Ukrainian Christmas Cake (Perekladanets)

Ukrainian Christmas cake perekladanets recipe

The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

  • Total: 95 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Rising time: 90 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
410 Calories
20g Fat
51g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

    Ingredients for Ukrainian Christmas cake
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  2. Make the poppyseed filling. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.

    Make the poppyseed filling
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  3. Gradually beat in the sugar.

    Gradually beat in sugar into bowl
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  4. Add vanilla or juice and zest if using.

    Add vanilla or juice
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  5. Fold in ground poppy seeds.

    Fold in poppy seeds
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  6. Make the date filling. In a medium bowl, stir together the dates and apricot preserves.

    Mix filling
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  7. Make the walnut filling. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.

    Make the walnut filling with hand mixer
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  8. Gradually beat in the sugar.

    Gradually beat in sugar
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  9. Add vanilla and fold in the ground walnuts.

    Add vanilla
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  10. Assemble the cake. Divide the risen half-recipe of basic sweet yeast dough into four equal pieces.

    Split dough into four
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  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.

    Roll dough into a rectangle
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  12. Spread the poppy seed filling to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

    Poppy seed filling with dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  13. Roll the second piece of dough to the same size as the first and place on top of the poppy seed filling.

    Roll out dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  14. Spread on the date filling, same as before, to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

    Spread out date filling
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  15. Roll out the third piece of dough to the same size as the first and place on top of the date filling.

    Roll out dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  16. Spread on the walnut filling, same as before, to within 1/2 inch on all sides.

    Spread out filling
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  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.

    Roll out piece of dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  18. Cover with a lint-free towel and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. It will only rise a little.

    Cover with a lint free towel
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic 
  19. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prick the cake all over with a fork and brush with egg wash.

    Prick the dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  20. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with foil.

    Bake dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  21. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

    Cool dough
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  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.

    Cover dough in foil
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic
  23. Serve and enjoy!

    Ukrainian Christmas cake recipe
    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic