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A simple, crumbly, sweet and delicious cake recipe made topped with jam, walnuts and streusel.
After the Famous Romanian Cakes Series from last month, featuring extremely delicious yet rather laborious to make Romanian cakes like the Romanian Chocolate Cake Boema or the Romanian Lemon Cake – Lamaita, I am getting back to the basics now and give you the recipe for a super easy to make Romanian cake, the so-called Prajitura razuita or the Grated Cake.
This is another old cake recipe, which most Romanian grandmothers have a recipe for, they are all slightly different but the principle is the same: one simple dough, jam and nuts. It is actually a cake made mostly in the winter months, not because its taste fits that season better, but mostly because it is made with ingredients, which were found in the pantry mostly in the winter months during my grandmother’s time, ingredients like jam, nuts and lard.
However, although I make this cake in the winter months as well, the season is not decisive anymore nowadays. And the cake tastes just as good in summer as in winter. Actually the last time I’ve made this (last week) I was happy the weather was so nice and the kids could eat their cake in the garden. Why? Well, the cake is pretty crumbly (like the name says) and I was glad to have all the crumbles scattered in the grass where the birds can eat them, rather then in the kitchen where I would have to sweep them away myself later… 🙂
Originally, this cake is made with lard which was plenty in the pantry during those times when people used to slaughter a pig every December shortly before Christmas. I have used lard myself in baking many times and I like the tenderness it provides.
And use whatever jam you have and like, I used my beloved Simple Apricot Jam this time but you could also use this Black Currant Refrigerator Jam, the Rhubarb Strawberry Jam or the Rhubarb Raspberry Jam. Plum jam or plum butter would be particularly delicious as well, however I have not posted a recipe for those kind of jams yet.
When it comes to nuts, the walnuts would always be the typical Romanian choice. Walnuts are thriving in Romania and are just so good, but you could use hazelnuts or almonds instead. The taste of the cake would change slightly, but hazelnuts and almonds are delicious as well, so no loss there.
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup lard, very soft
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cups sugar + 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cups sugar
- 3 eggs, divided into egg yolks and egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 500 g/ 17.6 oz/ 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 sachet Dr. Oetker baking powder
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon ground walnuts/ hazelnuts/ almonds
- 200 g/ 7 oz apricot jam (or other jam you like)
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking dish, about 32x22 cm/ 12x9 inches.
Divide 3 of the eggs. Set the egg whites aside for the filling of the cake.
Place the butter, the 3 egg yolks, the remaining whole egg and 150 g/ ¾ cup of the sugar in a bowl and mix until pale and fluffy.
Mix the flour and the baking powder together and give them over the butter egg mixture. Mix until incorporated but don't overdo it. Take about one third of the dough, wrap it in cling film and place it the freezer until you prepare the rest.
Break the rest of the dough into several pieces, flatten them a bit and place them into the prepared baking dish. Press them with your hands and fingers until you get an even layer that covers the bottom of the baking dish entirely.
Clean the beaters of the mixer very thoroughly before beating the egg white. If there are any fatty traces on them the egg whites will not get stiff. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Slowly add the remaining 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cups sugar and continue beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Fold in the ground walnuts and the stirred jam. Give this mixture over the dough layer in the baking dish and level.
Take the remaining dough out of the freezer and grate it evenly over the cake. Use the coarse shredder on your box grater.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares. It keeps well for several days in an airtight container.
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