Russian Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes:


    -portion cake

Appears in

One of the splendid cakes popularized a generation ago by Fuller’s tea-shops. Though rarely seen today, Russian Cake appears in some Victorian cookery books; it is made from slivers of rich sponge cake macerated in rum syrup, sandwiched between layers of marzipan and covered with glacé icing. I remember that Fuller’s Russian Cake was decorated with a pretty feathered design of chocolate on blossom pink; the cake is fairly rich and is nicest served in thin slices.


  • 120 g / 4 oz butter
  • 120 g / 4 oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g / 4 oz self-raising flour
  • 12 drops pink food colouring
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder blended with 1 tbs hot water


  • 2 tbs apricot or raspberry jam, sieved
  • 230 g / 8 oz marzipan
  • 60 g / 2 oz caster sugar
  • 6 tbs water
  • 2 tbs white rum or kirsch

Glacé Icing

  • 175 g / 6 oz icing sugar
  • hot water to mix
  • 1 drop pink food colouring
  • few drops rose-water
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder


  • 18 cm / 7 in. square tin – buttered and base-lined;
  • 0.5 kg / 1 lb loaf tin – lined with cling-film


Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Fold in the sieved flour. Spoon one third of the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Add a few drops of pink colouring to half the remaining mixture and spoon into the cake tin. Mix the blended cocoa into the rest of the mixture and add to the cake tin. Smooth the mixture level.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes until the cake is springy in the centre. Cool in the tin for 2 minutes then turn on to a wire rack.

To assemble the cake

Roll out half the marzipan until large enough to line the base of the prepared loaf tin. Brush the sieved jam over the cake and cut into 5 mm / ¼ in. wide strips. Arrange the strips in a random fashion in the loaf tin. Dissolve the sugar in the water over moderate heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool, then stir in the rum or kirsch. Spoon over the cake. Cover with the remaining marzipan rolled out to fit. Fit a piece of plastic-covered cardboard on top and weigh down lightly. Chill the cake overnight.

To ice the cake

Turn the cake on to a wire rack. Blend the sieved icing sugar with sufficient hot water to make a thick pouring icing. Tint it pale pink with the food colouring and add rose-water to taste. Reserve a small amount of icing and blend in the cocoa. Pour the pink icing over the top and sides of the cake. Pipe or dribble fine lines of chocolate on top, and before it sets draw a fine skewer or needle through the lines first one way and then the other to produce a feathered effect. Set the cake aside until the icing is dry.