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Bird’s milk cake – recipe for the world’s best Russian soufflé cake

Bird's milk cake – recipe for the world's best Russian soufflé cake

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Airy, tender, fluffy – a heavenly treat is the popular Bird’s milk cake. There is certainly no other cake in the world that tastes better than the Russian soufflé cake. Not without reason, during the Soviet era, it was counted among a jewel that you couldn’t get hold of without effort. Here I’ll show you how to make the Bird’s milk cake yourself at home. You can find a detailed recipe for the Bird’s milk cake with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions here at the very bottom.

One of the most popular cakes of the Soviet era

Bird’s milk cake was one of the most popular cakes during the Soviet era. You couldn’t buy it everywhere or at any time back then. In the confectioneries, which had the cake in their assortment, you had to stand in a huge queue for hours to eventually get the soufflé cake. And what a happiness it was when you finally got hold of the Bird’s milk cake and could enjoy it at home. The recipe for it was kept secret in those days.

Where does the name of the cake come from?

The Bird’s milk cake was created in Moscow’s Prague restaurant by a team of pastry chefs led by Vladimir Guralnik. It was inspired by a chocolate-covered soufflé confection bearing the same name “Bird’s milk”, which was first invented in Poland. According to ancient mythology, bird’s milk is considered something valuable, special and rare. That is exactly what the cake was at that time. That is why it got this name.

Russian soufflé cake

What is Russian Bird’s milk cake made of?

The cake base for the Bird’s milk cake is a mixture of shortcrust and sponge dough. The dough is prepared with egg yolks, which are left over anyway, as egg whites are used for the cream. This makes the cake base very tender and after baking it practically melts in your mouth. It’s not as soft as classic sponge cake dough, but it’s also not as crumbly as regular shortbread. It’s more like something in between – a unique flavor combination that you’re guaranteed to be delighted with. The cake cream is a very delicate soufflé made with beaten egg whites, sugar syrup as well as butter cream. The sugar syrup also contains agar-agar, which ensures that the soufflé becomes firm after cooling. The butter cream provides a certain creaminess to the soufflé. From the outside, the Bird’s milk cake is also covered with chocolate glaze.

Do not reduce the amount of sugar for the soufflé

Maybe the amount of sugar you need for the soufflé seems too much at first. However, you should not reduce it. Sugar, along with agar-agar, is the ingredient that makes the soufflé firm and stable. If you reduce the amount of sugar, your cake will not taste less sweet. That’s because you still have to cook the sugar syrup to the specified temperature. And with less sugar, it simply takes longer for the syrup to reach the desired consistency. Plus, you’ll get a smaller amount of sugar syrup, which won’t provide stability to the soufflé with the same amount of egg whites.

Soufflé cake with agar-agar and without gelatin

This Bird’s milk cake is made with the vegetable gelling agent agar-agar and does not require gelatin, which is also the case with the classic Soviet soufflé cake. It is important to use good quality agar-agar for the recipe, because the consistency of the soufflé depends on it. You cannot substitute agar-agar in the recipe with gelatin. There are Bird’s milk cake recipes with gelatin, but the making is different.

Ptichye moloko cake

This Russian Bird’s milk cake is

  • airy,
  • light,
  • tender,
  • fluffy,
  • creamy,
  • unbelievably delicious,
  • without gelatin,
  • ideal for a special occasion or celebration, for example, Christmas or Easter,
  • classic of Russian cuisine,
  • easy to make yourself with common ingredients.

Recipe for Russian Bird’s milk cake

The recipe for Bird’s milk cake is not difficult. The important thing is to pay attention to all the details, so that you succeed in making the soufflé cake. Here you can form a rough idea of how the making is done, and what you need for it. As always, you can find the exact quantities and step-by-step instructions for making the Bird’s milk cake yourself here below in the box recipe.

For the cake base you need

  • room-warm butter,
  • sugar,
  • egg yolks,
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • and vanilla.

For the soufflé you need

  • egg whites,
  • sugar,
  • agar agar,
  • room-warm butter,
  • room-warm sweetened condensed milk
  • and water.

And for the chocolate glaze you will need

  • dark chocolate
  • and butter.

How to make the Bird’s milk cake: here’s how (Check out the detailed recipe at the bottom.)

  1. For the cake layers, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Then add egg yolks one at a time and beat until fluffy. Then add flour and baking powder to make a dough with the consistency of a paste. From the dough, bake two cake layers by first spreading half of the dough in the shape of a circle on the baking tray and baking it, then repeat the same with the second half.
  2. For the soufflé, first make the butter cream. To do this, simply whip the butter and sweetened condensed milk until creamy. Now boil the sugar syrup made of water, sugar and agar-agar until 110 °C and whip the egg whites in parallel. Now add the sugar syrup in a thin stream to the beaten egg whites and whip until stiff. Then stir the butter cream into the egg white mixture.
  3. Now layer the cake in a springform pan lined with baking paper: first one of the two cake layers, then half of the soufflé, then the second cake layer and the second half of the soufflé. Then chill the cake to set and cover it with a glaze of melted chocolate with butter. Done!

