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December 13, 2022

In Russia, my grandmother used sour cream to make the frosting, because there was no such thing as heavy cream. My mom uses heavy cream now but part of me wonders what the flavor was like with sour cream.

The layers for the cake can be made up to a week in advance. Keep them covered with a plastic bag.

Assemble the cake at least a day in advance and keep it out of the fridge for at least a couple of hours right after assembling and before serving so that it has time to set and become moist with the frosting.


For the cake

  • 4eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1cup honey
  • Zest of two oranges
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 3 ½cups flour (adjust as needed)

For the frosting

  • 2-3cups heavy cream
  • 3-4Tbsp sugar (use less or more, depending on how sweet you like your frosting)
  • 1cup walnuts, cut into pieces


To make the cake

  • Step 1

    Separate egg yolks and egg whites and divide the sugar into two equal portions.

  • Step 2

    Beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture turns pale and increases in volume.

  • Step 3

    In a different bowl beat the egg whites until they foam. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed.

  • Step 4

    Combine the yolk and the white mixtures, Add honey and orange zest.

  • Step 5

    Dissolve baking soda in vinegar and add to the batter.

  • Step 6

    Gradually add the flour. Adjust the amount as needed: The result has to be something between batter and dough. Not liquid-y but sticky and spreadable, and not thick enough to be rolled.

  • Step 7

    Prepare a steam bath. Boil water in a big pot and put the bowl with dough on top, covered. Leave it there for at least 2 hours.

  • Step 8

    Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with butter, and spread a thin layer (about 3 Tbsp) of batter onto the pan using your hand. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool until firm enough to remove. Repeat until you have used all the cake batter. You will have 8-11 cake layers. Be careful not to put hot cake layers on top of each other. You can stack them together once they’re cool.

  • Step 9

    Choose the least pretty of your cake layers and break it into crumbs. You will need it for decoration.

To make frosting and assemble the cake

  • Step 1

    Beat the heavy cream with sugar.

  • Step 2

    Generously cover each cake layer with the whipped cream frosting and sprinkle with walnuts. Cover the top layer even more generously with frosting and use an offset spatula to completely cover the sides of the cake as well. Cover the top of the cake completely with walnut pieces. Using the spatula, cover the sides with the crumbs made from the broken cake layer.

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