Russian Cake (Creole Trifle)

For whatever reason, this recipe is nowhere to found in most Louisiana Creole/New Orleans cookbooks (never mind the Internet). Legend has it that the cake dates back to 1872, when the Grand Duke Alexis of Russian visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras (the song “If I Ever Cease to Love” was written for the very same occasion). The trifle is made with leftover pieces of cake, pie crust, muffins, and cookies which are moistened with a binder (in this case seedless raspberry jam, anise flavoring and rum). I have heard that the original Russian cake used vodka and not rum, but I am not able to verify that.

If you’ve never had one of these, it’s quite an experience for the senses. My grandparents used to get one of these every year for their birthdays (they were 2 days apart) from Mr. Lawrence’s Bakery (Mr. Wedding Cake) on Elysian Fields. My grandmother would come home with one of those pink bakery boxes and out would come this fragrant and colorful cake. It smells vaguely of licorice and something almost tropical. It’s also this very bright almost garish ruby red and the top is covered with white frosting and colorful sprinkles, you can imagine how appealing that is to a kid. I was only allowed a very small piece as a kid (I’m not sure if actual rum was used in Mr. Lawrence’s recipe, but my grandmother seemed to think so) and I loved every bite of it. This past March, I was reacquainted with Russian Cake when we were shopping at Dorignac’s in Metairie. G. and I split one piece before bed and apparently I tossed all night like a rotisserie chicken. I think it was worth it.

Russian Cake part deux

Russian Cake (Creole Trifle)

6-8 cups of diced cake pieces
1 box yellow or white cake mix (plus ingredients needed to bake this; will vary from brand to brand)
8 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
1 to 1-1/2 cups white rum (will depend on amount of cake pieces)
1 teaspoon anise flavor (look for the real stuff)
red food coloring (just in case, my jam wasn’t red enough)
pre-made (or homemade) buttercream frosting
colored sprinkles (the spherical kind)

Mix rum, anise, jam and (optionally) the food color with a wire whisk until everything is well integrated; the alcohol in the rum helps dissolve the jam quickly so it shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds. Pour evenly over your cake pieces and place bowl in fridge for a few hours or overnight (covered). The more cake pieces you use for the inside, the denser and heavier the cake will be. The Russian cakes I remember weighed several pounds and seemed very heavy for their size. When ready to assemble cake, bake your boxed cake according to instructions in a 9-inch cake pan. When cool split the cake evenly down the middle. Place one half in a 9-inch springform pan (one used for cheesecakes) and “fill” with your soaked cake pieces. Try to get this even as possible. Place top layer over “filling” and cover with saranwrap, the plastic touching the top of the cake. I placed my cleaned cake pan over the top of this and weighed it down with jars from the fridge. The reason I did this was to make sure that the cake was flat, number one, but also I wanted some of the “juice” from the middle to seep into the top and bottom layer, thereby binding the cake together. Place in fridge overnight (make sure it’s covered). The next day, frost the top and cover with sprinkles. Voilå!

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56 thoughts on “Russian Cake (Creole Trifle)

  1. lisa says:

    duh, I could have read THIS before I asked if you made it on the other…regardless, it looks fabuous!

  2. Melanie says:

    The best Russian cakes were made with whole, stale cakes, icing and all. It’s just not a Russian cake-to me- without hunks of icing and jelly inside. We took our time picking one out at bakeries, looking for the one with the most icing chunks inside! That sweet, thick birthday/wedding cake icing made it decadent!
    Thanks for this recipe tho- I’m going to try it with stale cake I’m saving, maybe some jelly squeezed out of jelly donuts, or a whole jelly roll cake!
    If only the one of the bakers who made these would resurface and make them at another store! There certainly is a customer base waiting to buy!

  3. Tim says:

    That’s the beauty of Russian cakes, no two are alike!

  4. saintseester says:

    I have to try this one. I actually have all of the ingredients (Except for stale leftover cake) in my pantry!

