The most meaningful and amazing gift I got this holiday season was this book of recipes that used to belong to my grandmother Clarissa (the one who gave her name to this blog):
It was very hard to be a good cook in the Soviet Union because finding ingredients was a heroic feat. And even if you were lucky to find anything, you always had to stick to the same few items. People went out of their way to create inventive recipes and these recipes were treasured and passed from one person to another.
Grandmother Clarissa was a phenomenal cook and she collected all these recipes in a notebook that later passed to my mother. And now my mother gave it to me. Grandmother’s main area of cooking expertise was baking. She baked a new cake every week-end and they were invariably beautiful.
I also love to cook but one thing I never do is bake. I don’t like baked goods, and I believe that the best dessert one can have is a piece of sausage. N., on the other hand, loves desserts and is especially partial to cakes. So I told him that this year I will make a resolution to make every single recipe from Grandmother Clarissa’s recipe book. N. was so happy that he had tears in his eyes although I warned him that I can’t promise these desserts will start coming out right soon.
So here is the very first cake from Grandmother Clarissa’s book that I just baked. It’s called “A Black Man’s Kiss.” Don’t blame me, blame the Soviet people for the strange names of these desserts.
All of the elements tasted well separately. Now the cake will stand for 12 hours, and I will tell you how it tastes.
The recipe is under the fold.
2 eggs, 1 cup of kefir, 2 cups of sugar = mix them all well together
1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of cocoa, 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil = add to the mix and mix very well
2 cups of flour = add to the mix and mix well to create batter
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Take the cake out, let it cool down and cut it horizontally in two. Place filling (100g of butter + dulce de leche*) between the two halves of the cake.
Cover the cake with glaze (3 tablespoons of sour cream, 3 table spoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cocoa).
Decorate it with whatever you prefer and let it stand for several hours (12 is best).
* Dulce de leche is created by boiling a can of condensed milk. This was the most popular Soviet dessert and I was stunned to discover that it is also widely used in Latin America and even has a name of it own there.