Classic Recipe: Prague Cake

Classic Recipe: Prague Cake

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Biscuit base for the Prague cake

In the article:

When someone tells you that the delicious Prague cake is quite easy to bake, they’re not lying to you. It really is very simple to make—but the question is whether you’ll get the very classic cake that was served in restaurants and then could not be found during the Soviet period. Chances are, you probably will not. At home you can easily cook different variations of the Prague cake, but the classic recipe is rather difficult to fulfill on your own.

Despite the reference in its name, this cake has nothing to do with the Czech Republic. This famous chocolate dessert was actually invented by Soviet confectioner Vladimir Guralnik, who was the pastry chef of the renowned Praga (Prague) Restaurant in central Moscow in the 1970s. The restaurant embodied the pinnacle of Soviet glamor, while also becoming the country’s top culinary laboratory. The “Prague” cake was among its most famous creations.

Prague cake

The main secret of this creamy, luscious cake is the syrup which is added to the chocolate fudge. Moreover, the original recipe also includes the French liqueur “Benedictine” (a monastic beverage made of lots of spicy herbs and honey), which is not always easy to locate in stores. There are also four kinds of cream in the cake when it was first created, but with changes to the recipe over time, you now only have to incorporate one type of cream. The layers in the cake are biscuits that are dipped in rum and smeared with apricot jam.

Do you still want to cook the original Prague cake? Then, we’ve prepared the classic recipe for you, with a bit of a modern twist!

Biscuit base for the Prague cake

The amount of ingredients are given as they were in the original recipe. You’ll need to use scales and measuring cups to correctly measure the correct amount of each ingredient, especially the sugar. Here is the recipe for the classic Prague cake biscuit base:

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Ingredients:

  • patent wheat flour – 4 oz;
  • butter (not margarine) – 2.5 tbsp;
  • sugar – 5.3 oz;
  • cocoa powder – 1.5 tbsp;
  • eggs – 6

Using these ingredients we will get a 17 oz biscuit base.

Directions:

  • Using the eggs, separate the whites from the yolks.
  • Divide the sugar into two equal parts.
  • Mix the flour with the cocoa powder and sift it.
  • Leave the butter at room temperature for long enough for it to soften.
  • Next, whip the yolk with one part of the sugar.
  • Stir thoroughly until all the sugar melts and the yolk mixture becomes light and puffy.
  • Then whip the whites until the whisk or the mixer leaves a  clear trace.
  • Mix the second part of the sugar into the whites and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Biscuit base for the Prague cake

  • Add the whites into the yolks carefully by first adding a third of the whites into the mixture then the rest.
  •  Then, warm the butter and add it into the egg mixture.
  •  Add the flour and cocoa powder to the egg mixture.  Mix carefully, but quickly in order not to allow the whites to sink.
  • Then, place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of a round baking dish. Pour the batter into the dish and place it in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes at 200 – 220 degrees.
  • When the biscuit base is ready, leave it to cool in the baking dish for 20 minutes, and then remove from heat and allow it to chill for 8 hours.

After the cake has chilled for 8 hours, you can remove the baking parchment and the top layer from the biscuit base. At this point you should have a round biscuit base with brown, spongy crumb texture.

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Cream for the Prague cake

The classic Prague cake has a special chocolate butter cream which should look like a puffy, brown mixture. It should have an even consistency, glossy shine and keep its shape well. This cream recipe is a bit different from the well-known butter cream recipe with condensed milk:

Ingredients:

  • butter – 7 oz;
  • cocoa powder – 1/2 tbsp;
  • yolk – 1.5 tbsp;
  • whole condensed milk with sugar – 4 oz;
  • water – 1/2 tbsp;
  • vanilla – 1 dash.

chocolate butter cream

Directions:

  • First, create a “water bath” by pouring the water into a deep dish and then placing a smaller dish with cream (which you’ll make in the next step) into it. When the water warms up, it will warm up the dish with the cream as well.
  • Next, mix the yolk with water in equal parts, then add the condensed milk into the mixture and place it into the water bath.
  • Boil the mixture until you get a cream-like consistency.
  • Stir the butter lightly and mix into the boiled mixture in several steps.
  • Lastly, place the cocoa powder into the mixture.

This process usually takes about 20 minutes, which will yield about 12 oz of the Prague cream.

 Chocolate fudge for the Prague cake

It is, perhaps, the most difficult stage of cooking the original Prague cake. But the recipe demands this very chocolate fudge:

Ingredients:

  • sugar – 6 tbsp;
  • water – 1 oz;
  • glucose syrup – 1 tbsp;
  • cocoa powder – 1/2 tbsp;
  • vanilla powder – 3 dashes;
  • fruit extraction – 3 dashes.

Chocolate fudge

This amount of ingredients will yield roughly 4 oz of fudge. But such a small amount of fudge can be difficult to stir up, so it might be best to double the portions of ingredients.

  • Mix the sugar with water and warm the mixture to 108 degrees.
  • In a single dish warm the syrup to 50 degrees as well and add it to the mixture.
  • Then boil the mixture over medium heat until it reaches 115 degrees and then add the fruit extraction into it.
  • Cool the mixture until it is 45 degrees and stir it up with a wooden spoon or a mixer for 20 minutes.
  • Put cocoa and vanilla in just before putting the fudge onto the cake.
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The classic recipe has lot of temperature directions. So, it is best to use a cooking thermometer.

The Prague cake cooking

The original recipe is, of course, difficult to complete at home. But if you have made everything right so far, it’s just a matter of assembling all the parts of the cake and then decorating it.

Ingredients:

  • the biscuit base;
  • the Prague cream;
  • the chocolate fudge;
  • apricot jam or marmalade.

Directions:

  • First, cut the biscuit base into three round parts.
  • Spread the cream onto the bottom part and the middle part of the cake. You’ll eventually spread all the cream on it, but you can leave a couple of spoonfuls for decoration.
  • Spread the thick apricot jam (or marmalade) onto the top part and sides of the cake.
  • Then pour the fudge, which you’ve warmed up to 50 degrees, over the cake.
  • If you want, you can decorate the cake with the rest of the cream and chocolate chips.

Prague cake recipe

And that’s the classic recipe for the famed Prague cake! It’s a legend of Soviet cuisine and it is still popular in all its variations. We wish you much success in baking this and we hope that you enjoy this delicious classic Prague cake!

P.S.: As a source of this article, we used the real notes of a Soviet cooking student that were written in the 1980s.

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