The sweetness of childhood: what is the secret of the unforgettable taste of Soviet cakes

For many, the Soviet food industry continues to be a benchmark both in terms of quality and taste. And confectionery products originally from the USSR are no exception. The amazing taste of pastries and cakes turned out to be unforgettable, and many of us still remember it with nostalgia. Novate.ru figured out the secrets of making Soviet confectionery products in order to understand what is the phenomenon of their unique taste.

Confectionery in the USSR was so tasty that they are still remembered today. / Photo: collectionru.com

1. Fairy tale

Photo of the “Fairy Tale” cake in the book “The production of pastries and cakes”, 1976. / Photo: subscribe.ru

This brainchild of Soviet cookery looked like a stump or a forest clearing, dotted with dough and marzipan mushrooms, their cream flowers, and sometimes even hedgehogs. Its cost was 1 ruble 90 kopecks. Among the ingredients of “Fairy Tale” one could find premium flour, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and a small amount of cognac.

Soviet Fairy Tale was made only from natural ingredients. / Photo: postila.ru

A sponge cake for a cake was baked thin and soaked in alcohol syrup, after which the dough was covered with chocolate butter cream and rolled into a roll in the manner of a log. The latter was adapted for 2 variations: birch or pine wood. As for food colors, they, of course, were present, but exclusively natural, plant-based ones were used. So, the yellow color was provided by turmeric or saffron, pink – beets, greens – spinach.

2. Kiev cake

Legendary Soviet cake with an original recipe. / Photo: back-in-ussr.com

“Kiev cake” was created in the USSR a long time ago and quite by accident: the confectioners of the Karl Marx factory, which was located in the capital of the Ukrainian SSR, once forgot and did not send whipped egg whites to the refrigerator, which were intended for baking biscuits. The mass froze, but did not go to the scrap – two production employees, Nadezhda Chernogor and Konstantin Petrenko, smeared the resulting protein cakes with butter cream, sprinkled with powder and decorated.

The packaging has remained the same, but the taste is said to have changed. / Photo: amazing-ukraine.com

After that, the recipe changed a little: for example, they repeatedly experimented with different types of nuts. Over the years, the recipe has settled down, but even today the manufacturers keep it in strict confidence. At the same time, many who remember the unique taste of the original Soviet cake argue that the modern one is no longer the same as it was thirty or forty years ago. This is most likely due to the replacement of some natural ingredients and the addition of preservatives, which is normal practice in recent years.

3. “Bird’s milk”

The most expensive Soviet cake. / Photo: sm-news.ru

“Bird’s milk” was the name given to two sweet products at once: sweets and cakes. The latter was considered almost the most expensive confectionery – its retail price is about six rubles, but with special coupons it could be obtained for three rubles. This dessert was created in the eighties by the confectioner of the Prague restaurant Vladimir Guralnik.

Today there are many variations of the cake recipe, but they cannot overshadow the original. / Photo: gastronom.ru

The cake was made according to the original recipe: for example, the cake was made from a special dough that does not look like biscuit or shortbread, and the soufflé was prepared not on the basis of gelatin, but with agar-agar. Among the ingredients in Bird’s Milk, one could also find premium sifted flour, high quality chocolate and even cream liqueur.

An interesting fact: the demand for the Bird’s Milk cake was so great that the queues at the Prague restaurant for it blocked traffic on the roadway nearby, and the police had to turn the crowd of people wishing to taste the dessert.

4. Leningrad cake

Inexpensive and popular Soviet cake. / Photo: burgon-yoshi.ru

Leningrad cake, unlike the same “Bird’s milk”, was not very expensive, but at the same time quite popular, and it was not difficult to get it. The basis of this confectionery dish was shortcrust pastry cakes, as well as butter cream and chocolate icing, which were made according to a classic recipe.

The easy-to-make cake in one piece impressed the taste buds. / Photo: povar.ru

Its recipe is not very complicated: the ingredients of the Leningrad cake were flour, butter, eggs, sugar, cocoa, as well as baking powder and even cognac. Crushed nuts were used as a dressing. Most of these products could be found on store shelves, and therefore quite often Soviet housewives prepared it at home on their own. Only the preparation of the cream had to be given special attention.

5. “Prague”

The legendary Soviet cake, which is undeservedly considered a replica. / Photo: sekreti-domovodstva.ru

The recipe for the legendary “Prague” was created by the already mentioned pastry chef Vladimir Guralnik, who, according to one version, named it after his own restaurant. Many believe that it is a Soviet adaptation of the famous Viennese Sachertorte, but they are only similar in their “chocolate” appearance – the Prague recipe is original.

It is a rare case when the original taste of the cake is not lost over time. / Photo: club-licey.ru

Vladimir Guralnik’s original recipe included flour, sour cream, about a hundred grams of brandy or vodka, dark chocolate, cocoa, eggs, and condensed milk. Soviet housewives had their own recipes for making this cake, and modern manufacturers often change ingredients in an attempt to save money. However, “Prague” is a rare example nowadays, when time and changes in the products used practically did not affect the taste for which the original Soviet cake was so famous.

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