There’s just several things that I vaguely remember, but very much miss from when I was a kid. I remember that I’ve always loved these cookies, these Cream Horns and these Cake Balls. In Russian they are called Potato because once dipped in the cocoa mixture the outside resembles a dirty potato, how lovely, I know. Back before the fall of the USSR, things in the commercial baking world, they say, were not so bad. The government owned commercial bakeries had some kind of a standard they were to held to and many people that remember good pastries or cakes, usually remember them from that time. Later things changed and quality control was no longer the same. Anyway, Chadeyka of chadeyka.livejournal.com has a wonderful collection of recipes that those commercial bakeries followed under the tag ГОСТ on her blog, you should check it out if that is something you’re interested in. This recipe was directly inspired by her recipe of “Картошка” . Originally, commercial bakeries made these pastries as a utilization of the cake scraps that were left after assembling and decorating cakes. That’s one of the reasons why there’s never going to be any way to make them taste exactly like the commercially made ones. But I think we can come close. Most of the cakes back then, were made with a sponge cake base and Russian buttercream as the filling. Nuts & jams were also added but in very small quantities. So to make these Kartoshka (‘kuh-rtoh-shkuh’) cake balls at home, we are going to follow those general instructions. Read on to see what I did… Cake Balls “Kartoshka” Sponge Cake 6 eggs 1.5 cups flour 1.5 cup sugar 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/8 cup oil 1 Tbsp vanilla extract Russian Buttercream 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (230 grams) 1 can sweetened condensed milk, room temperature Also 2 Tbsp rum or cognac 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped Coating Mixture 3 Tbsp cocoa powder 3 Tbsp powdered sugar OR 6 Tbsp hot cocoa mixture 1.Make the Sponge Cake Whip 6 eggs with a mixer on high speed, in a grease free bowl until frothy. Gradually add the sugar, pouring it between the bowl and the whisk. 2. Continue whipping for 15 minutes until pale in color, thick and flows off the whisk in a ribbon. 3. While the eggs are whipping, turn the oven to 350F. Also line baking pan with foil, then butter the inside. Add heaping spoon of flour and shake the pan to the sides to coat it with flour. Shake out the excess. OR just spray with non stick spray. 4. Add the flour and baking soda mixture, in thirds, carefully folding it in to prevent deflating the batter. 5. Once the flour is fully incorporated, add the oil and the vanilla extract. Fold it in until fully incorporated. 6. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and spread it out evenly. Bake at 350F for 15+ minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 7. Remove the cake with the foil to the counter, carefully unfold the sides and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then invert it onto a rack and allow to cool completely. Russian Buttercream Ingredients: 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (230 grams) 1 can sweetened condensed milk, room temperature 8. While the sponge cake is cooling make the buttercream. Add room temperature butter to the mixer and whip with a whisk on high until white in color and fluffy, about 4 minutes. While continuing to whip, add the sweetened condensed milk by allowing it to flow down the inside of the bowl. If the buttercream starts to look broken, stop the mixer right away and fold the remainder of the sweetened condensed milk with the spatula. This sometimes happens because of different fat content of the butter and the moisture content of the condensed milk, different brands work differently when combined. In this case, it doesn’t matter if it does break. 9. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup nuts. 10. Assmebly Break the cooled cake into small pieces and add it to the buttercream. Also add the cognac. With beater attachment mix everything together until it resembles dough. Add chopped nuts and mix one more time, until nuts are evenly distributed. 11. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of the cake ball mixture and form a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Combine 3 tablespoons cacao powder and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Stir to combine. Alternatively, use hot chocolate mixture.
12. Dip and roll each ball in the mixture. Set aside. Once done, coat each ball in the cocoa mixture one more time. Transfer to a serving platter and serve, or transfer to refrigerator until ready to serve.