Holiday Cake

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

With this cake I am paying homage to the authentic Russian or Ukrainian cakes. According to my mom who shared this recipe with me, this was the most popular cake back in the day. It has several components to it, but they all come together beautifully and even collect many many compliments as the pieces go around the table. Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

The cake is very similar to the Markiza cake with the differences being that this cake has a layer of plum butter underneath the meringue, which offsets the sweetness of the cake, and the buttercream in the Holiday Cake is made with custard instead of condensed milk.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

If you’re making this cake for a party, I would double the recipe and bake it in a rectangular baking sheet – it is always easier to cut the cake into squares than wedges when serving a big crowd.
Lastly, I would like to wish you God’s blessings, happiness and joy as you spend this holiday season with your families or friends!
Merry Christmas Friends!

Holiday Cake 

Yield: 9 inch cake
(For 12 inch cake, double the recipe)

Ingredients: 

250 grams of unsalted butter or Crisco shortening, room temperature
2 Tbsp sour cream
3 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda + 1 Tbsp vinegar

Meringue 
3 egg whites
1 cups sugar, granulated

Custard Buttercream 
2 (450 ml) cups whole milk
3 Tbsp flour
4 egg yolks
2 sticks (230 gr) butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Also: 
1 1/2 cups plum butter, warmed (I get it at the local Russian store, or on Amazon (affiliate)-  http://amzn.to/2ihjmm3 )
1 cups walnuts, chopped + 1/2 cup chopped walnuts for decorating the sides of the cake

How to make the Holiday Cake 

Turn the oven to 350F with the wire rack set in the middle.
Get all ingredients measured and ready.

Combine baking soda and vinegar in a cup and stir until the foam subsides.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Cream 250 grams of butter or Crisco for about a minute. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, sour cream and the baking soda+ vinegar mixture to the butter and whisk together for another two minutes. Add 2 cups flour and mix with hands or the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Add another half a cup and knead it in.
Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Once the dough has been in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, start making the meringue.

Make the meringue for the Holiday Cake 
Add egg whites to a thoroughly cleaned bowl, make sure it’s grease free or the egg whites will not properly whip up.
Whip for about 30-40 seconds on high speed. Now start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time and whip for 5-7 minutes on high until very thick and glossy.

Bake the Cake Layers

Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Roll the dough ball on the turned upside down baking pan. It is best if the baking pan is larger than 9 inches to allow for the expansion of the meringue, but if not 9 inch baking pan is ok.
Roll it out by sprinkling some flour on top, or by placing a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
If you have more than one baking pan, you can fit up to 3 of them in the oven at once.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Spread 1/4 cup plum butter on top of the rolled out dough. Then top with about 1/2 cup of the whipped meringue and sprinkling a couple tablespoons of walnuts on top.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Bake for about 15-22 minutes or until the meringue is dry to the touch. Watch not to burn the walnuts on top. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, until all cake layers are baked.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!Make the Custard for the Buttercream
Heat milk until boiling.
Combine 4 egg yolks, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 cup sugar in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while continuously whisking.  In a separate bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons of flour with about 1/2 a cup of milk until smooth. Now pour it back into the egg/milk mixture and whisk together.

Cook it over medium heat constantly whisking, for about 4-5 minutes past boiling point.
Remove from heat, transfer to a wider dish, cover with plastic wrap touching the custard and cool to room temperature.
Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Whip 2 sticks or 230 grams of room temperature butter for about 3-4 minutes or until drastically increased in volume, white and fluffy. Remember to scrape the bottom of the bowl from to time. Now add the custard in 3 additions, minimally whisking between each addition to prevent the buttercream from curdling.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Assemble the cake
Reserve 1 cup of custard buttercream and set aside.
Pick the best looking cake layer and set it aside, we will use it for the top layer of the cake.
Use the remaining buttercream to layer the cake layers, finishing with the prettiest cake layer. Do not cover the top layer, as it will stay exposed.
Use a serrated knife to trim the sides of the cake, to make it somewhat even.
Use 1 cup of reserved buttercream to frost the sides of the cake. Now press the chopped walnuts to the sides of the cake.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

Combine 3 tablespoons of boiling hot cream with about 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips. Allow to sit for one minute then stir until smooth. Use it to pour down the sides of the cake with a spoon or by filling a ziplock bag with ganache, then snipping the corner and pouring it down the sides that way.

Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

You really do need to wait at least 24-48 hours before cutting into the cake, so this is the perfect make-ahead dessert.

Holiday Cake

5.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Serves: 9 inch cake (For 12 inch cake, double the recipe)

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of unsalted butter or Crisco shortening, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda + 1 Tbsp vinegar

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cups sugar, granulated

Custard Buttercream

  • 2 (450 ml) cups whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 sticks (230 gr) butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Also:

  • 1½ cups plum butter, warmed
  • 1 cups walnuts, chopped + ½ cup chopped walnuts for decorating the sides of the cake

Instructions

How to make the Holiday Cake

  1. Turn the oven to 350F with the wire rack set in the middle.
  2. Get all ingredients measured and ready.
  3. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a cup and stir until the foam subsides.
  4. Cream 250 grams of butter or Crisco for about a minute. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, sour cream and the baking soda+vinegar mixture to the butter and whisk together for another two minutes. Add 2 cups flour and mix with hands or the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Add another half a cup and knead it in.
  5. Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Once the dough has been in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, start making the meringue.