  5. Rene Joublanc says:

    I remember eating New Orleans Creole Russian Cake as a young man in the early 1950’s in the Seventh Ward Gentilly area. The cakes could be purchased by the slice at Lawerence Avalasiti’s Bakery(Mr. Wedding Cake) or at Dixiana Bakery on Broad near St. Bernard Ave. This week for my wife’s 66th birthday we purchased a Russian Cake at Haydel’s Bakery on Jefferson Highway. I had never seen a whole Russian Cake before this. It was a cube shape measuring about 12 inches in all directions and weighed about eight pounds. Besides the mottled deep red color there were chunks of white wedding cake, yellow cake and some chocolate brownies with an interspersing of white, blue, and green cake icing. There was a half inch layer or yellow cake at the top and botton with the customary white cream icing and multi-color round sprinkles on top. We and our guests each had a half of a modest slice which was a lot more than any person hoping to survive should attempt eating. I love New Orleans and our Creole way of life and our rich fine foods … amoung them Creole Russian Cake.

  6. Ruth says:

    This looks a wonderful recipe – I have been hunting for the magic behind a Russian cake for a while. I can recommend Shaul’s Bakery in both Exeter and Taunton, England. They make a lovely Russian cake with a good thick layer of chocolate on the top.
    Apart from Shaul’s, I’m not aware of any other bakeries who make it.

  7. Milton says:

    I read the directions and am confused. The ingredents list white cake, but the directions say yellow cake. None-the-less, I used white cake top and bottom. I attempted to make it with 3/4 water and 1/4 rum. I did not do something right. It definitely was not as dense or was not tightly packed as I remember Russian cake from the bakery. Maybe I did not press hard enough or cut the cake pieces small enough. Oh well, I will try again. Just a little disappointed.

  8. Tim says:

    I fixed the “yellow cake” typo. Sorry about that.

  9. elaine abbot says:

    thank you for solving a mystery. I was born in the n/east of England, uk, in 1946 and my mother regularly bought russian cake. I have lived in the n/westof england for 40years and no one here has heard of it. my friends here say I am imagining it ! The cake we bought didn’t have any frosting or decoration on top. just the cake but it was definitely the same recipe. Delicious.
    Elaine

  10. fe-fe says:

    hi….hope you see this…i’m from new orleans, but left sometime ago. we often think about our beloved russian cakes of our childhood from lawrences and gambinos. there is a recipe nin a new orleans cookbook..written by a couple, i cannot remember the name of it. they had great recipes and they were pretty authentic, however the russian cake recipe was tried by my sister and came out terrible. i suppose that it would be hard to make it like the old days. we will try to make your recipe which is different from the one in the book, i remember it had red wine in it. we will also go to haydel’s and look for the real thing. when we go for a visit. it makes me sad to remember the old days. oh, i once heard it is called russian cake because of the many colors resemble the faberge eggs. thanks for memories.

  11. k says:

    i love this blog but it makes me soooo homesick! take care chere!

  12. Virginia Blackert Davis says:

    This is amazing… every time i “discover” something new about New Orleans I am more and more delighted. What a gem of a city, the best of America. If only people could KNOW… Thank you for this wonderful site!

  13. navtej kohli says:

    I stumbled through your blog last week and came back again today due to its richness and interesting cuisines stuff. Keep up the good work. Looking forward for a little read after dinner!

  14. elgee says:

    I moved to New Orleans from Arkansas back in 1964. Worked on Canal street and ever so often would find the Russian cakes at D.H.Holmes bakery, it was wonderful!! I don’t remember any tasting like Anise but do remember the rum flavor. Am going to try this recipe and make a few adjustments,

  15. Diana says:

    I grew up in Gentilly and had Russian cake at “Mr Wedding Cake” Lawrence’s Bakery. A couple of years ago I told my husband all I wanted was Russian cake for my birthday he found some at Margarite’s in Slidell but it wasn’t the same.
    But just a couple of weeks ago he found some at the Rouse’s on Gause and Front street. It was perfect just as I remembered. Two slices in a container just enough.

