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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Well, it's ten days to Christmas and a week to Solstice--

...which means it's time to post the household Inauthentic Medivnyk recipe again. It's sort of like Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish.

Only, you know, not the color of Pepto Bismol. And it tastes good.

Ukrainian Christmas Cake (sorta)

(Other versions are less fluffy, do not have the yeast, do not have the sour cream/yogurt, do not have the sugar, are less labor-intensive, add fruit or nuts....)

1 pkg. dry granular yeast
3 tbsp. lukewarm water
1 cup honey (dark buckwheat honey is preferable)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream (I use whole milk yogurt)
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs separated
3 cups sifted flour (I use half whole wheat and half unbleached)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease your pan--rectangular cake pan or loaf pan(s).

Proof the yeast. Bring the honey to a boil and cool it slightly. The honey should be warm.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held mixer until light and creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and continue to beat until all is incorporated, then add the honey and sour cream and continue to mix. Add the yeast to the resultant batter; it's mostly for flavor. *g*

Beat the eggs whites to stiff peak. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Fold the flour mixture and the egg whites, alternating, into the cake batter as gently as possible so you do not lose the loft of the meringue.

Slide the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Give it a little while to set up, then invert pans on wire racks to remove cake and cool. But not too much; it's best warm.


This is a surprisingly similar recipe to the one passed down by my family from my great-grandmother, for her yeast cake. Except that hers is from Poland or so, instead of Ukraine, and stems from Jewish origins.

I haven't tried baking it yet, because it involves a large investment of time, and my mom is convinced that no one can make it like my great-grandmother (who died long, long, long before I came into the world). Perhaps over New Year's though, I shall try. =)
It's a fabulous cake--nearly a souffle, moist and rich--but with more structural integrity.

I'm going to make one for the NY party I'm going to.
The recipe almost makes up for reminding me of Susan Stamberg, let alone the damn cranberry relish.
If I can find buckwheat honey in this town, your absolution will be total and complete.
Anything dark will work, as long as it has flavor... you know. Unlike Sue-bee.