Russian Korolevsky Cake (King’s Cake)

Korolevsky (Russian King's Cake) is delicious and looks royal! Layers are loaded with poppy seeds, chocolate and with walnuts. A must try!

My Aunt Anna made this King’s Cake last Thanksgiving. I took a photo of it and posted it, then got a wave of requests for the recipe. 1 year later (ok, that’s more than a little embarrassing), I am finally posting it!

I just found out this is a Russian cake recipe. Korolevsky means King’s, which makes this a royal cake. Russian and Ukrainian people are known for their fantastic cakes. I’m sure you will enjoy this one!

Each cake layer has 1 cup of sour cream so it turns out very soft and moist. If you make the full recipe with all three different layers, it is very time consuming – not difficult – just time consuming.

According to the original recipe, each cake layer is mixed and baked separately (my wonderful husband so kindly washed my KitchenAid 4 times!!) This triple-layer-cake turned out huge and even a thin slice of cake was a lot!

Next time I make this, I will make double the cake portion at once, then divide the batter in half, put poppy seeds in one and walnuts in the other and bake them together in 2 separate cake pans.

This would make a double layer cake instead of a triple. You can also just make a full poppyseed cake or a full walnut cake and it will be just as good.

Ingredients For the Full 3-LAYER King’s Cake

6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
3 cups sour cream
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking soda
3 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used dutch cocoa powder)
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped

Ingredients For Frosting:

1 can sweetened condensed milk, cooked and at room temp (click here to see instructions)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cake Prep Instructions:

1. Grease and generously flour a 9″ non-stick cake pan.
2. On a dry skillet, over medium-high heat, toast 1 cup of walnuts until lightly golden then chop into small pieces.
Russian Korolevsky Cake-2

How to Make Each Cake Layer:

Preheat the Oven to 380 ˚ F. Make 3 separate layers, each layer is made the same way (steps 1 through 3) with a different mix-in at the end (step 5). So you end up with 3 separate cake layers: 1 with poppy seeds, 1 with chocolate and 1 with walnuts:1.
In the bowl of an stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar until pale yellow (4 minutes on medium/high speed). Reduce the speed to low and add 1 cup flour. Mix until well-blended.
Russian Korolevsky Cake-4
2. Put 1 cup sour cream in a large measuring cup. In a small ramekin, combine 1 tsp baking soda with 1 tsp vinegar. It will fizz up, then stir it right away into the sour cream.
Russian Korolevsky Cake-10
3. The sour cream will start to visibly rise. Once you notice it rising, mix it into the cake batter using a spatula.
Russian Korolevsky Cake-5
4. In the first cake batter, mix in 1 Tbsp cocoa. Repeat steps 1-3 but In the second cake batter, mix in 2 Tbsp poppy seeds and in the third cake batter, mix in 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts.
(with cocoa)
Russian Korolevsky Cake-6
(with poppy seeds:)
Russian Korolevsky Cake
(with walnuts:)
Russian Korolevsky Cake-8
5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 380˚F for 20-22 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake layers cool to room temperature.6. Frost the top of each layer. (See Frosting Instructions below)
Russian Korolevsky Cake-3
7. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Russian Korolevsky Cake-11

Frosting Instructions:

1. Using a whisk attachment, beat together on high speed the cooked sweetened condensed milk (at room temp) and 2 sticks of butter for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy.

Russian Korolevsky Cake-9

Frost once the cake is cooled to room temperature. If you refrigerate the frosting before using, it may become too stiff and you will need to let it stand 15 to 30 minutes until it’s spreadable.

Russian Korolevsky Cake (King's Cake)

4.7 from 15 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $10-$12
Serving: 10

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Full 3-LAYER Cake

  • 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped

Ingredients For Frosting:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, cooked and at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Cake Prep Instructions:
  2. Grease and generously flour a 9" non-stick cake pan.
  3. On a dry skillet, over medium-high heat, toast 1 cup of walnuts until lightly golden then chop into small pieces.

How to Make Each Cake Layer: Preheat the Oven to 380 ˚ F (read note before starting)

  1. In the bowl of an stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar until pale yellow (4 minutes on medium/high speed). Reduce the speed to low and add 1 cup flour. Mix until well-blended.
  2. Put 1 cup sour cream in a large measuring cup. In a small ramekin, combine 1 tsp baking soda with 1 tsp vinegar. It will fizz up, then stir it right away into the sour cream.
  3. The sour cream will start to visibly rise. Once you notice it rising, mix it into the cake batter using a spatula.
  4. In the first cake batter, mix in 1 Tbsp cocoa. Repeat steps 1-3 but In the second cake batter, mix in 2 Tbsp poppy seeds and in the third cake batter, mix in ½ cup toasted, chopped walnuts.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 380˚F for 20-22 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake layers cool to room temperature.
  6. Frost the top of each layer (see frosting instructions below)
  7. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting Instructions:

  1. Using a whisk attachment, beat together on high speed the cooked sweetened condensed milk and 2 sticks of butter for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy. Frost once the cake is cooled to room temperature.

Notes

Make 3 separate layers, each layer is made the same way (steps 1 through 3) with a different mix-in at the end (step 5). So you end up with 3 separate cake layers: 1 with poppyseeds, 1 with chocolate and 1 with walnuts.