  16. Traci says:

    I was surfing the internet looking for Mr. Lawrence’s recipe for rum cake and happened upon this blog. I don’t suppose anyone out there has the recipe? It was a bundt/tube style white cake with crushed pecan topping. My husband is desperate for this recipe and any assistance would be helpful.

  17. Tracy M says:

    I just recently went to Alois J. Binder Bakery on Rampart & Frenchmen and purchased a 1/4 size of Russian cake. There cake was made with rum instead of Anise, but was just as good ans what I used to remember.

  18. Sylvia Barnes says:

    Thank you, thank you! This is something which I remember having as a child when I lived in the North East of England, just like Elaine. The cake we got from Binn’s store was made in a loaf shape, sliced and sold in paper muffin cases. They were either plain (no frosting) or with chocolate on the top. This was a once -in- a- while treat, as it was so rich.

  19. Melissa says:

    Zuppardo’s on Veterans in Metairies sells russian cakes in small squares, alongside with various other cakes similar to doberge squares. I go there about once a week. It’s my FAVORITE!! They always sell out and so does their pineapple upside down cake.

  20. vicki says:

    What a great site! I have been looking for Doberge and Russian cake recipes and they are both here. I grew up in that area and recently went back to Gambinos for some treats. However – the Doberge wasn’t nearly as good ass it used to be and theuy no longer make the Russian cakes. So sad. The Russian cakes at Gambinos had the pink fondant icing (with sprinkles) over the buttercream. My favorite as a child.

  21. Edna says:

    Raised in Gretna across the river from NO, I moved to Virgina after I married. Went back every year and always had to go to Gambino’s to take home slices of Russian cake. Always wanted the recipe, but was told it was a secret. Having just purchased the book “Cooking Up a Storm” by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker, I found a recipe that was quite simple, although it did not have the anise flavoring that I loved so much. So that sent me to the internet and found this website and all the comments made here. Will try both recipes and see what success I have. But being able to order it from Haydel’s might be simpler. In the book there is also a recipe for creole cream cheese.

  22. nola50 says:

    Russian cake can be had at Haydel’s Bakery at 4037 Jefferson Highway 504/837-0190, both whole and in squares… unbelievable stuff!

    Treat yourself to the best!

  23. Carol says:

    I have been looking for ages for the Russian cake recipe, my friend actually made this one for my husband. We are from the North East of England, you could actually buy it not only from Binns but Stephenson’s bakery, and Milburns all long gone. I will definitely be giving this one a try, but perhaps not so heavy on the white rum.

  24. GEORGE CAGER says:

    I am so glad that i found this site. I am from New Orleans. When I was a young man in the 1950’s in New Orleans, I loved Russian Cake. I would buy my square of cake (Russian) at a bakery near the bus stop at the corner of St Bernard & Broad streets. I also bought Russian Cake near the Grocery at St Claude & Caffin Ave in the 9th ward. I think the grocery store was named Puglia’s. Anyway, the cake was delicious at both places.It was very rich in flavor and I guess with a taste of Rum; I am not sure because i did’nt drink in my teens. For a small square it was quiet heavy. The reason i appreciate this site is because over the years being in the Air Force i have been stationed in several cities,Amarillo TX, Columbus Ohio,Springfield Mass,Fairfield Ca. At all the places I have been, i inquired about Russian Cake and no one knew what i was talking about. I also went to my 50th Year Class Reunion in New Orleans in May 2008, tried two bakeries there and they didn’t know of Russian Cake. With this site I have proof and other people know the cake I really loved.

