About the Cake
Food Science vs. Legends
According to the legend, egg whites were left overnight at room temperature. In the case of contamination, it could’ve increased the risk of food-borne illness. They should’ve been discarded, not used for inventing a new cake. Most likely, they were not spoiled, they were aged. In the professional world of baking and pastry arts, the process of keeping separated egg whites at room temperature (for a few hours) or refrigerated (for a few days) is called aging. It is done in a clean closed container. Aged egg whites contain less moisture and become more alkaline, which helps to unwind the proteins and whip them into a more stable and dense foam.
Soviet vs. European Terms
Kiev cake sponge layers are very similar to a drier dacquoise. In fact, modern mass production of Kiev cake is made with a very dry dacquoise that tastes almost like a crunchy meringue. If you aim to reproduce the dry version of the dacquoise, reduce the temperature to 250F and bake for 2 hours. The temperature 275F and 1.5 hours of baking make a softer dacquoise. The buttercream-like filling has a name Charlotte. It’s a Soviet buttercream based on milk and egg-sugar syrup. A slice of this cake for breakfast will keep you running the whole day. It has generous amounts of protein, fat, and sugar. This cake is a treat with a cup of strong black coffee or black tea.
If making a cake with additional layers of thin sponge on the top and the bottom, follow this recipe. For four layers of dacquoise double the recipe below.
- 200 g egg whites 5-6 eggs
- 235 g sugar fine
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 50 g cake flour
- 80 g almond meal chopped
- 75 g cashew chopped
for Charlotte cream
- 200 g sugar
- 5 each egg yolks
- 150 g milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 250 g butter
- 1 tbsp cognac
- 10 g cocoa powder Valrohna
- Preheat oven to 275F/135C. Draw 8" circles on the parchment paper and line two baking sheets.
- If raw, roast hazelnuts and cashews (single layer, baking sheet) in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool down to room temperature. Chop the nuts to peppercorn size pieces.
- Combine room temperature egg whites, fine sugar, and vanilla seeds or vanilla extract. Whip a medium-stiff meringue.
- Combine cake flour and chopped nuts. Fold mixed dry ingredients into a meringue.
- Divide the batter into two portions and evenly spread each portion inside the 8" circles on the parchment paper. This step is easier to complete using a piping bag with 0.5" round tip. Bake for 1.5 hours. The meringue layers are done when dry outside and cream-colored. They will be slightly soft to touch, which will change after the resting at room temperature.
for Charlotte cream
- In a saucepan, whisk milk, egg yolks, vanilla seeds, corn starch, and sugar to mix them well. Constantly whisking, bring the mixture to 180F/82C. Turn heat off and let it cool down, whisking. This pastry cream should be relatively thick.
- Soften cubed butter at room temperature. Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, whip the butter until fluffy and almost white. It'll take a few minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time. Gradually add cooled pastry cream and whip the mixture into a buttercream.
- Separate 1/3 of whipped cream. Add cocoa powder and whip a chocolate cream.
- Add cognac to the rest of the cream and whip.
for assembling the cake
- After resting the meringues, peel paper from their bottoms. Cut of drier sides to make them perfect cylinders. Reserve the crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of the cream for decoration. Make a 3/4" layer of white cream on one meringue and cover it with the second meringue. Cover top and sides of the cake with chocolate cream. Press the crumbs into the sides of the cake. Decorate the top with reserved cream.