Monday, July 2, 2012

Grated Cake With Jam

Most of my childhood fell on the 1980s. There was a time in the Soviet Union when we didn't have much of anything - what with the perestroika, rationing and long lines. And forget fancy ingredients such as shredded coconut, chocolate chips or cream cheese - we hadn't even heard of those. Most of the home baking was done using simple ingredients such as butter, sugar and eggs.

I now know that simple is not always bad. One such example is this "grated" cake. The dough for it is grated on a grater to give it texture, hence the name. Margarine was used liberally back then, but this version has all butter.

For a few years my family lived in Russia's Far East - the place of sparse vegetation and not exactly an abundance of fruit... The two types of berries that we did have in the tundra were wild blueberries and  brusnika. The dictionary offers a whole variety of English translations for brusnika, and as I do not know which one is correct, feel free to pick one. The berries are small, bright red, very tart and wonderfully juicy, popping in your mouth. The jam made from it nicely balances against the sweet shortbread.

Alas, finding brusnika jam does not seem possible in the US. I thought cranberry should be a good substitute. I've found this jelly at the store - raspberry and cranberry, and indeed it works beautifully.

Grated Cake With Jam

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup jelly or jam, preferably tart
powdered sugar for dusting

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add egg yolks, mixing after each addition. Add the flour mixture and vanilla; mix just until combined.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. You can also freeze the dough for half an hour. The idea is for it to be firm enough for grating.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a round 9 inch pan. Grate half the dough through the largest wholes of the grater into the pan. Press slightly, spread jelly on top. Grate the rest of the dough on top of the jelly. Bake about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pan, dust with powdered sugar.


  1. 'Brusnika' in english is lingonberry. I found lingonberry jam in Ikea. Pretty sure there are some other places you can find it, there are plenty of them on amazon

  2. I have a similar recipe on my latest post. I'm sure it delicous :)
    Your photos is perfect!

  3. youve got a beautiful blog here, fantastic pictures! I've nominated you for the versatile blogger awards, as your blog continues to impress me.

  4. nice posting. thanks for sharing

  5. Hi Alina;
    I am from Turkey and living in the States, this my childhood pie. I was looking for the recipe for dough!...
    only difference filling we cook diced apples with sugar and cinnamon then add some toasted chopped walnuts.
    I will try it with jam cranberry is a great choise.
    Thank You....


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