Seven Sisters Cake Recipe - Ciasto Stefanka Or Stefania Torta

seven-sisters-cake-6.jpg
Seven Sisters Cake. © Barbara Rolek
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 Cake (12 servings)
Ratings (5)

Americans of Eastern European descent have come to call the Polish ciasto stefanka and Hungarian stefánia torta by the name seven sisters cake, referring to its seven layers (six layers in most Hungarian versions). It can be made as a loaf cake or a round cake and resembles Hungarian dobos torta without the caramel topping. This cake is in no way related to Danish seven sisters cake, which is an almond-butter ring coffee cake.

Instead, Eastern European seven sisters cake has many iterations, but the one Americans are most familiar with is a torte made with layers of vanilla sponge cake, cocoa buttercream ​filling, and cocoa glaze. At first blush, the cake appears to be difficult to make but, if you follow the easy steps in my recipe, it's a snap. You can bake one day and assemble the next if you like. But the job certainly can be accomplished in one day.

The buttercream uses a raw pasteurized egg but you can substitute 1/3 cup whipping cream instead if you like. You will need seven 8x4-inch disposable aluminum loaf pans or, if you have two or more non-disposable loaf pans, you can bake in batches.

Here's a larger photo of seven sisters cake.

What You'll Need

  • Sponge Cake:
  • 1/2 pound butter (unsalted, softened)
  • 1 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cocoa Buttercream Filling:
  • 1/2 pound butter (unsalted, softened)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar (confectioners', sifted)
  • 1 large egg (pasteurized, or 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
  • Cocoa Glaze:
  • 4 tablespoons butter (unsalted, melted)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 4 tablespoons water (hot)
  • 2 cups sugar (confectioners')
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make It

To make the sponge cake: 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream 1/2 pound butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs, then flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Lightly coat the bottom of 7 (8x4-inch) disposable aluminum loaf pans with cooking spray.
  2. Weigh the batter (remembering to subtract for the weight of the bowl). Divide that number by 7 and that's how many ounces you will need for each pan in order to create even layers.
  1. Bake for 7 minutes or until edges are very lightly brown. Don't overbake. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pans and invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.

To make the cocoa buttercream filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the 1/2 pound butter until light and fluffy. Add the 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, mixing until well incorporated, and then beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 pasteurized egg or whipping cream and beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup cocoa powder and then beat until well combined.

To make the cocoa glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the 4 tablespoons melted butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder and hot water. Blend in 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.
  2. Pour or spread on cake. ​The glaze will harden when cool.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate and spread with 1/7 of the cocoa buttercream filling. Continue in this manner until all 7 sponge layers have been stacked. Leave the top and sides of the cake bare.
  2. Pour the cocoa glaze over the top of the cake and, using a cake spatula, spread the overflow around the sides of the cake to cover it completely. The chocolate glaze will harden, which is what you want. Chill until set. Serve thin slices of this rich cake.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 807
Total Fat 40 g
Saturated Fat 24 g
Unsaturated Fat 12 g
Cholesterol 242 mg
Sodium 261 mg
Carbohydrates 107 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 7 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)