Seven Sisters Cake (Ciasto Stefanka or Stefania Torta)

Seven sisters cake

Barbara Rolek

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Assembly: 20 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
635 Calories
37g Fat
72g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 635
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 22g 111%
Cholesterol 169mg 56%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 57g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 58mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 this 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 8-by-4-inch disposable aluminum loaf pans or, if you have two or more non-disposable loaf pans, you can bake in batches.

Ingredients

For the Sponge Cake:

  • 1/2 pound (1 cupunsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cocoa Buttercream Filling:

  • 1/2 pound (1 cupunsalted butter, softened

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1 large pasteurized egg, or 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

For the Cocoa Glaze:

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted

  • 4 tablespoons hot water

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Make the Sponge Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F. 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 seven (8-by-4-inch) disposable aluminum loaf pans with cooking spray.

  3. 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.

  4. Bake for 7 minutes or until the 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.

Make the Cocoa Buttercream Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Make the Cocoa Glaze

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the 4 tablespoons melted butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder and hot water.

  3. Blend in 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.

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.

  3. Serve thin slices of this rich cake and enjoy!