Like a well-known chocolate ganache, the history of Kyiv Cake starts with a mistake. Legend says that the recipe was created by confectionery factory workers who forgot to put meringue outside, so it became too dry. To make up for the accident, they covered the cake with a butter cream (because everything becomes better with butter, probably they were inspired by French cusine). After that, Kyiv Cake in a rich wrapping with printed ribbons started appearing on family tables for special celebrations, being the most expected guest of my childhood. Like the appearance, it has solemn crunchy buttery texture inside. To emphasize it I recommend using cashew nuts (instead of the usual hazelnut). It is just the thing for people with sweet tooth. This cake has also become the most popular item among our guests and staff during Le Borscht project competing for the primacy with his majesty soup!
For meringue biscuits
- 6 egg whites
- 50 gr. sugar (1)
- 225 gr. sugar (2)
- Vanilla Bean
- 50 gr. flour
- 175 gr. cashew nuts
For the cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 150 gr. sugar (1)
- 175 gr. milk
- 275 gr. butter
- 10 gr. sugar (2)
- 1 tbsp of cognac
- 10 gr. dark cocoa powder
- Separate the whites from the yolks.
- Preheat the oven to 150 C and roast the cashew nuts for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can also simply use roasted unsalted nuts)
- Grind roasted cashews into crumbs.
- Combine prepared nuts, sugar (2) and sifted flour. Grind ½ of the vanilla bean and add that in.
- Put egg whites in a bowl and start beating with a mixer on low speed, gradually increasing it to medium.
- Add sugar (1) slowly and continue beating.
- Beat the meringue until it becomes smooth and shiny. Make sure that the whisk leaves distinct marks on the surface and the meringue holds its shape when forming small peaks.
- Pour dry ingredients into whites and gently fold the mixture with a spatula until smooth.
- In rings with a diameter of 18 cm, the main cake layers will be baked. In a ring of a smaller diameter (14 cm) we will bake a separate cake, from which we will make crumbs to decorate the cake. You can also use foil and saucepan with right diameter to make disposable rings.
- Spread the dough, distribute it inside the ring and put it in the oven that is preheated to 150 C, immediately reduce the heat to 120 C and turn on the “convection” mode.
- Bake (dry) biscuits for about 1,5 hours to achieve a nougat-like texture inside. If you prefer a drier middle, leave for 2-2.5 hours.
- When the cakes are baked, let them stay in the oven for a while after turning it off, and then take out and let them cool slightly.
- Carefully release the cakes from the molds with a knife. In order for the cakes to acquire a drier and crispier structure, it is recommended to keep them in a room for 12 hours to a day.
- From the small biscuit make the crumbs for decoration (make sure to leave chunkier pieces).
- Prepare cream charlotte on the yolks.
- Pour milk, sugar and ½ vanilla bean into a thick-bottomed saucepan. Bring almost to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Add the yolks in a bowl one by one, stirring constantly. Add the hot milk syrup.
- Return the mixture to the heat, and on low heat bring to a thickening, stirring vigorously. You should get the consistency of a thin condensed milk.
- Pour into another container. Cover the cream with a film in contact and leave to cool at room temperature.
- Beat soft butter at room temperature with sugar (2) to a white color. Without interrupting the beating, add in small portions the custard base that has cooled to room temperature. Cream charlotte is ready.
- Divide the cream in half. Add cognac to one part, cocoa to the other and beat a little with a mixer until smooth.
- Build a cake putting white cream between layers and brown one on top. Cover sides with it also. Use a spatula to make the layers flat. Put into refrigerator for a while, then cover sides with the crumbs.
If you want to have fun you can leave some cream and decorate the cake with roses which are iconic for this dessert or leave it more modern. With that circle shape, brown cream on top and sweet sharp spikes on the sides it reminds me of a chestnut – the symbol of Kyiv.