Slice of birds milk cake.

Decadent & Delicate: Bird’s Milk Cake

This Bird’s Milk Cake boasts a unique and unforgettable flavor and appearance. The airy and fluffy soufflé is delicately nestled between layers of honey flavored wafer. With every bite, you’re treated to a delightful array of flavors and textures: a hint of sweet honey, decadent buttercream, and marshmallow soufflé that’s irresistibly squishy and soft. The whole cake is covered with chocolate glaze.

Birds milk cake in a cake box.

Chronicles of Birds Milk

This cake, with its intriguing name, was invented almost a century ago. The renowned Polish confectioner, Ptasie Mleczko, embarked on its journey in 1936, and its popularity extended far beyond Polish borders into the USSR and other Eastern European countries. The name “Bird’s Milk” carries a mythical and metaphorical meaning.

The expression “Bird’s Milk” has roots in the ancient world, symbolizing something rare, precious, and hard to find – a rare and unseen miracle. It appears in fairy tales and folklore, where knights and princes embark on quests to find bird’s milk to please their maidens, as it is believed to possess healing and rejuvenating powers. In Armenia, the saying of “Milk of a Swallow” has its own unique significance, representing something elusive yet highly rewarding if obtained.

The Bird’s Milk Cake, known as “Ptichye Moloko” in Russian, began its journey at the Pragha restaurant in Moscow. It was a rare delicacy, and those fortunate enough to taste it considered themselves lucky. As it gained popularity, this soufflé cake spread throughout Russia, Eastern Europe, and post-Soviet states. Home cooks and bakers brought there own twist, resulting in a broad spectrum of variations.

This particular version of the cake is a cherished family recipe.

What’s unique about this Recipe?

  • The cake stores really well.
  • You can make the cake in stages and in advance.
  • Cut in small pieces as Petits fours.

Grocery List for Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe

Birds Milk Cake Ingredients.
  • Butter: You will need butter for both cake layers and crème mousseline. Use unsalted butter. For the buttercream, have the butter at room temperature.
  • Sugar: This recipe is using sugar for all the components. Use white granulated sugar.
  • Honey: Honey is added to the batter for the cake layers. Use honey that you enjoy eating.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar brings the acidity level up.
  • Baking Soda: This acts as a leavener. Combining baking soda with vinegar creates a chemical reaction and helps the dough rise.
  • Eggs: You will need whole eggs for the cake butter and separated eggs for buttercream and soufflé. Yolks for creme, and whites for the soufflé.
  • Flour: Cake batter uses all-purpose flour.
  • Milk: Milk is used for making the custard for mousseline cream.
  • Gelatin: Gelatin is used for making the marshmallow soufflé.
  • Heavy cream: For the chocolate ganache glaze.
  • Chocolate: For the chocolate ganache glaze.

Time Required:

Bake in a 400°F (200°C) preheated oven.

  • 15-20 minutes: To make the dough
  • 30 minutes: Rolling and balling the sheets
  • 30 minutes: To make buttercream. This also includes chilling the pastry cream.
  • 10 minutes: Assembly and making marshmallow soufflé

Special Tools to Use:

  • Mixer
  • Double boiler
  • Sauce pan
  • Bowls
  • Whisks and spatulas

Recipe Steps at a Glance

  • Making the cake layers: This can be done a week in advanced. Bake and store covered in a dry place.
  • Making the butter cream: The crème mousseline has two components: pastry cream and butter. The pastry cream can be make 3-4 days in advance (and frozen). Defrost and bring to room temperature
  • Assembling the cake: This step is broken down into three parts.
  • Making the marshmallow soufflé: This step requires you to act quickly. This should be make fresh and applied immediately before it starts hardening.
  • Making the glaze: Can be made in advance since it needs time to thicken. However, you can make it a day in advance and gently melt in a microwave or on top of a double boiler.

How to Make Step by Step

Step 1: Making the honey dough

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a double boiler, begin by melting the butter, then add the sugar, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Next, pour in the honey and thoroughly combine the ingredients.

Now, add the soda and pour vinegar over it. Expect the batter to foam up. Vigorously whisk everything until the mixture is well integrated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together and gently fold them into the batter.

Gradually introduce the flour, and as soon as it’s fully incorporated, remove the bowl from the heat. Mix until the flour is well integrated. Allow the dough to cool, but it should still be warm. It should be slightly sticky but manageable. Knead by hand for a few minutes. If it feels overly sticky, add a bit more flour.

Divide the dough into four equal balls. Place a baking sheet upside down and cut four sheets of parchment paper to size. On each sheet of parchment paper, roll out each dough ball into your desired shape (round or square), aiming for a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch. As you roll out the sheets, generously dust the dough with flour.

Position the dough along with the parchment paper on a baking sheet, this makes it easier to handle the baked cake layers. Bake each sheet for 7-10 minutes or until they turn a lovely golden brown.

While the sheets are still warm, trim them to your desired size using a sharp knife. Keep in mind that the layers will become harder and more brittle as they cool.

Allow all four layers to cool on a wire rack. Repeat this process for all the cake layers, ensuring they’re the same size.

