It’s not Russian but it is a slice! Seemingly sometimes known as ‘Tipsy Cake’ in the US, this is an old school way that bakeries battled food waste by utilising leftover and stale cakes. Trust me, its much more appetising than that sounds and best of all, Russian Slice is incredibly simple to make. Oh, and always a bonus – its boozy as heck!
So what is a Russian Slice? Well its not Russian as far as I can establish and I am yet to discover the etymology of the name. It is basically a way for bakeries to use up stale cake crumbs and resell them. Not the most appetising sounding recipe when put like that but trust me, they contain a significant amount of booze and are perfectly moist (sorry). I know them from the Humber/North East Lincolnshire region and haven’t seen them sold further afield but do let me know in the comments if you have! Some versions have a pastry base but the version that I grew up with just has a feathered chocolate icing with no ‘base’ as such. I’ve stuck with what I know!
I started to research a recipe online and actually came up with very little. I established that it may be an American invention known as ‘tipsy cake’ but none of the recipes I could find seemed to resemble the iced version I knew. The best option I could find came from the website of The Ginger Bread Lad but his site has since disappeared. I adapted that recipe to emulate my remembered version a little better, especially with the addition of sherry icing and pink cake.
250g Caster Sugar
250g Self Raising Flour
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Skimmed Milk
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp Red Food Colouring
9 Tbsp (135ml) Sherry (Cheap Stuff)
8 Tbsp Apricot Jam
50g Dark Chocolate (Cheap Stuff)
140g Tbsp Icing Sugar
- It would be helpful to bake the sponges a day or two before you want to assemble the slices but you can just leave them out for a few hours to dry in a pinch.
- Rather than making the sponges from scratch, you could buy a couple of madeira and/or angel food cakes and use them rather than baking your own.
- You can use any tins/tin to bake the cakes in – there is no requirement for a certain shape or size.
- I’m not usually a fan of the all-in-one method sponge method but as the texture of this sponge is ultimately compromised by its treatment, I don’t think the extra effort of using the creaming method is worth it.
- It really doesn’t matter about keeping the cake colours super separate – its all ultimately going to be marbled together so don’t panic too much.
- Overbaking the sponges may feel unnatural but you do want them to be dry!
- Piping isn’t my forte either so don’t worry about trying to make the feathered icing look amazing. Once the slices are cut, you’ll be surprised how professional even the shonkiest of icing can look.
- I now use my basic model Kenwood Stand Mixer* to make the sponges. I would previously have used a hand electric whisk*. You could equally use a good old fashioned wooden spoon and some elbow grease for this one.
Preheat the oven to 180c or equivalent.
Line a brownie pan with cling film or parchment/greaseproof paper.
Add 250g Butter, 250g Caster Sugar, 4 Eggs and 250g Self Raising Flour to a large mixing bowl and beat together until fully combined and a bit airy.
Scoop just under half of the mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder and 2 Tbsp Skimmed Milk to the removed mix and beat to combine.
Add 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract to the remaining original mixture and beat in.
Scoop half of the vanilla cake mix into a small mixing bowl and add 1/2 Tsp Red Food Colouring.
Spoon all of the 3 cake batters into the lined brownie pan. A little mixing around the edges/joins won’t hurt.
Bake the cake for about 25/30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and then its had another 5 to dry a bit. So counter-intuitive!
Once the cakes are cool enough to touch, tear them up into chunks and leave them on a cooling rack to cool and dry out. Leaving them for a couple of days, out, but under a fly cover would be ideal.
When you’re ready to make the slices, use your fingers to crumble each colour of cake into separate mixing bowls. You are aiming for a breadcrumb size pieces but some larger pieces won’t hurt.
Warm 8 Tbsp Apricot Jam in a small bowl and mix in 5 Tbsp Sherry.
Split the boozy jam between the bowls. Mix each to damp consistency.
Spoon the mixtures into the tin in a haphazard fashion, pressing it down as you go to create a block of marbled boozy cake crumbs.
Melt 50g Dark Chocolate in the microwave and leave to cool a little. Mix 4 Tbsp Sherry and 9 Tbsp Icing Sugar (90g) into the chocolate and beat until smooth and lump free. Add a little extra sherry or icing sugar to achieve the consistency of runny honey.
In a separate bowl, combine 5 Tbsp Icing Sugar (50g) with a little water to make a slightly runnier white icing. Put this in a sandwich bag or disposable piping bag.
Pour the chocolate icing over the cake and smooth out to the edges.
Snip the end off the piping bag or corner off the sandwich bag and pipe the white icing in horizontal stripes over the chocolate icing.
Start with the middle stripe and work outwards to make sure the stripes are vaguely even before you run out of icing with only half covered! Saying this, there is nothing to stop you making up some more white icing if you need.
Run a skewer up and down the length of the tin in even stripes to create the feather effect.
Put the whole cake into the fridge for the icing to set and the cake mix to firm up. A couple of hours will do it. You can cheat with a bit of freezer time if you need to, just don’t forget about it!
Slice into 16 pieces. I trimmed off the edges for presentation but there is no real reason to do this in real life.
Let me know in the comments what you think and don’t forget to use the buttons at the bottom of the page to share this post with your friends.
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For more Baking Recipes, why not check out one of my other sweet baking recipes:
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