Romanian cake Regina Maria or Queen Mary, a decadent yet easy to make a cake with a walnut base and a chocolate buttercream topping.
Prajitura Regina Maria is another famous and very old Romanian cake recipe, just like Greta Garbo Cake.
You could probably find a recipe for this cake in any old recipe notebook of a long-gone grandmother or great aunt in Romania, it is one of those typical Romanian cakes that anybody with a bit of interest in baking or eating cake knows.
Why is it called Prajitura Regina Maria or Queen Mary Cake?
Not sure actually. I've really tried to find something to explain the name of this chocolate buttercream cake, but no success. I only know that the Marie in question was the Queen Marie of Romania, the wife of King Ferdinand of Romania, who ruled Romania between 1914 and 1927.
She was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was the son of the well-known Queen Victoria. Marie married Ferdinand in the 1890s and she quickly became very popular in Romania, she was definitely more popular than her husband.
Maybe it was her popularity that enticed a pastry chef to create a cake named after her or maybe she used to enjoy eating a cake made in this manner.
However, this cake is indeed a royal delight. 🙂 The delicious walnut base made only with the egg whites and lots of roasted walnuts, which give it an amazing flavor is topped with a luscious chocolate cocoa buttercream layer and finished with even more chocolate in form of a shiny ganache. I am talking about real royal decadence here. 🙂
- Always use a digital kitchen scale when baking, especially when the cake involves more than stirring a few ingredients.
- The base of the cake and the chocolate mixture for the buttercream can be made a day in advance, they will need their time to cool completely anyway.
- Make sure that the bowl and the beaters of the mixer are very clean when you beat the egg whites. Any trace of fat will prevent them from getting stiff.
- Use unsalted butter for the buttercream.
- Both butter and chocolate mixture needs to have the same temperature (room temperature) before you start mixing them. If the temperature is not right, the buttercream will curdle.
- Don't taste the buttercream and stick your licked fingers or spoon into the buttercream again while you are still mixing it, spit might cause the buttercream to curdle as well.
- Prajitura Regina Maria keeps well in the fridge for at least 3-4 days. Keep in airtight containers and remove them the fridge about 30 minutes before serving.
More classic Romanian cakes:
Romanian Cake Regina Maria
- 200 g/ 7 oz walnuts
- 9 eggs divided (medium Germany, large US)
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cups sugar
- pinch of salt
- 65 g/ 2.3 oz/ ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- the 9 egg yolks set aside before
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz milk chocolate
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup unsalted butter soft
- 200 g/ 7 oz semisweet chocolate
- 200 ml/ 6.7 fl.oz/ scant 1 cup heavy cream
- silver or chocolate sprinkles to decorate optional
- You can make the base and the egg yolk-chocolate filling one day in advance, they both have to be completely cool before finishing the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a baking dish of approximately 23x33 cm/9x13 inches and line it with baking paper.
- Roast the walnuts in a pan until golden and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a large plate and let cool while you beat the egg whites. Chop the walnuts roughly.
- Separate the eggs. Set the egg yolks aside, you will need them for the buttercream. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
- Mix the flour and the baking powder together in a small bowl.
- Add the chopped roasted walnuts to the egg whites, sieve the flour mixture on top, and fold everything in the egg whites very gently.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until slightly golden. Let cool completely and melt the chocolate for the buttercream in the meantime, it also has to cool.
- To make the filling place the egg yolks, finely chopped milk chocolate, sugar, and cocoa powder in a heat-proof bowl.
- For the bain-marie choose an appropriate pot, so you can fit the bowl on top. Pour some water into the pot but make sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Put the bowl on top of the pot and warm gently, making sure that the water doesn't start to boil. If it starts to simmer remove from the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolk-chocolate mixture continuously until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture thickens. It will not take very long. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature.
- The butter also has to have room temperature. Beat the soft butter until pale and fluffy. Slowly start adding the chocolate mixture, one tablespoon at a time while beating all the time until everything is incorporated and the buttercream is fluffy.
- Place the base of the cake back into the clean baking dish and set aside.
- Spread the buttercream on top and level nicely.
- Pour the heavy cream into a small pot and bring to a simmer.
- In the meantime chop the chocolate very finely, I prefer to process it finely in the food processor.
- Place the chocolate into a bowl and pour the hot heavy cream on top of it. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk with the hand whisk until shiny. Make sure is not too hot, you can leave it for a few minutes, then spread the ganache on top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the cake with silver or chocolate sprinkles or whatever you like, this is optional.