  25. Cynthia Stoltz says:

    I found this site when searching for a recipe for Russian Cake but none described the cake I love. I was born and raised in New Orleans and grew up eating Russian Cake. I have just found (9/16/09) the best Russian Cake at a small bakery in Gretna. It’s called Antoine’s on Stumpf Blvd across from Home Depot. It’s fabulous. I’ve also purchased it from Adrianne’s Bakery on Holiday Dr but found theirs to be a bit dry and not as tasty . Since Russian Cake is mine and my mother-in-laws favorite; I’ve been looking for the recipe from my childhood days. This sounds and looks like the cake. I’m definitely going to try this one. Anise? I don’t think I’ve tasted the flavor of Anise but I’ll give it a try. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  26. Kathy Keller says:

    I grew up in New Orleans and my grandmother actually worked at Mr. Lawrence’s bakery. Holidays were fantastic because she would bring many pies, cakes, cookies and donuts to our house. My dad loved the Russian cake. I remember thinking what a good idea to use up the leftovers that way. Maybe one day I will make this taste treat for my husband who grew up in Detroit and has never heard of it.

  27. Yani Bear says:

    Kathy Keller (17:42:43) :

    I grew up in New Orleans and my grandmother actually worked at Mr. Lawrence’s bakery. Holidays were fantastic because she would bring many pies, cakes, cookies and donuts to our house. My dad loved the Russian cake. I remember thinking what a good idea to use up the leftovers that way. Maybe one day I will make this taste treat for my husband who grew up in Detroit and has never heard of it.

    Hey, i found this site while conducting a search for lawrences birthday/wedding cake recipe. This cooment is directed to Ms. Kathy Keller: You would not happen to know the recipes for any of these things that may have been passed on by your grandmother? I have moved from New Orleans since the Hurricane, and here in Texas there is nothing that even comes close to that delicious cake flavor that you found back home at Lawrence’s, Haydel’s, and Gambino’s bakeries. Would actually love if anyone could lead me in the right direction on this one. It would be greatly appreciated, by myself and so many others who miss those flavors from back home.

  28. Walter Yrle says:

    I found this site while checking for members of the Joublanc family. I enjoyed Rene Joublanc’s posting. I suspect that he is a long lost family member because Joublanc is not a common name and my great-great grandfather Rene Joublanc lived in that same neighborhood. Please, anyone knowing Mr. Joublanc, ask him to contact me or write me of his where-abouts. PS: I, too, love Avalasiti’s Russian Cake.

  29. Nadya says:

    i make a wicked Black Russian cake i call it (death by russian)! lol

  30. citybaby says:

    dorignacs at the foot of vets in metairie has very good russian cake right now. i didnt see whole cakes but tons and tons of slices.

  31. Pam Ashley says:

    You wouldn’t know the recipe for Red Velvet Cake from Lawrences Wedding Cake. I have tried many,many recipes and now come close.
    Would love to have it.

  32. Tim says:

    Believe it or not, I have never had red velvet cake in my 40 years on this earth! I keep meaning to try it though… sorry! Best of luck in your search though!

  33. Margaret says:

    Haydel’s Bakery still sells Russian Cakes…you can order and have one shipped via their web site, haydelsbakery.com but they’re pricey! I splurged last year and got one…it was worth it.

  34. Bryn Pelzer says:

    I was given a slice of Russian slab cake last saturday night. It was delicious.
    This evening I was given a full slab and have had two slices, it takes very nice but I am not sure what the alcohol content is! It tastes and smells of either brandy rum or vodka! Very moorish, I t was purchased in Cooplands in Wakefield for a very reasonable £1.75. (there are no ingredients listed in the wrapping)

  35. Kristin says:

    Does anyone remember if the russian cake @ Gambino’s were called “Fiesta” squares? I use to LOVE them; but, they don’t seem to make them anymore and when I asked about them no one knew what I was talking about!!

  36. WHO CAN I ORDER A RUSSIAN CAKE FROM ONLINE

  37. Renee says:

    Haydell’s Bakery on Jefferson Hwy.makes a great Russian cake!

