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Russian Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe with Chocolate Glaze

This Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe (Ptichye Moloko) is made with an easy, soft, and moist sponge cake. Then, there is a layer of smooth custard buttercream and a thick layer of fluffy mousse-like marshmallow called “bird’s milk”. Finally, it is topped with a luxurious chocolate ganache. You’re going to love this one!
birds-milk-cake-on-a-plate-with-fork-sliced
Can agar agar be substituted for gelatin?

Yes, but I wouldn’t. Like the original cake, I use agar-agar, and in this recipe, it’s better to use agar gelatin.

Do I need a stand mixer to make the bird’s milk?

Although it’s possible to make this recipe with a hand mixer, combining the bird’s milk ingredients requires high speed, which is much easier to do with a stand mixer.

Can I substitute baking powder for baking soda?

No, the two are very different in taste. Here’s an article about why they’re not interchangeable.

What size of springform pan do I need?

I like to use a 9-inch cake pan.

Can I use cocoa powder for the ganache?

You will need milk chocolate chips for the ganache; the cocoa powder will not give you the consistency you need for the chocolate layer. Here’s a chocolate ganache recipe that you can use!

Do I have to make the sponge cake layer?

No, you can leave it out if you choose to.

birds-milk-cake-on-a-plate-with-fork-sliced
Depending on what part of the post-Soviet states you are from, there are numerous recipes for the legendary cake, but this one I love the most. Even though I was only six years old when my family left the Soviet Union, ptichye moloko cake (bird’s milk cake) is one of those desserts I haven’t forgotten. So glad my mom could recreate the flavors.

This is one of the easiest and most authentic cakes you can make. 

True Russian desserts are a classic for those of Slavic roots and culture, but can surprise people unfamiliar to them. Bird’s milk doesn’t mean we really extract milk from birds of any sort, but it’s a fun name to describe the creamy cake layer that goes atop the other cake layers. The top and sides of the cake are covered in a delicious chocolate ganache that just pulls together these flavors. In the layers of cake you taste originality and sweet years of perfecting this recipe. 27 762x1000

What is Bird’s Milk Cake?

This legendary soviet cake is an airy, creamy soufflé on sweet custard cream and a thin layer of sponge cake, all covered with a rich, smooth ganache. It was a favorite dessert in the post-soviet states. All Russians know this cake as ptichye moloko, while Ukrainians call it ptashyne mokoloko; in America, it has been translated to Bird’s Milk, meaning “milk of birds.” Ptichye Moloko was originated in Poland by Jan Wedel, who came up with the idea back in 1930 as a souffle candy called ptasie Mleczko, which you could find in European stores around the states or online. The sweets were so popular that they spread throughout the USSR, and then a Moscow confectioner Vladimir Guralnik transformed the delicate dessert into a cake. Bird’s Milk Cake recipe is one of my favorite cakes. Don’t let the name throw you off; this recipe doesn’t use bird’s milk. Bird’s Milk Cake is a loved dessert in Europe. The cake can be found premade at European stores around the country, but nothing compares if you make it yourself: and it’s not as complicated as it may look. [block_content]

Ingredients for Bird’s Milk Cake

For the sponge cake, you will need: 3 large eggs ½ cup sugar ½ tsp baking powder ½ cup all-purpose flour, unbleached Bird milk ingredients: 1 cup water 2 tsp agar agar 3 cups powdered sugar ¼ tsp dry vanilla 3 egg whites, room temperature 3 oz jello, lemon-flavored 2 Tbsp water ½ cup sugar 3 Tbsp milk Yellow custard buttercream: 3 egg yolks from large eggs ½ cup unsalted soft butter, softened, 1 stick Simple smooth ganache: 1 cup chocolate chips ½ cup heavy whipping cream 01 9 1000x668

