Russia 2020

 As we start to return to lockdown here in Cwmbran, we continue to celebrate that races are happening and flour for baking is still available.

We danced around the kitchen making mess, tiredness and Tally's Chocolatey Strawberry Prague Cake.

Prague cake has no relation to The Czech Republic, but was invented in the Prague Hotel in Moscow. Amid communist rule with a people craving to wear jeans and travel, it appears they were allowed to eat chocolate cake.  

We found one blogger who had added raspberry and since Tally was joining me rather than Heidi, we didn't copy, but changed it to strawberry.

For once, we made a cake that rose! It took 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and 8 fluffed egg whites. Anyone might think I was learning how to do this, but I suspect it was more Tally's success than mine. There was even a moment when we thought the cake might touch the top of the oven then ruin.

I thought I understood the recipe so got on with it. Only when nearing the end, checked the recipe realising I hadn't saved the 1/3 of sugar for beating with the egg whites. Adding a little extra seemed to work. Maybe my problems with baking have been all along that I attempted to follow the recipes too closely.

Four layers of cake sponge are sandwiched with a sort of buttercream and strawberry jam, topped with more of the buttercream and decorated to perfection with strawberries and chocolate shavings.

If nothing else was a success, we found a recipe for perfect milk chocolatey goop. Most equivalents have dark chocolate, which is too bitter for the girls. But this will be a go-to from now onwards.

This certainly looks like the best of our baking this year.

All ready to begin

Mixy mixy

Well risen, though maybe not so well mixed

Careful assembly

Decorated in style

It didn't need us to continue adding more chocolate topping and thus the leftovers had to be eaten.

Plenty left for anyone who wants some

For those of you who want to make this for yourselves...



Sponge cake
55g Cocoa Powder
1tsp Instant coffee
180ml Warm water
8 Egg whites
5 Egg yolks (but keep the other 3 for later)
250g Caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons later
1/2 cup Vegetable oil - actually completely forget this by accident, but it doesn't seem to have mattered
250g 'OO' flour (we've still got more left over, and if I don't use  it soon, Tally will request that we make pasta again)
2 tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
A pinch of Salt

For the chocolately goodness
225g unsalted butter You could beat butter and add the rest of 
80ml condensed milk
3 egg yolks (having stored them precariously in an over-full fridge over night)
60ml water
60g Best milk chocolate (Lindt 65% cocoa milk chocolate)

For Filling
Lots of Bonne Mamman strawberry jam

Method for Sponge

  1. Preheat over to Gas Mark 3 - or something in Celcius for any other oven
  2. Grease and line a deep 9inch springform tin
  3. Beat egg yolks and sugar to light colour
  4. Mix water, cocoa and coffee together
  5. Gradually add the cocoa solution to the egg/sugar while beating gently
  6. Sieve in flour, baking powder, soda and salt, stir together
  7. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, adding the extra 2 tablespoons of sugar (because you forgot to leave some of it)
  8. Pause for selfies
  9. Fold in the egg whites with a metal spoon
  10. Bake for ages, nervously uncertain whether it will:
  • Rise at all
  • Ever finish cooking
  • Rise too much, touch the top of the oven and ruin
Method for Chocolately Loveliness

  1. In a saucepan gently heat egg yolks, condensed milk and water, whisking continuously. See it steam, but not boil until thick to the consistency similar to the condensed milk.
  2. Stop the heat and add chocolate immediately, whisking to mix
  3. Leave it to cool
  4. At this point forget anything of the rest of the cake, because just eating the semi-warm chocolate is better than anything else of this recipe. If you do it quietly enough you might get it before Tally realises.
If you ignored the above
  1. You could beat the butter to soft and add the cocolatelyness to make a soft of buttercream, which is quite disappointing having tasted the chocolate sauce
  2. Assemble the cake, cutting into four slices and layering: sponge, jam, sponge, chocoloatelyness, sponge, jam, sponge.
  3. Decorate with strawberries and chocolate shavings


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