  38. Phil Culmer says:

    I think Cooplands as a chain must do slab cake – they have them in Lincoln, too. No icing inside, but gotta love that chunk.

  39. Allen T. Tichenor, Jr. says:

    I, like others from New Orleans, grew up enjoying Russian Cakes from many of the local bakeries. All were good but, none were quite as good as Fuhr’s; a small family bakery on Magazine Steet, just off Louisiana Avenue, bordering the Garden District. Unfortunately, the Fuhr’s Bakery closed and its recipe, a closely held family secret, is gone with it. Their Russian Cake was unique, a feast for the eyes, a delight to the palate and bliss for the soul. Now, before I get too carried away remembering Fuhr’s version of Russian Cake, let me share my recollection of what is still the best dessert I can ever remember eating. Fuhr’s Russian Cake was conceptually similar to others, consisting of 1/2-3/4″ pieces of a variety of colored/flavored cakes, including their icings and fillings, pieces of strudels and pies with firm filling and other bakery sweets that were carefully placed in random order, one layer deep in a pound cake pan, used as a mould. Then a thick, deep red, seedless raspberry jelly mixture, fortified with rum and a hint of anise was gently spread over the cake layer, as a binder. Another layer of cake pieces was added followed by the binder and this process repeated until the pound cake pan was filled. The cake was covered, weighted down and refrigerated until the mixture bound firmly together. The cake was carefully removed from the pound cake pan (mould). A layer of cream chease icing was spread over the top only and finished with round Rainbow Sprinkles. The finished Russian Cake was then placed in a refrigerated display case and sold for 9 cents a slice during the late 1950′ and early 60’s. It was so rich, dense and heavy very few could eat more than a slice. Also, the Russian Cake wasn’t available every day, only when the bakery had accumulated enough of a surplus of the various cakes, pastries, etc. to make up the Russian Cakes. Now that I’ve outlined the general construct of Fuhr’s Russian Cake I’ll explain some of the unique atributes that set their cake apart from the rest. First, the side view of a slice of their Russian Cake revealed a breathtaking, unspoiled arabesque of colors, flavors and textures made up of the pieces of cakes, etc. and held together by the thin red binder. Not, soaked in or obscured by the binder. And, a taste of the cake revealed each of the original flavors, and textures of the various pieces of cakes, etc. to be just as distinctive as they originally had been as well as the unique, complimentary flavor of the binder. A simply awesome culinary achievement. The pleasure of which I have missed since my youth. Should anyone know of the recipe for this truely unique version of Russian Cake I would greatly appreciate having a copy of it.

  40. Lesley says:

    Do you have the Lawerence’s Bakery red velevet reciepe? This was my birthday cakegrowing up and miss it dearly. I now tell my children about it but don’t have the reciepe. (The cherry one was to die for!)

  41. [...] Russian Cake, part deux Image by Tim in sanhazzay A much nicer one that I made for Thanksgiving. Pardon the slight blur… it was the rum fumes making the camera shake. Recipe here. [...]

  42. LA says:

    Gambino’s in Metairie has the best Russian Cake. Have been going there for years and it’s always a real treat when it’s available. I just wish they’d make it year ’round.

  43. I remember this cake from the small bakery named Pecous, on Dorgenious st. The best!!

  44. yaya land says:

    i’m living in the tennessee mountains since hurricanes katrina and rita. i dearly miss the food back home. some of the things are impossible to get here or even to attempt to reproduce (such as french bread).
    i feel so lucky to have found this recipe here. i baked red velvet, devil’s food, and confetti cakes. i also baked chocolate brownies and iced and decorated everything and let them sit for three days to dry out some. today, i fried beignets and powder sugared them. we ate what we wanted, then i cut them up and put them in a bowl. i broke up all the cakes and brownies and put each in a separate bowl. as i’m using so much filling (i’ve baked two yellow cakes just in case) that i used a fifth of vodka–using the measurements given in this recipe for liquor/ pastry ratio. also using the given ratio, i used extra raspberry jelly and extra anise. i have everything soaking in the fridge for the night and will put everything together tomorrow. i can hardly freaking wait. i’m almost drooling over the memory!! the thought that i’ll have to wait another day after putting it all together is a sweet torment.

