Russian Friday – Torte “Phoenix”

I may have my moments in the kitchen, but when it comes to being on the road – I am one of the contributors to the female driver stereotype. You know, San Francisco has lots of cars and lots of people, and a stop-light camera ticket would cost you $500!  They would also send you a letter with a photo of your car, license plate number, picture of you behind the wheel, and a picture of a to-go Starbucks cup in your hand… These roads can make anyone paranoid! 

So, every time I go by a speed limit signal, I have a strong feeling I must slow down, and I do… even when I’m passing a 45 mile/hr sign while jogging… barely making 12 minute miles… Better safe than sorry, you know…

After all this stress and “hard” work a little dessert is always welcome. This Russian torte has all the right ingredients – sugar, chocolate, nuts, sugar…, whipped cream, and a magic name.  It will easily impress your guests, and it tastes best when made a day or two before serving.

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  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted twice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar


  • 130 g sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 1 tbs cognac


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cup whipping cream, chilled
  • 1.5 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 20 g gelatin


  • ½ cup chocolate sauce /I used my favorite Fudge is my Life’s Dark Chocolate Sauce/
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350⁰F/180⁰C. Spray baking pan with removable borders with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Make the batter. Mix egg yolks and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until the foam is 3 times its original volume and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat them with a clean whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form when the whisk is lifted.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a rubber spatula in 2 or 3 additions. Scatter all flour, vanilla, and salt over the batter and fold it just long enough to blend the flour evenly.

Bake.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bakefor 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. When finished baking, remove from the pan immediately, peel off the parchment paper, and let cool on a wire rack for 6-8 hours (otherwise the torte will not absorb the syrup properly and will become soggy).  Cut the cake lengthwise to separate it into two disks.

Prepare the syrup.  Pour water and sugar in a small sauce pan, bring to boil and turn off the heat immediately.  Whisk so that the sugar completely dissolves. Let the syrup chill to about 37⁰C/98⁰F.  Add the cognac and mix well. Apply the syrup evenly on each half of the cake.

Prepare the filling.  Mix gelatin with the milk and let rest for about 1 hr.  Bring the mixture to boil and immediately take off the heat.  Gelatin should be completely dissolved.  Chill the mixing bowl and whisk before making the cream.  Pour cream into the bowl and mix on medium speed of a stand mixer until thickened.  Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and whisk on high speed until the cream forms medium peaks. Pour the gelatin mixture over it to stabilize. Place one of the cake disks back into the baking pan, pour the filling over it, and cover with the second cake disk.  Cover and refrigerate for the filling to set for about 2 hours.

Prepare the sauce according to the container instructions. Spoon it over the cake and sprinkle with walnuts.  Keep the cake refrigerated before serving.

I wonder why my jogging isn’t paying off!?

Russian Friday – Raspberry Cake

I don’t know about you, but I’m in constant search for reasons (or… rather excuses) to eat carbs.  The husband provided a solid justification today when he emailed this article about San Francisco. My favorite line:  “walking uphill, both ways, all the time, always”. So, clearly, just because we are living here, we are covered as far as the workouts go, so this cake should be absolutely guilt-free!  Come visit our beautiful city, and you can make this cake for yourself!

The recipe was inspired by a few jars of last-year’s raspberry jam and one of my favorite Russian bloggers, Natasha.  She is the master of biskvit (the Russian version of sponge cake).

Print this recipe




  • 8 eggs, whites and yolks divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar


  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 4 tbs raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord)


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz /225 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 pckg raspberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

1/2 pint fresh raspberries


Preheat the oven to 350⁰ F/175⁰C.

Line two 8.5-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Spray it with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix together sugar and egg yolks, after the sugar has dissolved, whisk in the flour.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites till soft peaks start forming.  Using a spatula gently mix in the egg yolk mixture in the egg whites.

Divide the dough between the baking pans and bake for 18 minutes or until they turn golden.

Remove from the oven.  Place the cakes on a wire rack and gently peel off the parchment paper.

Let the cake cool at the room temperature.

Cook the gelatin.  Dissolve the contents of the package in boiling water and let cool at the room temperature.  Do not use the amount of water recommended by the package, you need a firmer substance than what’s suggested.

Make the frosting by mixing all its ingredients

Make the syrup by mixing the liqueur and jam together

Once the cakes are cool, place one of them on the cake tray.  Brush with half of the syrup.  Apply half of the frosting, and repeat the layers. Place fresh raspberries on top of the cake making a tight circle and refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes.

After the frosting is chilled, apply the gelatin one layer at a time.  Spoon a thin layer of jelly over the top of the cake, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.  After the first layer of jelly is set, repeat with more layers until jelly is used.


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