Russian Bird's milk cake

How to make the Bird’s milk cake: with these tips and tricks, you’ll make it

  • When separating egg whites from yolks, make sure that none of the yolks end up in the egg whites. Also, both the mixing bowl and the whisk in which and with which the mixture is whipped must be clean (definitely not greasy) and dry.
  • The amount of flour specified in the recipe for the cake base may vary. Because of this, add flour in batches to the other ingredients until the dough becomes the consistency of a paste.
  • Do not mix the dough for the cake base too long after adding flour, but only briefly until it reaches a homogeneous consistency.
  • To spread the dough in the shape of a circle on the baking sheet, you can either draw the circle on the baking paper first, use a silicone baking mat with measurement or place the edge of the corresponding springform pan on the baking sheet and remove it after spreading the dough.
  • Instead of making two cake layers, you can make just one thick cake layer.
  • Butter and sweetened condensed milk for the soufflé need to be room warm, and both need to be about the same temperature when whipped to combine well.
  • Use good quality agar agar for the soufflé.
  • Do not reduce the amount of sugar used for the soufflé, because the structure, firmness and stability of the soufflé depends on it.
  • The temperature of the sugar syrup for the soufflé, to which it must be cooked, is very important. The firmness of the soufflé depends on it. It is best to use a kitchen thermometer to measure.
  • As soon as your soufflé is ready, you should spread it quickly on the cake layers, since agar-agar already sets at 40 °C.
  • You can cover not only the top, but the whole cake with chocolate glaze. In that case, you might have to make a larger portion of glaze.
  • The Bird’s milk cake can be decorated as you like.

Video for the Bird’s milk cake recipe

By the way, on my Youtube channel you can find a short video for the Russian Bird’s milk cake. There you can watch exactly how to make the soufflé cake yourself. If you don’t want to miss any more videos from me, feel free to subscribe to my channel.

Did you make the Bird’s milk cake yourself using this recipe? I’m looking forward to your results, your star rating and your comment below on how you liked the Russian soufflé cake.

Got a craving for more delicious Russian cakes? Try them too:

Bird's milk cake (Russian soufflé cake)

Bird's milk cake (Russian soufflé cake)

Airy, tender, fluffy – a heavenly treat is the popular Bird's milk cake. There is certainly no other cake in the world that tastes better than the Russian soufflé cake. Not without reason, during the Soviet era, it was counted among a jewel that you could not get without effort. According to this recipe, you can make the Bird's milk cake yourself at home.
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling time 2 hrs
Course Nachspeise
Cuisine Russian
Servings 9

Equipment

  • Ø 20 cm large springform pan
  • kitchen thermometer

Ingredients
  

for the cake layers

  • 70 g butter (room temperature)
  • 70 g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • approx. 100 g flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • vanilla

for the soufflé

  • 100 g butter (room temperature)
  • 50 g sweetened condensed milk (room temperature)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 270 g sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 15 g agar agar
  • 1 pinch of salt

for the chocolate glaze

  • 60 g dark chocolate
  • 40 g butter

Instructions
 

Making the cake layers

  • Beat softened butter, sugar and vanilla for about 3 - 4 minutes until creamy.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly each time so that you end up with a fluffy, creamy mixture.
  • Add flour with baking powder a little at a time and mix briefly and briskly to form a viscous dough (about the consistency of paste).
  • Divide the dough into two halves, first spread one half of it evenly in the shape of a Ø 20 cm circle on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake the cake base in a preheated oven at 200 °C top and bottom heat for about 7 minutes, until its edges turn a little golden brown. Repeat the same with the second half of the dough and let the two cake layers cool.
  • Line the bottom and sides of the springform pan with baking paper and place one of the two cake layers on the bottom of the springform pan.

Making the soufflé

  • Beat soft butter for about 4 - 5 minutes until fluffy and creamy.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk in a thin stream and continue to whip to a homogeneous cream. Then set the butter cream aside at room temperature.
  • Add water, sugar and agar-agar to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so that the sugar dissolves before it reaches a boil.
  • Once the sugar syrup with agar-agar boils, stop stirring and cook until it reaches 110 °C.
  • Beat parallel egg whites with salt first on low speed of hand mixer or food processor, gradually increase the speed to maximum and beat the egg whites.
  • Once the sugar syrup with agar-agar reaches 110 °C, add it to the beaten egg whites in a thin stream without stopping to beat it further. Then beat the egg whites together with the sugar syrup until stiff.
  • Once the egg white mixture is stiff, turn the hand mixer or food processor to low speed and beat in the butter cream in small portions. The egg white mixture should end up a little runny.
  • Quickly spread about half of the soufflé on the cake layer in the springform pan. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the second half of the soufflé on the second cake layer. Chill the cake in the springform pan for about 1 hour.

Making the chocolate glaze

  • Melt dark chocolate together with butter and let the chocolate glaze cool down a bit.
  • Spread the chocolate glaze on the surface of the cake in the springform pan and chill the Bird's milk cake for about 1 hour.

Notes

  • The amount of flour indicated for the cake base may vary. Therefore, add flour in batches to the other ingredients until the dough becomes the consistency of a paste.
  • Do not stir the dough for the cake base too long after adding flour.
  • To distribute the dough in the shape of a circle on the baking sheet, you can either draw the circle on the baking paper first, use a silicone baking mat with measurement or place the edge of the appropriate springform pan on the baking sheet and remove it after distributing the dough.
  • Butter and sweetened condensed milk for the soufflé must be room warm and both about the same temperature when whipped to combine well.
  • Use good quality agar agar for the soufflé.
  • Do not reduce the amount of sugar used for the soufflé, because the structure, firmness and stability of the soufflé depends on it.
  • The temperature of the sugar syrup for the soufflé, to which it must be cooked, is very important. It is best to use a kitchen thermometer to measure it.
  • As soon as the soufflé is ready, spread it quickly on the cake layers, as agar-agar sets at 40 °C already.
  • Note the detailed tips and tricks for making the Bird's milk cake at the top of the post.
 
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