Step 2: Making the crème mousseline

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it reaches a simmer. In a heatproof glass bowl, whip the egg yolk and sugar until white and pale. Fold in the cornstarch. Scrape the bowl to make sure it’s all incorporated. Gradually pour in the hot milk in add the hot milk in a steady stream while whisking continuously. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan.

Place the saucepan over low heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens to a custard-like consistency. Transfer to a clean bowl, lay on some plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the pastry cream either in the refrigerator or over an ice bath. Make sure no water gets into the cream.

For this next step, the pastry cream and the butter should be at room temperature.

Using an electric mixer, whip the pastry cream until fluffy. Add the butter pieces one by one and whip until fully incorporated. Within 3 minutes you will have creamy, luscious crème mousseline.

Step 3: Assembling the cake part 1


Lay the first sheet on a cake board, then generously apply a cupful of crème mousseline, spreading it evenly. Add the second sheet on top and apply another layer of the crème.

Now, proceed to the next step in making the soufflé.

Place the first sheet on a cake board. Apply a cupful of crème mousseline and spread evenly. Place the second sheet on top. Apply the second application of the creme.

Go to the next step of making the soufflé…

Step 4: Making the soufflé and finishing the cake

Prepare a standing mixer equipped with a whisk attachment.

In a measuring heat-proof cup, dissolve the gelatin in a water and let it bloom. Once bloomed heat in the microwave until it liquefies.

In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar, ensuring there’s ample space for the liquid to bubble up.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.

When the syrup reaches 225°F (105°C), begin preparing the meringue.

Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches 240°F (115°C), which typically takes around 10 minutes. When the syrup reaches 225°F (105°C), begin preparing the meringue.

Be aware that the sugar syrup will bubble up vigorously.

In a separate bowl, combine egg whites with cream of tartar and whip until they become foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft peaks form.

Pour the hot syrup over the gelatin and whisk briefly.

Slowly pour the cooked syrup into the egg white mixture, doing so from the side to avoid hitting the whisk.

Once all the syrup is incorporated, increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high and beat the mixture until it forms a stiff peak.

Step 5: Assembling the cake part II

Spread a generous layer of soufflé over the second sheet (half of the mixture). Then, carefully place the third sheet on top, gently pressing to ensure it’s flat and even. Apply another layer of cream on this sheet and place the last fourth sheet over it. Apply the butter cream, and immediately pour the rest of the soufflé and smoothen it with an offset spatula.

Step 6: Making the chocolate glaze

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and 1/4 cup of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and whisk until it’s completely melted, resulting in a smooth glaze. Allow it to cool until it thickens but is still pour-able.

Drizzle the glaze over the finished cake. You can choose to either fully cover the sides of the cake with the glaze or let it gently cascade down the sides.

Tips and Wisdom from Cafe Osharak

  • This cake involves several steps, and many of its components can be prepared well in advance for convenience. The cake layers, for instance, can be baked up to a week ahead, wrapped tightly, and stored in a dry place.
  • It’s easier to roll out the dough when it is still warm.
  • Cut the baked sheets to the desired size while they are hot and soft. Once they cool down they become brittle. You can also trim the cake after applying assembling. Wait until the cream softens the sheets and trim the edges.
  • The buttercream can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It also freezes well. Before you begin the assembly, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and give it a good whisk to fluff it up. This prep work makes the final steps a breeze.
  • Start making the soufflé right after you assemble the second sheet of the cake. The soufflé will start hardening really quickly so you want to have everything ready to work fast.
  • When cutting the cake, run the knife in hot water and wipe it dry. You will get a clean edge in your slices.
  • The chocolate glaze will lose its shine in the refrigerator. To restore its glossiness, use a hair dryer on it’s lowest warmth setting. Keep the dryer 20 inches above the cake, moving constantly over the surface until the glaze begins to look glossy again.
Piece of birds milk cake and coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called birds milk?

The cake’s creation can be traced back to the Pragha restaurant in Moscow. It drew inspiration from the Polish candy, Ptasie Mleczko, which consists of soufflé covered in chocolate. The name “Bird’s Milk” carries an allegorical meaning, referring to something rare and elusive, much like a treasure from a folk tale, which served as a wellspring of inspiration.

Can you freeze birds milk cake?

This cake freezes well. You can keep the cake in the freezer for 2-3 months. The glaze will loose it shine. If you plan on freezing the whole cake for later use, you can skip the glazing step and apply the glaze after defrosting it. Place the cake in a freezer friendly container and close tightly. Defrost in the refrigerator a day in advance.

More Recipes to Try From Cafe Osharak

If you try out this recipe, I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you find it delicious and straightforward to prepare. I am here to answer any questions and provide any suggestions. Also, be sure to explore other recipes from Cafe Osharak, as I’m sure you’ll love them too!

