How to bake the Soviet-era cake, 'Day and Night',  a symbol of harmony in contrasts (RECIPE)

Do you want to amaze your family with an unusual, yet simple-to-cook cake? Then give this recipe a shot!

Do you want to amaze your family with an unusual, yet simple-to-cook cake? Then give this recipe a shot!

Olga Brovkina
Homemade cakes are never easy to make and the results can vary greatly, depending on one’s skill. But their yummy sweet taste usually surpasses those cakes made in stores in a conveyor-belt style. This is certainly true about our “Day and Night” cake.

Among one of the most popular recipes in Soviet times, I can easily recall “Day and Night” cake. The combination of bitter chocolate with delicate creamy notes from the butter and condensed milk leave an unforgettable and original taste in your mouth. “Day and Night” cake symbolizes harmony and balance of life. 

This cake recipe doesn’t leave you standing at the stove for half of the day, baking dozens of sponge cakes. After just a few hours, you can enjoy this cake’s delightful flavor the entire weekend.   

There’s more good news – the recipe doesn’t cost much to make, and the taste won’t disappoint as you might expect from a ‘cheap’ cake. The combination of basic everyday ingredients works wonders, giving the cake the fragrant aroma of cacao and rich cream. In Soviet times, housewives added custard (pastry cream) to the dough which was sold in briquettes. Today, women replace this ingredient with ordinary products such as eggs, sour cream and vanilla sugar. 

Ingredients for 8 servings: 

For a light-colored cake:

  • Eggs - 2 pcs
  • Sour cream 20% - 200 g
  • Sugar - 150 g
  • Flour - 200 g
  • Soda — 1 teaspoon 
  • Vanilla sugar - 1 teaspoon
  • A pinch of salt 

For a dark-colored cake:

  • Eggs - 2 pcs
  • Sour cream 20% - 200 g
  • Sugar - 150 g
  • Flour - 180 g
  • Cocoa powder - 25 g
  • Soda — 1 teaspoon
  • Vanilla sugar - 1 teaspoon
  • A pinch of salt 

For the syrup:

  • Water — 100 ml
  • Sugar — 1 tablespoon 

For the cream:

  • Butter - 200 g
  • Condensed milk — 1 jar or 380 g 

For the filling:

  • Roasted peanuts - about 100 g 


1. Light dough: Mix eggs together with sugar and vanilla sugar for 2-4 minutes. The mass should become big in volume and light, and the grains of sugar should partially dissolve.

2. Then add soda to the sour cream. Stir thoroughly to dissolve the powder.

3. Put the sour cream mass into the egg mass, add a pinch of salt and start the mixer again. Mix for a very short time, only until the ingredients combine.

4. Gradually, spoon after spoon, pour in the sifted flour, mixing each portion with a whisk or silicone spatula. Eventually, you’ll get a homogeneous light color dough.

5. Transfer the dough into a mold with a diameter of 20 cm, making it even. Don’t forget to cover the bottom with parchment paper or grease it with oil.

6. Put the mold into the oven preheated to a temperature of 180°C. Bake the dough for about 30-35 minutes. Check the readiness by piercing the center with a wooden stick — there shouldn’t be any raw dough on it.

7. Now it’s time to bake the dark-colored cake. Please note that there’ll be less flour here because it’s partially replaced by dry cocoa powder. Apart from this, we will prepare the dough in the same way as the light-colored cake - beat eggs with sugar and vanilla sugar, add salt and sour cream with soda. The next step is to mix the flour and cocoa separately, sift and gradually add to the liquid mass. Stir until the mass is homogeneous and of a rich dark color.

8. Again, place the dough into a mold with a diameter of 20 cm; level it up. Then bake the dark cake similarly to the light one for 30-35 minutes.

9. After baking it’s time to cool the cakes. Cut the uneven tops of the biscuits with a knife and put them aside for later, when we’ll  decorate the cake. After that, cut each cake lengthwise into two parts of approximately the same thickness. In total, we will have four cakes.

10. Let’s make the cream. Take soft, melted butter and whisk with a mixer until it’s fluffy. Gradually pour the condensed milk, continuing mixing and bringing the cream to a homogeneous texture.

11. Peel and fry the peanuts on a frying pan for several minutes.

12. Wait until it has cooled and chop the peanuts into small pieces.

13. For the syrup, dissolve the sugar completely in hot water and cool. Moisten the first cake, let it be the light-colored one, and add about a quarter of the buttercream. Apply it as a thin even layer. Sprinkle with peanuts. 

14. Then take the dark-colored cake. Grease with syrup, level with cream, and sprinkle with peanuts. This way we collect the whole cake. Take the remaining  butter with condensed milk and make a thin layer on the cake’s top and sides.

15. Separately, in a blender, crush the light and dark pieces taken off the cake tops . Now decorate the cake with dark and light crumbs; for example, you can sprinkle half of the cake with light crumbs, and the rest with dark, or make a design. Put "Day and Night" cake in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Enjoy! 

READ MORE:  Kruglik: A dream pie for a Cossack wedding (RECIPE)

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