Photo by Linda Hodges Fine tortes of many flavors are commercially produced in Kyiv. Each type is distinguished by the frosted design on top and is packed into a uniquely patterned box. The city's namesake cake, the Kyivsky torte, is frosted with sugar chestnut (kashtan) leaves and blossoms. A chestnut leaf motif is printed on its pretty box.

The Kyivsky torte consists of layers of sponge cake containing ground hazelnuts separated by buttercream filling. Here are two torte recipes:


A torte is a layer cake in which some of the flour has been replaced with dry bread or cake crumbs or nuts ground to a fine meal. Ground nuts should be dry; take care not to over process them as they'll become oily.

Bake a torte in a pan with a removable rim, either a springform or a tube with a removable bottom. Never grease the sides of the pan.

Basic Nut Torte

from Ukrainian Easter: Traditions, Folk Customs, and Recipes, Mary Ann Woloch Vaughn, Ukrainian Heritage Company, Munster, Indiana, 1983.

6 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups finely ground nuts (ex. walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds)

Add salt to egg whites; beat until soft peaks form then gradually add half the sugar, continuing beating until stiff peaks form. Beat yolks with remaining sugar until thick; add flavoring. Mix flour, baking powder, and nuts in bowl; add yolk mixture and mix well. Gently fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in two 9-inch greased layer pans at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes or until tests done. Remove from pans to cool.

Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar for plain torte or fill with favorite filling and frost with favorite icing; serve with stiffly beaten whipped cream, if desired. Suggested combinations; apricot or cherry filling with chocolate glaze; apple, prune, or date filling with creamy vanilla frosting; whipped cream between and on top and served with fresh fruit, for example berries, or drained, canned fruit, such as peach slices.


Poppyseed Torte

adapted from Baba's Cook Book, Ken J. Linkiewich, Publisher, Vegreville, Canada.

For Cake:

1 lb. poppy seed, dried and ground
12 eggs, separated
1 lb. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. bread crumbs or flour
1 cup ground walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

For Filling and Icing:

1 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
3 Tbsp hot milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat 12 egg yolks with sugar until lemon colored. Then beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, but not dry. Pour egg yolk mixture over egg whites, stirring very gently with rubber spatula. Mix poppy seeds, crushed walnuts, and bread crumbs together and add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and mix very lightly. Pour into four greased and lightly floured layer cake tins and bake in slow oven, 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Cool layers of cake.

Cream butter and sugar until light. Blend in walnuts, adding milk and vanilla extract. Spread filling in between layers and cover the torte with the remaining icing.


Copyright 1996 by Linda Hodges, L.Hodges(at)prodigy.net
Go to Linda's Ukrainian Language, Culture and Travel Page.