praga cake

I made this lovely cake for my birthday last week. I wanted something elegant and indulgent and chocolate-y and this recipe happened to catch my eye, I've been staring at it for the most of my childhood on pages of an old cookbook. It's a classic, remotely similar to Sachertorte (the composition of chocolate cake, apricots, chocolate icing) but this is better. I mean, if you like buttercream and all kinds of creamy goodness. If you've been following my entries, you must have noticed that I love meringue in all possible ways and almost always make Swiss meringue buttercream for my cakes, but this is so much better.

Swiss meringue is surely better for decorating cakes, it has this very pale colour you can easily change into whichever you want and the consistency is lovely, too, but if you want to show off & indulge, this is the buttrecream you're looking for :) It's creamy and milky and not overly sweet, thanks to the cocoa. It's velvety and reach and melts inside your mouth the same way the filling of Lindt's Lindor pralines does - that's also why it's best sever chilled, the sensation of a cold bit of chocolate goodness melting on your tongue is to die for. I'm not too happy about making my own birthday cake - there's something sad to it, I guess - but this one was definitely worth it and I can't wait to make it again!

praga cake

sponge cake

4 eggs, whites & yolks separated
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tbsp baking powder
100 g melted butter

line a 18 cm (7”) baking pan with parchment paper
beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are foamy, then add the sugar in 3-4 portions, beat until the eggs are stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved
beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy, 2-3 minutes
fold the egg yolks into the egg whites delicately with a spoon/spatula
sift the flour with cocoa and baking powder, add to the eggs and fold in very carefully – don’t use a mixer here, do it by hand – until there are no flour lumps, then add the melted butter and fold again until the batter is smooth
pour into the pan, bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 35-40 minutes, check if it’s ready with a toothpick
cool down completely before removing from the pan and peeling off the paper
cut in 3 even layers (you may cut off the top it if it’s too uneven)

condensed milk buttercream

400 g butter (cooler than room temp, it shouldn’t be too soft)
200 ml sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
15 g cocoa powder
vanilla extract

mix the yolks in the condensed milk and cook on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from getting lumpy / burned, until it reaches a consistency of custard (it should coat the back of your spoon/spatula with a layer of custard, that means the thickness is right)
cool down in a bigger bowl of cold water until room temp
beat the butter until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes
add the condensed milk in 4 portions, mixing well after each addition
at the end, add the cocoa and a splash of vanilla extract and mix until the buttercream in even and there are no lumps
if it’s not thick enough (if the butter was too soft) let sit in fridge for half an hour before using

chocolate “icing”

50 g butter
50 g sugar
2 tbsp water
80 g dark chocolate

put the butter, sugar and water into a pan, bring to boil, make sure the butter has melted
take off the stove, add chopped chocolate, stir until it’s melted and creates a nice homogenous icing


6 tbsp apricot jam

heat the apricot jam until it’s slightly runny spread it over all three layers of cake, it should sink in
divide the buttercream in 3 portions
line the sides of your pan with parchment paper, it should be 5 cm /2” higher than your sponge cake
put the first piece of cake into the pan, spread 1 portion of buttercream over it, repeat 2 times
pour slightly warm icing over the final layer
let the cake sit in fridge for at least 3 hours before taking it out of the pan and transferring onto a plate/cake stand
serve chilled


  1. hi niko! what a beautiful cake... love your photos, glad i found you (via Poppytalk!) ... happy birthday, too! ^__^

  2. This looks amazing.. At what point in the sponge cake do you add the melted butter? Thank you.

    1. You add the butter after you folded in the flour and the fold it again until the batter is smooth - sorry I missed that piece, fixed now :)

  3. We can barely read the font. The color is too light. The cake looks delicious though.

    1. Thank you for letting me know - no one had mentioned any problems for all that time but since it might be an issue, I changes the text color to darker grey. Hopefully it will be much easier to read now!

  4. You have made it so perfectly, Yummy cake my GOD, so much perfection I always failed to make perfect cakes. My cake sponge always gets hard. Please help with this

  5. Eres una inspiración, continúa con el increíble trabajo. ¡CPS Test es una excelente manera de pasar el tiempo y divertirse! ¡Pruébalo ahora!