If you refrigerate the frosting before using, it may become too stiff and you will need to let it stand 15 to 30 minutes until it's spreadable.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Natalia
    August 15, 2016

    Hello Natasha. Does it matter what brand of sour cream to use? Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 15, 2016

      Hi Natalia, it should be a thick sour cream. I always have great results with the Daisy brand, but most US brands would work 🙂 Reply

  • Mariam
    July 25, 2016

    Hi Natasha at the end did you put toasted walnuts or fresh ? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 25, 2016

      Hi Mariam, sorry I should have restated it in the instructions, it’s “1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped” 🙂 Reply

  • Dariya
    July 15, 2016

    Hi Natasha! I have a question. My layers take a very long time to bake like about an hour. At first I thought I did something wrong but my second layer took just as long to bake as the first one. Do you have any idea why that might be? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 15, 2016

      Hi Dariya, are you using the same size baking pan? 9″? And are you baking all 3 layers separately? 1 hour is definitely unusual. Reply

      • Dariya
        July 16, 2016

        Yes I’m using a 9″ pan and I’m baking them separately! And I went over all the steps a couple times to see if I missed something but I’m doing everything right.. Maybe something is wrong with my oven 😳 Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          July 16, 2016

          It must be. This cake would be burnt in my oven for an hour at that temp. And you are baking in fahrenheit, not Celsius, correct? Reply

  • April 14, 2016

    I am always worried that my cake will turn out dry..and this one doesn’t have any syrup to saturate with prior to putting the creme. is there any syrup you’d recommend making? thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 14, 2016

      I totally get where you are coming from. This cake does not require any syrup because it is naturally moist. It isn’t a sponge cake so a syrup is not ideal for this cake. Reply

  • March 28, 2016

    I want to frost the whole cake, what would you suggest adding to the frosting, to have enough? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2016

      Yes, you would want to increase the amount of frosting since this makes only enough to cover the layers. Reply

      • Natasha S.
        April 13, 2016

        Thanks. Also, about how long do you wait for the sour cream to rise before mixing it into the batter? Idk what I did wrong, my layers were heavy and not fluffy at all, I feel like they didn’t bake through completely although the crust was pretty dark. Temp was per recipe and I baked them to the max time you suggested. It’s either something I did wrong with the sour cream, or that my eggs were large not extra large. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          April 13, 2016

          Hi Natasha, I would say it’s very likely that it’s due to the eggs being the wrong size. Since baking is so much a science, I tread carefully when substituting ingredients. Also, with the sour cream mixture, just as soon as you see it visibly rise, which happens quickly (like seconds), you stir the sour cream in. You don’t want to wait too long. I sure hope that helps for next time. Also, did you mix the batter for the layers separately? You don’t want to let this cake batter sit at room temperature for long or it won’t rise properly. Reply

          • Natasha S.
            April 13, 2016

            Maybe it’s a California thing, but I haven’t seen XL eggs here, or maybe I haven’t really looked for them. I tried splitting an egg between the 3 layers to compensate a little more for the large eggs, haha but I doubt it was enough.
            With sour cream, as soon as i mixed the baking soda fizz into it, I saw the sour cream fill in the lines from where the spoon was and the mixture became smooth, I took that as the sign that it rose. And I made 3 separate layers, mixed them separately and as soon as I finished mixing each I poured each into the pan and baked. They did not sit on the counter at all.

          • Natasha
            natashaskitchen
            April 13, 2016

            I looked over my other cake recipes and I have made a similar cake with large eggs and the conversion was about 7 1/2 large eggs for 6 extra large eggs, so it really could have been the eggs that caused the problem.

  • Noella
    February 15, 2016

    This cake is sure from Russia))) We baked a cake 30 years ago. It was in the heart of Russia. Only the eggs in the recipe was 10, and the name of another ,funny Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 15, 2016

      Wow that’s awesome! I love it when recipes have strong history behind them 🙂 Reply

      • Noella
        February 15, 2016

        I`m from Ukraine .10 years I lived in Russia. I love to cook and good with dishes from different countries. So I collect recipes and prepare dishes of different peoples. I find it very interesting to cook new dishes. My first cake I had successfully prepared when I was 9 years old))) It was perfect ) Reply

  • Ira Tretnikova
    December 29, 2015

    Hi Natasha! Do I need to have three pans for this cake, or is it okay to use one pan and bake one at a time? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 30, 2015

      You can bake them one at a time 🙂 Reply

  • Daniel
    September 15, 2015

    One more thing… Do you think this cake was really from Russia or was it like the German chocolate cake that was actually made in the U.S??? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 15, 2015

      I haven’t heard anything about any other origin with this so I don’t think so. Reply

    • Roza
      March 30, 2016

      It is Russian cake, called “Hatasha”. Have this recipe for more then 35 years. Some people do raisins instead of chocolate layer. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 30, 2016

        Mmm raisins sound nice! Thanks for sharing that with us! Reply

  • Natasha
    natashaskitchen
    September 15, 2015

    Make sure you omit the nuts from the cake layer also. You could top it with fruit such as raspberries or blackberries, or shave a bar of chocolate with a potato peeler and just put chocolate shavings over the top. Here’s a cake where I used 2 poppyseed layers if you wanted to make it with just 2 layers instead of 3: http://natashaskitchen.com/2015/05/22/poppy-seed-sour-cream-cake-with-custard-cream/ Reply

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