Tips for Making Bird’s Milk Cake

A mistake that I usually make is not gathering all the ingredients ahead of time, only to find out that I don’t have all of what I need when I’ve already started. First tip: Prepare the ingredients ahead of time. The process of baking goes smoother when you don’t have to worry about where your ingredients are and the time it takes to get them out! Pulling them out and measuring beforehand makes baking go a lot smoother. Second tip: Make sure you have the time. Although this cake is not complicated, you need some patience for it. It comes together with a few different layers and needs time to set. Third tip: Like any cake, this one needs to be refrigerated. This cake can stand in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Fourth tip: Use lemon-flavored jello, and don’t substitute for another flavor. The taste of the bird’s milk will not be right if you do so. Fifth tip: Use visuals! Here is a video of how to make an easy sponge cake from our youtube channel. You will love this delicious dessert; the sponge cake is so simple to make, and you can with just 4 ingredients. The delicate mousse-like marshmallow layer is made in the same 9-inch cake pans as the sponge cake. Important Tip! The white bird’s milk mousse needs to be completely cooled down to pour the ganache over; otherwise, your cake will melt.

Step Instructions to Make One of the Most Popular Cakes in Ukraine and Russia 

birds-milk-cake-on-a-plate-with-fork-sliced

Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe with Chocolate Glaze (Ptichye Moloko)

This Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe (Ptichye Moloko) is made with an easy, soft, and moist sponge cake. Then, there is a layer of smooth custard buttercream and a thick layer of fluffy mousse-like marshmallow called “bird’s milk”. Finally, it is topped with a luxurious chocolate ganache. You’re going to love this one!
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Russian
Allergy: Nut Free, Vegetarian
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 474kcal

Equipment

  • Spatula set
  • Stand mixer
  • hand mixer
  • whisk
  • Cake spatula

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp agar-agar
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp dry vanilla
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 oz jello, lemon flavored
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk, I used 2%
  • 3 egg yolks, from large eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, 1 stick
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Butter up a 9″ round cake form.
    buttered-cake-spring-form
  • In a stand mixer, beat together 3 large eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar until pale and well blended on high speed. On low speed, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 cup of flour.
    sponge-cake-recipe-stand-mix-whisk
  • With the help of a spatula, transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
    sponge-cake-recipe
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Set on a cooling rack.
    sponge-cake
  • Combine a 3oz package of lemon-flavored jello with 2 Tablespoons of water. Microwave for 30 seconds (another healthier option is to warm it up on the stove). Set aside until ready to use.
    birds-milk-cake-ptichye-moloko-cake-jello-lemon
  • In a stand mixer on high, beat 3 egg whites from large eggs. Add in 1/4 teaspoon of dry vanilla. Keep beating until you combine the other ingredients.
    stand-mixer-whisk-white-birds-milk
  • On the stove, in a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of agar-agar on medium heat, and bring to a boil.
    saucepan-whisk-boil
  • Add in 4 cups of powdered sugar, whisk together and boil for exactly 6 minutes (no less – no more). Take off the heat and quickly do the following two steps.
    agar-agar-boiling-in-silver-pot-wooden-board-whisk
  • Add the jello mix to the egg whites. Keep mixing.
    ptichye-moloko-cake-recipe-in-stand-mixer
  • With the mixer still beating, pour in the sugar powder syrup. Mix for 3 minutes.
    souffle-white-in-mixer-agar-agar
  • Transfer the bird’s milk mousse into the same size cake pan that you used for the sponge cake.
    bird's-milk-cake-in-springform
  • Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Meanwhile you can make the cream:
  • On the stove or the microwave, bring to a boil 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 Tablespoons of milk, and 3 egg yolks from large eggs.
    buttercream-cluster-in-saucepan
  • Place in the refrigerator to cool down.
  • After it cools down completely (30 minutes or so) in a mixing bowl, combine with 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter using a hand mixer.
    buttercream-recipe-for-ptichye-moloko-cake-with-mixer
  • Spread the buttercream on the sponge cake.
    sponge-cake-with-buttercream
  • Gently take out the bird’s milk mousse from the form and place it on the buttercream.
    birds-milk-cake-on-a-wire-rack-sponge-cake-and-buttercream
  • Place it back into the refrigerator until the ganache is ready.
  • Important! The bird’s milk layer must be completely cooled down to pour the ganache over; otherwise, your cake will melt.
    genache-for-birds-milk-cake
  • Melt chocolate chips and combine with heavy whipping cream to make the ganache. Spread the ganache all over the cake.
    ptichye-moloko-cake-birds-milk-recipe-cake-covered-with-genache
  • Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 70g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

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