Make the meringue for the Holiday Cake

  1. Add egg whites to a thoroughly cleaned bowl, make sure it's grease free or the egg whites will not properly whip up.
  2. Whip for about 30-40 seconds on high speed. Now start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time and whip for 5-7 minutes on high until very thick and glossy.

Bake the Cake Layers

  1. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.
  2. Roll the dough ball on the turned upside down baking pan. It is best if the baking pan is larger than 9 inches to allow for the expansion of the meringue, but if not 9 inch baking pan is ok.
  3. Roll it out by sprinkling some flour on top, or by placing a piece of plastic wrap to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
  4. If you have more than one baking pan, you can fit up to 3 of them in the oven at once.
  5. Spread ¼ cup plum butter on top of the rolled out dough. Then top with about ½ cup of the whipped meringue and sprinkling a couple tablespoons of walnuts on top.
  6. Bake for about 15-22 minutes or until the meringue is dry to the touch. Watch not to burn the walnuts on top. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, until all cake layers are baked.

Make the Custard for the Buttercream

  1. Heat milk until boiling.
  2. Combine 4 egg yolks, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 cup sugar in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while continuously whisking. In a separate bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons of flour with about ½ a cup of milk until smooth. Now pour it back into the egg/milk mixture and whisk together.
  4. Cook it over medium heat constantly whisking, for about 4-5 minutes past boiling point.
  5. Remove from heat, transfer to a wider dish, cover with plastic wrap touching the custard and cool to room temperature.
  6. Whip 2 sticks or 230 grams of room temperature butter for about 3-4 minutes or until drastically increased in volume, white and fluffy. Remember to scrape the bottom of the bowl from to time. Now add the custard in 3 additions, minimally whisking between each addition to prevent the buttercream from curdling.

Assemble the cake

  1. Reserve 1 cup of custard buttercream and set aside.
  2. Pick the best looking cake layer and set it aside, we will use it for the top layer of the cake.
  3. Use the remaining buttercream to layer the cake layers, finishing with the prettiest cake layer. Do not cover the top layer, as it will stay exposed.
  4. Use a serrated knife to trim the sides of the cake, to make it somewhat even.
  5. Use 1 cup of reserved buttercream to frost the sides of the cake. Now press the chopped walnuts to the sides of the cake.
  6. Combine 3 tablespoons of boiling hot cream with about 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips. Allow to sit for one minute then stir until smooth. Use it to pour down the sides of the cake with a spoon or by filling a ziplock bag with ganache, then snipping the corner and pouring it down the sides that way.

Notes

You really do need to wait at least 24-48 hours before cutting into the cake, so this is the perfect make-ahead dessert.

Bon Appetit & Happy Pinning

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Holiday Cake - Shortbread Cake layers lined topped with plum butter, walnuts, meringue, and Custard Buttercream | by Let the Baking Begin!

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Comments

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  • Veronica

    “Combine baking soda and baking powder in a cup and stir until the foam subsides.” I am confused about this sentence because I didn’t see baking powder on the ingredients lists? I assume it is the baking soda and the vinegar mix together until the foam subsides? also, do I add it to the flour mixture? I didn’t see how you deal with this after it gets foam subsides? Thank you!

    · Reply
    • Hi Veronica, good eye! I changed the instructions to reflect the correct ingredients.

      · Reply
      • Olga

        Can you please change the print instructions also? I printed a new copy, and realized that hasn’t been changed….

        Thanks

        · Reply
  • Love this cake, Marina and love your family photo even more!! Your girls are gorgeous!! Merry Christmas, my friend!

    · Reply
  • Alena

    Can you please share what plum butter you use.

    · Reply
  • Lucy

    Looks heavenly
    Girl I bought prune butter , is it the same thing as plum butter?
    Thanks for all the great recipes!!

    · Reply
  • Lucy

    Hi Marina,
    Finally baked this cake, very yummy!!
    I have couple questions, first do you put any sugar at all in the dough? It feels like it needs some sugar.
    And second my dough when baked is very soft and crumbly. Is that how it’s supposed to be?
    Please can you get back to me asap,
    I want to bake this cake for Easter.
    Thank you Hun for everything, Gods blessings!!

    · Reply
    • Hi Lucy,
      There’s no sugar in the dough because it is covered with meringue that has lots of sugar to compensate. The dough is very soft and crumbly and that is how this cake is supposed to be. It you want the cake to be sweeter, do try the Markiza cake I posted a little after this recipe and just put a layer of plum butter between the meringue and the cake to have similar flavor profile. Because the frosting is made with condensed milk and butter it is a lot sweeter than this cream and I think you might like it more.
      Markiza cake recipe – https://letthebakingbeginblog.com/2016/12/markiza-cake-marquise-cake/
      And thank you for using my recipe Lucy! Be blessed and happy Easter to you and your family!

      · Reply

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