the bottom: walnut-chocolate, preserves, cream, meringue, cream, meringue, cream, preserves, walnut-chocolate.
- For the icing, melt the chocolate and shortening in the water in the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water.
- Spread the top and sides of the cake with warm chocolate icing. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 12.
Wow, made this last night night and had it for desert after lunch today!! So easy to do and my goodness, tasty. I had a similar cake once in Sweden, only it was a banana cake layered with cream, meringue and bananas. Gorrrrrrrgeoussss!!