Decadent & Delicate: Bird’s Milk Cake

This Bird's Milk Cake boasts a unique and unforgettable flavor and appearance. The airy and fluffy soufflé is delicately nestled between layers of honey flavored wafer. With every bite, you're treated to a delightful array of flavors and textures: a hint of sweet honey, decadent buttercream, and marshmallow soufflé that's irresistibly squishy and soft. The whole cake is covered with chocolate glaze.
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Birds Milk Cake Honey Finished 12s 1
Prep Time:1 hour
Cook Time:30 minutes
Waiting:30 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Armenian
|
European

Ingredients

Dough

  • 100 g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups flour

Crème mousseline

  • 2 cup milk warm to hot
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 200 g butter Soften at room. temp
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Soufflé

  • 2 tablespoon gelatin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ cup sugar

Glaze

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 200 g semisweet chocolate

Instructions

Making cake layers

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Start by melting the butter in a double boiler. Then add the sugar, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Pour in the honey and mix everything thoroughly.
    100 g butter, 1 cup sugar, 5 tablespoon honey
  • Add the soda and pour vinegar over it, and expect the batter to foam up. Whisk everything vigorously until well integrated.
    1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together, then gently fold them into the batter.
    4 eggs
  • Gradually introduce the flour into the batter. Remove the bowl from the heat as soon as the flour is fully incorporated. Mix until the flour is well integrated. Allow the dough to cool, but it should still be warm and slightly sticky but manageable. Knead it by hand for a few minutes. If it feels overly sticky, add a bit more flour.
    4 cups flour
  • Divide the dough into four equal balls.
  • Place a baking sheet upside down and cut four sheets of parchment paper to size. Roll out each dough ball into your desired shape (round or square) on each parchment paper, aiming for a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch. While rolling, generously dust the dough with flour.
  • Position each dough sheet along with the parchment paper on a baking sheet, which makes it easier to handle the baked cake layers. Bake each sheet for 7-10 minutes or until they turn a lovely golden brown.
  • While the sheets are still warm, trim them to your desired size using a sharp knife. Keep in mind that the layers will become harder and more brittle as they cool.
  • Allow all four layers to cool on a wire rack. Repeat this process for all the cake layers, ensuring they’re the same size.

Making the buttercream

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan until it reaches a simmer. Mix in the vanilla extract.
    2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • In a heatproof glass bowl, whip the egg yolk and sugar until it turns white and pale. Fold in the cornstarch. Make sure it’s all incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.
    2 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while whisking continuously. Then pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan over low heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
  • Let the custard cool completely before adding the room-temperature butter.
  • Use an electric mixer to whip the pastry cream until it becomes fluffy. Add the butter pieces one by one and whip until fully incorporated. Within 3 minutes, you will have a creamy, luscious crème mousseline.
    200 g butter

Making the soufflé

  • Prepare a standing mixer equipped with a whisk attachment.
  • In a measuring heat-proof cup, dissolve the gelatin in water and let it bloom. Once bloomed, heat it in the microwave until it liquefies.
    2 tablespoon gelatin
  • In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar, ensuring there's ample space for the liquid to bubble up. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.
    ½ cup sugar
  • When the syrup reaches 225°F (105°C), begin preparing the meringue. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches 240°F (115°C), which typically takes around 10 minutes. Be aware that the sugar syrup will bubble up vigorously.
    ½ cup water
  • In a separate bowl, combine egg whites with cream of tartar and whip until they become foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form.
    4 egg whites, ¼ cup sugar
  • Pour the hot syrup over the gelatin and whisk briefly.
  • Slowly pour the cooked syrup into the egg white mixture, doing so from the side to avoid hitting the whisk.
  • Once all the syrup is incorporated, increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high and beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.

Making the glaze

  • Bring cream, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to boil in a heavy medium saucepan.
    1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water
  • Stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Add chocolate and whisk until melted and the glaze is smooth.
    200 g semisweet chocolate
  • Let cool until thick but still pour-able.

Assembling the cake

  • Put the first sheet of cake on a cake-board, and spread the buttercream on it.
  • Place the second sheet on top of the buttercream.
  • NOTE: Start making the soufflé.
  • Immediately pour half of the soufflé on the cake and smooth it out.
  • Put the third sheet on top of the soufflé and spread the buttercream on it.
  • Add the fourth sheet on top of the buttercream.
  • Cover the rest of the soufflé with the final sheet of cake. Allow the cake to become moistened with the cream and soufflé before trimming the sides and decorating.
  • Lastly, pour the glaze over the cake and complete the finishing touches.

Notes

  • This cake involves several steps, and many of its components can be prepared well in advance for convenience. The cake layers, for instance, can be baked up to a week ahead, wrapped tightly, and stored in a dry place.
  • The buttercream can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It also freezes well. Before you begin the assembly, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and give it a good whisk to fluff it up. This prep work makes the final steps a breeze.
  • Start making the soufflé right after your reach to the step when you apply it. The soufflé will start hardening really quickly so you want to have everything ready to work fast.
  • When cutting the cake, run the knife in a hot water and whip it dry. You will get a clean edge in your slices.
  • The chocolate glaze will lose its shine in the refrigerator. To restore its glossiness, use a hair dryer on a lowest warm setting. Keep the dryer 20 inches above the cake, moving constantly over the surface until the glaze begins to look glossy again.

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 432mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 24 people
Calories: 440kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @osharak.cafe or tag #osharak.cafe!

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