This Markiza Cake is a classic Ukrainian cake made with
layers of shortbread, meringue and walnuts in between a smooth and creamy buttercream
Cream together the 9 oz butter or margarine until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides several times. Add 5 egg yolks 2 at a time, creaming in between each addition. Add 3 tbsp of sour cream, vanilla, and the 1 tsp baking soda and the 1 tbsp vinegar mixture and cream until combined. Add 2 1/2 cups flour in two additions and mix until the dough forms.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, cover refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hrs.
25 minutes before you're ready to roll out the dough, start making the meringue.
Make sure the bowl and whisk are impeccably clean and grease-free. While separating the egg whites from egg yolks, make sure no egg yolk and no traces of grease or egg yolk have gotten into the egg white, or it will not whip up.
Add 5 egg whites to a mixer bowl and with a whisk attachment whip for about 30 seconds on high speed, then add 1 1/2 cups sugar in 4 additions while continuing to whip. Continue whipping the meringue for about 20 minutes or until the egg whites are increased in volume drastically and look very glossy white.
Preheat oven to 350F, with the baking rack in the middle.
Turn a 12"x18" baking sheet over and place it on a damp rag to prevent it from moving. Work with one dough ball at a time. Roll it out thinly on the back of a baking sheet. Try to go over the edges. Now scrape the uneven edges off with a knife, then add scraps to the middle of the rolled out cake and roll them flat.
Place about 1.5 cups of the whipped meringue on top and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts on top and place into the oven to bake.
Bake for about 15 -20 minutes at 350°F or until the meringue is dry and the bottom (the cake layer) is golden in color. Remove to a cooling rack, or to a flat piece of foil placed on the table. If you have two baking sheets, you can start rolling one layer out, while the other one is still baking.
Repeat the above steps with the remaining pieces of the dough.
While the layers are baking, you can make the sweetened condensed milk cream.
With a mixer, whip room temperature butter for about 5 minutes or until it is very fluffy and pale in color. Scrape the bowl several times throughout the process. Now, while continuing to whip, pour the condensed milk down the side of the bowl. Minimally whip to avoid the buttercream from separating.
Once you have all of your layers baked and completely cooled, start layering the cake with cream. Add a dab of frosting to a platter and place the first layer of cake on top pressing to adhere.
Layer the rest of the cake with bottlayers om side up, this will make it easy to spread the cream. Top each layer with 1 ½ - 2 cups of frosting
Top each cake layer with about 1.5-2 cups of frosting and spread it around into a thin layer.
If you would like to decorate the top with buttercream and make the intricate design like you see in the pictures, you need to put the last cake layer meringue side down. Otherwise, you can leave the meringue up and make it serve the purpose of your 'decoration', like we did in the Holiday Cake.
Split the cake into two equal parts down the middle and stack them on top of each other gluing them with some buttercream. Now your cake has 6 layers, instead of 3.
If you would like the intricate latice design on top, you will need to make additional buttercream with 8 oz of butter (2 sticks) and 1 can sweetened condensed milk, by following the same directions on how to make the Russian Buttercream as above.
Fill a piping bag with about 2 cups of frosting, pipe a border all around the top of the cake. Then make a lattice pattern like you see on the pictures. Using the same piping tip, pipe a little star inside each square and top with a sugar bead.
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