Ukrainian Christmas Cake (Perekladanets)

Close-Up Of Apricot Cake On White Background
Nic Scholtysik / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Total: 95 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Rising time: 90 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
410 Calories
20g Fat
51g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cake (12 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 410
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 74mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 12g
Calcium 306mg 24%
*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.)

This Ukrainian Christmas cake recipe is known as perekladanets and, despite its name, is served year-round. Because it's a little time-consuming to make, it's usually served for special occasions. The name perekladanets comes from the Ukrainian word for "to layer" and refers to the four thin layers of sweet yeast dough with various fillings like poppy seed, date, apricot, walnut or just cinnamon-sugar. This recipe calls for poppy seed, walnut, and date. This cake is similar to Russian Torte, except the latter is made with three layers of dough and a meringue top.


  • For the Sweet Yeast Dough (Zdobne Drizhdzhove Tisto):
  • 1/2 recipe Ukrainian / Russian basic sweet yeast dough
  • For the Poppy Seed Filling (Nachinka z Maku):
  • 1/2 pound poppy seeds (ground with a spice grinder)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice)
  • Optional: zest of 1 lemon or orange
  • For the Date Filling (Nachinka z Daktiliv):
  • 2 packages/16 ounces dates (pitted, chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
  • For the Walnut Filling (Nachinka z Voloskikh Horikhiv):
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pound walnuts (ground, not chopped, in a food processor)
  • For the Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg (beaten with 1 teaspoon milk)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Make the poppyseed filling. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.

  3. Gradually beat in the sugar.

  4. Add vanilla or juice and zest if using.

  5. Fold in ground poppy seeds.

  6. Make the date filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the dates and apricot preserves.

  7. Make the walnut filling. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.

  8. Gradually beat in the sugar.

  9. Add vanilla and fold in the ground walnuts.

  10. Assemble the cake. Divide the risen half-recipe of basic sweet yeast dough into four equal pieces.

  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a thin rectangle as large as you can—anywhere from 13 x 9 inches to 18 x 13 inches—and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  12. Spread the poppy seed filling to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

  13. Roll the second piece of dough to the same size as the first and place on top of the poppy seed filling.

  14. Spread on the date filling, same as before, to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

  15. Roll out the third piece of dough to the same size as the first and place on top of the date filling.

  16. Spread on the walnut filling, same as before, to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

  17. Roll out the final piece of dough about 1 inch larger on all sides than the others. Place on top of the walnut filling, pressing the edges together and turning them under so no filling escapes.

  18. Cover with a lint-free towel and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. It will only rise a little.

  19. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prick the cake all over with a fork and brush with egg wash.

  20. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil.

  21. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

  22. When cool, wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator. A cold cake makes cutting into squares or diamonds much easier. Some cooks dust the cake with confectioners' sugar.

  23. Serve and enjoy!