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Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache

A Russian Sour Cream Layer Cake


What is my favourite cake? This is my favourite cake and for many very special reasons to me.

This is a Russian cake which I learned to know when I met my boyfriend. It was his birthday and I asked him what cake would he like and from all of my cakes he could have chosen, he wanted this cake Mishka na Severe (Bear in the North), that is how it is called in Russian. I must admit I was a little upset and thought what could be this cake that beats all my cakes :D But the real reason was more about the childhood memories of this cake he had and the fact that he always asked for this cake since then, but he never got it made for him. I am not a big fan of Russian cakes, but I decided to make it for him and so I found a recipe that looked decent and made the cake. He loved it and that was the most important thing for me :) But..Yes, there is a but :D I wasn´t happy, as to me the cake was too dry and the chocolate topping that was suggested in the recipe didn´t go with the rest of the cake at all. So then I tried so many other recipes until I just gave up trying and decided to make my own recipe.

Making my own version of this cake wasn´t very easy as I don´t typically make cakes like these and so don´t have much experience of what I can substitute and what result will that give. That means it was also some trial and error with my own recipe until I got here. Now when I think back to it, it was probably the most work I have put into creating a recipe, but it was definitely worth each minute! The cake is so delicious, the thin cake layers are super soft from soaking up the sour cream filling, the walnuts add a great taste and crunch and the milk chocolate ganache makes it all come together :) Could I be more happy about this recipe? I don´t think so :) I am just going to add that I was planning to freeze half of the cake for later, but you know what? There was none left for later :D And we are just the two of us, so, it was that good! :)

Since I mentioned freezing, I can assure you that you can freeze it and that will not affect the cake, so it tastes still great. I have done it previously and it did defrost great without the defrosting affecting the cake taste or structure. Just make sure to freeze in an airtight container.

I caannot wait to hear your thoughts on this cake, please write me a couple of lines in the comment section below :)


Happy Baking lovelies!


Step by Step Video


Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache

A Russian Sour Cream Layer Cake


  • 55g butter

  • 200g smetana / sour cream (18% fat)

  • 100g sugar


  • 230g flour

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • 12g cacao powder


  • 800g smetana / sour cream (18% fat)

  • 100g sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla paste / extract

  • 200g walnuts


  • 200g good quality milk chocolate

  • 100g whipping cream

  • 30-40g walnuts


  1. Melt the butter and allow it to cool.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk the cooled butter with the smetana and sugar until well combined.

  3. In a small bowl measure the flour and then remove 12g into a separate bowl. Add the baking soda to the rest of the flour and sieve the flour into a second bowl. This helps you to ensure there will be no lumps in the batter.

  4. Add about a third of the flour into the wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Then add another third and continue whisking. If you notice it is very hard to mix the batter with a whisk, swap to a spatula and continue mixing with a spatula. Alternatively you can also mix with your hands.

  5. Once you have added all of the flour, weigh the batter and divide it into two even parts. To one part add the 12g of flour and mix until combined. To the other add 12g cacao powder and mix until combined.

  6. Divide both the light batter and the chocolate batter into 3 even pieces. Once I started rolling the batter I ended with 4 white and 4 chocolate cake layers.

  7. You want to roll out the dough directly on what you will be baking it on as you won´t be able to lift it once it has been rolled out. You can either use a heat proof silicone mat or parchment paper. Dust the surface well and roll out using a rolling pin with 2mm silicone rings at both ends. This allows you to roll out the batter evenly. If you don´t have such a rolling pin available, divide both batters into 4 even pieces to ensure the same results.

  8. Cut out 18cm cake layers out of the rolled out batter with a cake circle or a plate, pierce the surface well with a fork and bake for 8-9 minutes in 200°C bottom top heat.

  9. Allow the cake layers to cool completely, before proceeding to construct the cake.

  10. Crush walnuts in a blender or with a mortar and pestle until you have a fine crumb.

  11. In a medium bowl combine the smetana with the sugar and vanilla paste.

  12. To construct the cake take one cake layer and place a cake ring around it tight. Add about five tablespoons of the sour cream filling so that the cake layer is just covered and once you smoothen the filling you can see no cake layer peaking through. If you notice some of the filling is leaking out, that happened to me too, it will however be just that little that will leak and there is nothing to worry about. Then add some crushed walnuts on top and repeat with the rest of the layers. You want to vary the cake layers so that you have one layer of light cake and then a cacao layer (see the photo above). Cover the finished cake with cling film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

  13. To make the ganache, chop the milk chocolate into small pieces and add to a medium heat proof bowl along with the whipping cream. Heat the chocolate with the cream in a microwave in short 15 second intervals until the chocolate has completely melted. Alternatively you can do this over a hot water bath. Leave to cool until the chocolate ganache is spreadable consistency. This can take from one to two hours or longer depending on the climate you are in. You want to come back and check on the ganache once in a while so it doesn´t harden too much. You can also chill it in the fridge but then you will need to watch it closer as the cooling process is much faster in this case. (See video)

  14. Cover the cake with chocolate ganache and decorate with walnuts. (See video)


TIP. This cake can be frozen for later. I would suggest to cut the cake into serving sized pieces and then freeze in an airtight container. Once defrosting allow to defrost in room temperature for an hour or as long as it needs to become soft. You can check if the cake feels very cold then it is probably not defrosted yet.

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