  45. maryann says:

    the best russian cake I’ve ever had was from McKenzie’s bakery which is no longer open, it was sold by the slice, and was a pretty multicolor.

  46. pat thompson says:

    You can get this cake in Chalmette,LA from Randazzo’ S bakey. This cake is wonderful! Once u eat it will want more

  47. Y Cornwell says:

    I, like so many others, am from New Orleans, but currently living in New Mexico. My all time favorite cake was the Rum Pound cake from Lawrence’s Bakery on Elysian Fields and Franklin Ave. My memories of the cake smothered in pecans and drenched in so much rum that it was sold in a plastic bag still haunt me every Christmas season. In fact, I can still remember the aroma of the entire bakery as you entered through its doors. Lawrence’s was my evening stop during my second pregnancy for anything “apple” – turnovers, strudel, etc. But the rum pound cake was it for me and my family. I have tried to find another bakery selling the cake, but none ever comes close. If anyone has “the” recipe or knows of a bakery selling a rum pound cake similar to Lawrence’s, please let me know.

  48. Esplanade cake lover says:

    In my quest for Russian cakes that are still available, I have to say that Dorignac’s is definitely not to my particular liking at all. Haydel’s is the winner thus far. I brought one from Haydel’s to a Mardi Gras Day breakfast party this year prior to marching in the Sainte Anne parade because the host of the party was costumed as a Russian duke. I thought the natives would get the culinary pun. The younger people and the ones from out of town had never experienced such a decadent sweet – it was a huge hit. Also, the entire square cake cost under $20 and as you really can’t eat more than a sliver or a small square the cake serves a pretty large group. I’m going to give the cake from Binder’s a try as soon as Lent is over. And a good Russian cake is a perfect excuse for a trip across the river to Stumpf Blvd. If any of y’all have suggestions where else to find one, please post !

  49. SharonK says:

    I am also a native New Orleanian, and am now living in Poplarville, Mississippi with my husband. You can’t imagine, or maybe some of you can, how delighted I was to find this recipe. Having grown up in the Irish Channel, near Annunciation and Pleasant Streets, we would get Russian Cake from Woolworths at Canal and Rampart Streets. But, it was only available on Thursdays, and you had to be quick, as. it would fly out of there. Being my mothers’ favorite, and mine too, it brings back such special memories. So decadent and flavorful…it’s truly a treat for the senses. Being not only a delight for the tastebuds, with its assortment of delicious cakes and frostings, but a true vision with its kaleidescope of colors, and then, as if that was not enough, the aroma …almost indescribable.
    My husband is from Carriere, Mississippi, and has never had this scrumptious cake, but have told him about it on several occasions. My mother-in-law makes a ‘to die for’ Lemon Ice Box Cake that I love, but I want to make a Russian Cake for my Mississippi family, so they can experience a little bit of my New Orleans, Thank you so much for this recipe, and this site. I am now one of your avid fans and will be watching for more items that will bring back more sweet memories of my childhood. Who knows? Might even find friends or neighbors from long ago, but at the very least, more great recipes.

  50. Allen T. Tichenor, Jr. says:

    In August of 2011 I posted a comment on what several generations of my family had come to enjoy and know as the original New Orleans Russian Cake. Since then I have since been periodically experimenting with recreating that classic Russian Cake. Having been a chef and spent the majority of by working life in restaurants, clubs, resorts, hotels or businesses with a foodservice/hospitality components, perfecting the recipe wasn’t that difficult but, did requires some research, time and experimentation. The delays, between my intermittent efforts, have resulted from having to eat my trial ‘n’ error attempts at perfection. And then, dieting off my weight gain before I could muster the fortitude to make my next Russian Cake, eat it and start dieting again. It’s been tough but, I’ve persevered, … truely a labor of love and gluttony. I’m looking forward to post my finalized recipe as soon as I make and consume my next Russian Cake. Expect my posting in the near future.

