Hazelnut Cake – Kyiv Torte Recipe (video)
My take on the famous Kyiv Torte – aka, the Hazelnut Meringue Cake. This stunning Ukrainian cake recipe is made with simple sponge cake soaked with hazelnut liqueur, chocolate ganache filling, caramel frosting and crunchy hazelnut meringue! All those incredible layers, textures and flavors come together to create an unforgettable cake! This meringue cake is the ultimate hazelnut treat!
Check out my new cookbook, Beyond Borscht, for a more classic take on this delicious cake!
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History of the Kyiv Torte
The original, Ukrainian cake ‘Kyiv Torte’ is traditionally made with one tall meringue layer, thin layers of sponge cake on the top and bottom, all covered with a buttercream frosting. It was first created in 1956 and sold in bakery shops across the USSR. It’s still very popular today and available even in the US in Eastern European grocery stores. My recipe is slightly different, incorporating more layers but the flavor is still the same!
How to Make Kyiv Torte
The main star in this meringue cake recipe is the hazelnut meringue! It’s slightly different in texture than the meringue that we are used to in the US. This Eastern European version is baked at a low oven temperature for many hours, until it’s crispy inside and out. When it’s ready, it will sound hollow when tapped on the top. When making the meringue, make sure to wash the mixing bowl very well with degreasing dish soap and white table vinegar, otherwise the egg whites will not mix properly and fall flat. The vinegar will get rid of any stuck on grease.
Frosting & Garnish
Besides the delicate hazelnut meringue layers, this hazelnut meringue cake is made with simple sponge cake, caramel frosting and chocolate ganache filling. I have separate video recipes for each step of this cake, with in-depth instructions. Check out those videos here:
- I absolutely love my ‘Salted Caramel Frosting’ for this recipe and so many others!
- I used my ‘Chocolate Ganache Filling’ for this cake on the inside and as a garnish.
- And my super easy and simply ‘Sponge Cake Recipe’ is perfect for this cake.
I garnished the top of my hazelnut cake with dollops of salted caramel frosting and also piped some of the chocolate ganache.
Looking for more Ukrainian cake recipes? Check out my dessert book, ‘The European Cake Cookbook’ for more recipes, like this ‘Peach Zefir Torte’!
- And, you can never go wrong with the ‘Classic Napoleon Torte’ – delicate layers filled with custard cream!
- Walnut Prune Honey Cake – a traditional Eastern European cake with honey cake layers, walnuts, prunes and sour cream frosting!
- Chocolate Spartak Cake – 8 layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting!
- Korolebsky Torte – alternating layers of chocolate and poppy seed with caramel frosting!
- Golden Key Caramel Cake – the best-ever caramel cake with dulce de leche, sweetened condensed milk, pecans and whipped cream frosting!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- This classic Ateco turntable is a must for cake decorating!
- I love these aluminum cake pans for baking all my cake layers.
- If you don’t want to use hazelnut liqueur, try adding a bit of hazelnut extract for more flavor.
Hazelnut Cake – Kyiv Torte Recipe (video)
- 1 recipe ‘Salted Caramel Frosting’ link above
- 1 recipe ‘Chocolate Ganache Filling’ link above
For Sponge Cake:
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Hazelnut Meringue:
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup melted chocolate
- 1/2 cup Frangelico liqueur or hazelnut syrup
For Hazelnut Meringue:
- Prepare the hazelnut meringue first. This can be prepared 3 to 4 days in advance but must be kept in an airtight container! Preheat oven to 200F. Line 2, 8-inch cake rounds with parchment paper, or trace the pans onto a sheet of parchment paper and place onto a baking sheet.
- Place the egg whites into a mixer bowl and begin whisking on medium speed. Combine the sugar and cream of tartar (can also use 1 tablespoon cornstarch) and gradually add to the egg whites as they are mixing. Once all the sugar has been added, keep whisking the mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until stiff and glossy peaks form, taking the texture of marshmallow cream.
- Fold in the vanilla extract and chopped hazelnuts. Transfer the mixture into a large pastry bag tipped with a large, round tip and pipe onto prepared pan/paper. Create even layers, then level off the top with an off-set spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 8 hours, allowing the meringue to dry out and become crispy. The meringue will sound hollow when tapped on the top. Allow the meringue to cool overnight. If baked in pans, carefully run a knife along the edge to release the meringue, then invert onto a tray and remove paper.
For Sponge Cake:
- Prepare the sponge cake. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a mixer bowl and whisk on high speed for about 8 minutes, or until the mixture is thick, pale and almost white in color. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, then sift into the eggs gradually, folding gently but thoroughly after each addition.
- Split the cake batter between 2, 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 18 to 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans, then use a long, serrated knife to split each layer in half.
- Prepare the ‘Salted Caramel Frosting’ and ‘Chocolate Ganache Filling’ according to instructions; links above.
For Cake Assembly:
- To assemble the cake, begin with the sponge cake. Soak the cake with hazelnut liqueur or syrup, then add a generous amount of the chocolate ganache filling, spreading it to the edges. Add another sponge cake layer, soak again, then top with caramel frosting. Add meringue layer, caramel frosting, sponge cake, liqueur, chocolate ganache, sponge cake, liqueur. Finish the cake with the final layer of meringue, then use remaining caramel frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- To garnish the top, drizzle melted chocolate using a disposable bag. I used tip #8FT for the caramel frosting. Allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or overnight to allow the layers to come together. Cut the cake using a sharp, serrated knife.
