This popular classic Farmer’s Cheese Breakfast Cake is a favorite of Russian cuisine menu. Zapekanka has a creamy, cheesy and delicious flavor and texture. There is nothing better than this simple cheesecake; a true morning delight that can be made the night before.
Originally Zapekanka is made with tvorog (Farmer's cheese), but I usually make it with my homemade Ricotta cheese.
There are many variations of Zapekanka …… here is my recipe for a perfect one, which tastes like an Italian Cannoli Cheesecake and looks like a Panettone.
• 2 1/2 cups whole milk Farmer’s cheese or well drained Ricotta
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
• 1/2 cup sour cream mixed with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
• Zest of 1 large orange or lemon
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon of Fiori de Sicilia* extract
• 2 heaping tablespoons semolina (Cream of Wheat, Farina)
• About 1/4 cup of each: chopped candied orange or other citrus peel, mini chocolate chips and chopped dried berries or fruit soaked in rum or brandy
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9-by 5-inches loaf pan; then line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper also.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light, fluffy and pale yellow, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In another large bowl whisk Farmer’s cheese or Ricotta, salt, sour cream mixture, orange zest and vanilla until very smooth and well combined.
Slowly add the egg and sugar mixture until fully incorporated; then mix in the semolina. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the candied citrus peel, mini chocolate chips and the soaked and drained fruit or berries.
Let the batter rest for about 20 to 30 minutes. This step allows the semolina to absorb the excess moisture and swell in the batter.
Evenly spread the batter in the prepared loaf pan, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and doesn't jiggle in the center.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes on a wire rack. Then run a paring knife around the edges and carefully invert to a serving platter.
* An Italian favorite, Fiori di Sicilia is excellent in sweet dishes that allow the complex flavor and aroma to truly shine. The dominant flavors in Fiori di Sicilia are vanilla and orange, so a combination of those two make a fine substitute. Also a little rose flower water, if you can find some of that, will make up for some of the floral aromas.