  51. Esplanade cake lover says:

    Allen- if you need testers, I’ll volunteer, LOL…also, we tried the Russian cake from Zuppardo’s on Veterans…very heavy and dense, a good old fashioned example of Russian cake, lots of chunks and rum…still prefer Haydel’s. Next bakery we’re going to try is Antoine’s on Stumpf Blvd. And now I’m off to do a 4 mile walk just to try to keep fitting in my pants.

  52. Esplanade cake lover says:

    Still haven’t tried Antoine’s, but had some great Russian Cake yesterday – from Binder’s Bakery on North Rampart in the Marigny. Not as heavy as Haydel’s, but had a great feeling in the mouth. A lot less rum, this one looks and tastes the most “home made” thus far. And the counter lady was so nice.

  53. Allen T. Tichenor, Jr. says:

    The classic Russian Cake (Creole Trifle) is described by Rima & Richard Collins in their 1975 edition of “The New Orleans Cookbook” on page 221. Their recipe is a homemade variation on the classic Russian however, the sweet juice and red wine binder is typical of more modern variations. The classic Russian Cake used seedless Raspberry Jam, flavored and thinned with Rum and Anise extracts. The thinner sweet juice and red wine binder, Rima and Richard’ recipe uses, fully colors the cake pieces red and contributes a different flavor than that of the classic Russian Cake. Not withstanding, their cookbook is an excellent 1960-70’s era chronical and docummentation of New Orleans cuisine of the time and well worth the purchase if you can locate a copy.

  54. [...] Russian Cake, part deux Image by Tim in sanhazzay A much nicer one that I made for Thanksgiving. Pardon the slight blur… it was the rum fumes making the camera shake. Recipe here. [...]

  55. David L in Florida says:

    Just made this a few days ago. The unusual flavor I remember is definately a combination of the rasperry jam and the anise. I will use a little less anise that is called for next time. As children in New Orleans we ate this cake. We left when I was 5 years old, but went back often and always got a russian cake. I remember getting them from McKenzie’s, but my oldest brother says it was at the Bell new our old house on St Anthony. I have wanted to know what that taste consisted of for years. Now I know for sure. I used max called for amount of rum and anise. Will cut the rum back to 1 cup and the anise to 3/4 teaspoon next time. Happy to get the recipe. Was a huge hit while my brother was visiting me.

  56. I used to clean up a bakery at night when I was a teenager and they did the Russian cake the same way- scraps of cake, mashed in a pan by hand until semi-solid, a layer of jam and alcohol, cake, jam, lather, rinse repeat. Covered with parchment and weighed down with foil-wrapped bricks, then refrigerated for days. It was a dense, decadent swirl of colors and flavors. Nothing but cake scraps- no icing or rolls or brownies- layered together and that’s just as I remember it growing up in Chalmette.
    I’m a baker now and I’ve mastered quite a few of our NOLA favorites but most of the time, nothing can be recreated exactly because the products used are different due to FDA restrictions on fat types, flavorings and colorings. I can make a mean Turtle Cookie- that same slightly grainy, super sweet and chocolatey topping that crusts just a bit on the outside but is soft on the inside. The one where you always had to bite the tip of the chocolate off before anything else- but the cookies themselves, the base, are not the same because of the restrictions on trans- and hydrogenated fats. Honestly though, it was the chocolate that made those cookies so great so many of my customers don’t even care that the cookie is not quite right; they want the chocolate dollop and pecans!

    My daddy eats all my cake scraps before I have enough left to make Russian cake. I might have to bake off a bunch just for this purpose now! Thanks so much for the blog. I still live in the area but love to hear others’ memories of our sweet history.

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