Every year in Australian supermarkets, just after Christmas is over they now begin to put out for sale delicious bundles of Easter “Hot Cross Buns”. In spite of the holiday being some months away and their customers in the Christmas hangover phase, they do it anyway. Knowing full well that each year people will do their advertising for them, jumping onto social media to decry how “outrageous” these treats are on sale so early, perverting the tradition of the bun in the first place.
I am borrowing a bit of their cheek by dedicating week 2 of the 52 Week Baking Challenge (this week themed for “Russia”) to a traditionally Easter Russian Mazurka cake.
(I have to admire the administrator’s of the challenge to pick Russia for the theme, when globally the former Soviet State is something of a pariah. Going to show that pastry and bakes know no boundaries and only love.)
This one was a snap to make, but had a wonderful – wonderful – texture. The Russian Mazurka is a flourless cake, the body coming from ground hazelnut, which means gluten-free folks can happily enjoy. We ourselves aren’t GF, but it was a Sunday hit in the house as we praised its nuttiness and moistness. It is a whipped sponge essentially, so mind how you go folding those egg-whites in, and you’ll find it rising perfectly to the occasion – Easter or not. Decorative eggs optional, but why waste such a treat to only one time of the year if you can source them!Print
A traditional Russian Easter cake. Gluten Free, and delicious all year!
- 250g whole hazelnuts, skin-on
- 5 eggs, separated
- 175g castor sugar
- 2 lemons
- 250ml double (heavy) cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Coloured sugar Easter Eggs
- Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F).
- Arrange the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, it is better they aren’t too dark than over-done. Allow them to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, transfer to a clean tea-towel draped over a bowl. Tie the teatowel into a bundle then vigorously roll the nuts around onto a counter top and amongst each other. Opening the towel carefully, remove the hazelnuts sans skin which should now have fallen off in little flakes.
- Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are semi-finely powdered. Set aside.
- Grease a 20cm cake tin.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add grated rind of both lemons, and the juice of one.
- Gradually fold the hazelnuts into the egg yolk mixture.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric beater until stiff – about 5 minutes. Fold the whites carefully through the batter with a metal spoon being careful not to overmix and deflate the whites.
- Place the mixture in the cake tin, smoothing the surface. Bake for 40 minutes. When done, tuen off oven, open door and allow to stand and cool for 15 minutes in the warm oven. Turn out to cool fully onto a wire rack.
- Whip the cream with the sifted icing sugar. When stiff, spread thickly over the top of the cake and decorate with Easter Eggs.
- Refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!
You could also buy pre-ground hazelnut, but this will give the cake a different texture as usually the commercial powder is very fine.
Keywords: Russian Mazurka, Easter