Serves a Crowd

Smetannik (Russian Cake with Sour Cream Frosting)

April  7, 2011
Author Notes

I often watch shows on Food Network.
One day on the show “the best thing I ever ate” (desserts) chef Alex Guarnaschelli was describing a sour cream cake “Smetannik” with great excitement and admiration.
Alex said that she had this cake in a bakery in Brooklyn, and even took a large piece home.
It was if I remember correctly in the end of 2010.
Since than I wanted to email the recipe to Alex, but didn’t have the “nerve”.
I have this delicious cake recipe and baked it for many years on many occasions.
Here it is the original, and the best one.

  • Serves 10
  • Ingredients for the pastry:
  • • 2 extra large eggs room temperature
  • • ½ cup honey
  • • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • • ½ cup butter (1 stick room temperature)
  • • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • • zest of 1 large lemon
  • For the frosting:
  • • ½ cup butter (1 stick room temperature)
  • • 4 cups sour cream (drained over night in a strainer lined with Cheese cloth)
  • • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • • 1 ½ cups finely grinned toasted walnuts
  • • 2 tablespoons of good dark rum or (even better) 1½ teaspoons pure rum extract.
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine honey, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and baking soda. Put the bowl over a double boiler and gently stir until every thing is completely melted and slightly foamy. Take the bowl of and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, than mix in vanilla, lemon zest and flour 1 cup at the time. When the dough is ready, roll it with your hands to a log, and divide to 9 equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic, and put into refrigerator for ½ an hour.
  2. With a rolling pin rollout each portion to a circle about 9 or 10 inches. Bake on buttered parchment paper in a tart pan with a removable bottom, or turn a cake pan upside down and bake on the top. Check on the crusts, do not let them get to dark, they bake very fast. (6 to 8 minutes)
  3. Frosting: In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add slowly sour cream while continuing beating. When it forms medium picks, fold in the walnuts and rum. Cover 8 layers and the sides of the cake with the frosting. Crash the 9th with a rolling pin and sprinkle the crumbs over the top, or use all 9 layers and finish the cake with a beautiful decoration of chocolate glaze. (Ganache) This cake is best to enjoy the next day after it was prepared. Then keep refrigerated.

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