Black poodle cake

Hi Russian Bites readers! I’m so excited to share my very first recipe here. If you read Healthy and Sane, you may know I have the biggest sweet tooth. It’s no wonder that the black poodle cake was the very first family recipe I tried to recreate in my very own kitchen.

The cake is called “black poodle” because it looks like that curly head of a poodle. It uses a traditional Russian cake base and sour cream “frosting” but combines the two in this playful way. My family got a hold of this recipe many many years ago from a friend of a friend of a friend and ever since it has become part of our standard holiday repertoire. To this day, it remains to be one of my absolute favorites. The sour cream cream (that’s confusing, huh? 😉 ) is killer – cool and sweet – and the chocolate ganache just puts it over the top! Wanna see how it’s made? It’s actually surprisingly simple (don’t let the abundance of pictures f00l you – I’m trying to make you feel like you were in my kitchen while I was making it)!

Note: it’s best to make the cake layer at least 24-48 hours before adding cream and ganache. This provides for enough time for the cake to get slightly stale so that the cream doesn’t make it soggy but rather absorbs nicely, moistening it. The cream can also be made the night before. Assemble the cake at least several hours before serving. It needs time to set.


Cake base:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 200g of sour cream (low fat ok)
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1T distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (low fat ok)
  • 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3T unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 800 grams of sour cream (low fat ok)
  • 1 cup sugar

Chocolate ganache:

  • 5T sugar
  • 5T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 150 grams butter


  • 1/2-1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins


1. Combine baking soda + vinegar.

The vinegar should activate the baking soda and it will instantly foam up.

2. Beat eggs + sugar together, until frothy:

3. Add baking soda mix to eggs/sugar. Add the rest of the (cake layer) ingredients to the bowl, one by one. Mix until well incorporated before adding the next ingredient.

4. Pour batter into pre-greased 9″ round pan.

5. Bake at 430* for 25-30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)

6. Let cool for 24-48 hours.


Combine sour cream + sugar

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. The sugar should dissolve into the sour cream.


1. Cut a thin layer of the cake and set aside (it’s in the back)

2. Cut the remaining cake layer into small cubes

3. Dip each cube into the cream, then place over the base.

4. Once you have a full first layer, sprinkle with walnuts and raisins (amounts to taste)

5. Repeat layer by layer, until all cubes and cream are used up.

*If some cream is left, just pour it over the whole cake.

Mmm, do lick your fingers. 😉 The stuff is AMAZING!


1. Combine cocoa powder, butter and sugar and melt over a simmering pot of water.

Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved (see how in the picture above there are still sugar granules? Make sure you don’t see them by the end, just keep mixing!).

2. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour over cake.

Done! Let it set for a few hours. The ganache should solidify.

The best part… enjoy a slice with some company! Do tell them this is a Russian recipe. They will be impressed! 😆

I just couldn’t help myself with all those pictures. Maybe because I know what it tastes like, they seem extra mouth-watering.

Ok and now I’m officially hungry. Time for lunch! See you later this week with another family favorite!

What’s your favorite kind of cake?

34 comments to Black poodle cake

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