Does the meringue layer get soft after it sits for a day? I’m trying to make it for a party. I usually assemble another Kiev cake I make just before gets show up with is stressful but it’s worth it for a crunchy bite into the meringue. I would like to know if it will get really soft if I assemble the night before or will it really crunchy? Hope that makes sense. Thanks for your amazing recipes!
Hi! The meringue will stay crunchy if you assemble the cake properly 🙂 I know what you mean – my husband likes the meringue crunchy, too. Just spread a thin layer of frosting between the cake and meringue and don’t get any of the syrup on to the meringue. The frosting will seal the meringue and help keep it dry.
Hi Ira, I am baking this cake tomorrow, but if you have s good recipe for a Kiev cake, can you somehow post it to me?
I just made this cake for Easter and everyone loved it!! Love how easy it is to follow your recipes!
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
I made this cake twice in the last two weeks and everybody loved it. Thank you for such a great recipe!!!! I tried several “kyiv torte” recipes but none of them were nearly as good and as authentic as this one. I moved to the U.S. (from Ukraine) almost twenty years ago and always missed the “kyiv torte”… Not anymore since I can make my own any time I feel in the mood for it. YUM!
That’s wonderful!! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy this recipe!! 🙂
Hi! I want to make this cake tomorrow. I read the recipe and it calls for 2 layers of meringue. Do i bake two separate batches or do i need to cut the one meringue in half to make enough for 2 layers?
Hi! This cake is so delicious! 🙂 No, you just make 2 layers with the recipe. Check out my video recipe for the details. You can use two, 8-inch pans or a large sheet of parchment paper with 8-inch circles drawn on the back.
Why do you call it Kiev cake? It has nothing to do with original recipe.
Hi Alla! This is just the stacked version of the original cake – all the same flavors in a super tall cake 🙂
Hi, how do you take the meringue out from the pan?
Hi! Make sure to line the pan with parchment paper, at least on the bottom! Once it’s done baking, you can use a knife around the edges to loosen it from the side. Or, just line the sides, too. Enjoy! 🙂
Hi 🙂 I am thinking about making this cake but 10 inch pan. Should I double sponge recipe or it will work fine as it is? Thank you
Hi! I recommend making 1 1/2 recipes of the sponge cake for a 10-inch cake. Enjoy!! 🙂
This cake recipes is seriously the best! But about the meringue, when I loosen the sides with a knife it cracks up completely the whole thing. I also tried lining up the sides but it still cracked completely up? Any problems am I doing or any hacks I need to do?
Hi Dena! I’m sorry to hear that happened! You can also bake the meringue free form on a baking sheet. Just trace a circle on the back of a sheet of parchment paper, then pipe the meringue creating a level layer. You can smooth it down with an offset spatula. This way, you’ll be able to lift it right off the baking sheet! Hope that helps! 🙂
Great flavor but the caramel frosting was so runny even after I added 5 plus cups of powdered sugar. I make frosting al the time and this stuff never got to the texture of a stable frosting. It just kept running off the cake and I didn’t want to add any more powdered sugar or it would be unbearably sweet. Other than that the cake is amazing!
Hi Libby! I’m so sorry the frosting recipe didn’t work well for you! What kind of caramel did you use for the recipe? Also, sounds like maybe the butter was too soft. Next time, if your frosting is too runny, try placing it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour instead of adding more sugar. Once it’s chilled, it will become more firm. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake!
I’m making 1 layer of the meringue does it still have to be in the oven for 8 hours.
Hi! I would do less time, maybe 4 to 5 hours. Are you also reducing the recipe?
Yes I’m using half the quantity
The first part the meringue was a disaster, not your fault in recipe, because I used a hybrid of the meringue part from “Lioka from Russia” biggest difference that she used powdered sugar high amount added with nuts, flour, cornstarch, and a small amount granulated sugar during whipping to stiff peaks. If I would of piped directly onto parchment and not used pans it would of been better outcome. The meringue stuck and while trying to cut sides free the top totally crumbled away in a layer. Next attempt I won’t change your recipe, except to add more nuts than 1/2 cup.
Hi Donald. I would not recommend using powdered sugar for the meringue. The best choice would be super-fine bakers sugar if you can find it. Piping will work well, too. I would trace 6-inch circles on the back of your parchment paper, then pipe the meringue. If you want to use the pan method again, just line the sides, too so the meringue doesn’t stick
Thank you for your suggestion, I will go the pipe onto parchment paper next time, oh and I also couldn’t get the frangelico, so I made simple syrup with hazelnut extract, coffee, and chocalate and vanilla flavoring from my stock of flavors, which I use for making ejuice for vaping. I think I ended up with a comparable flavor profile.
That sounds like a great substitute! I get my Frangelico at Total Wines or Bevmo. Some of the smaller stores and grocery stores don’t typically carry it. Hope you enjoy it next time!
If I want to make my merengue in a 6” inch pan, can I let the pans the same 8 hrs?
Hi Ambar. Yes, you can use a 6-inch pan, however you might have a lot of extra meringue. If you’re using the same amount of meringue, just a smaller pan, you can keep the same baking time. If you’re adjusting the amount appropriately, you’ll need to bake for 6 1/2 hours.
This cake was amazing. Takes a little time to put together. Not incredibly hard just several different moving pieces. Everyone was impressed with the results.
Hi Rosi! I’m so happy reading your review! I’m very glad the cake was a hit with everyone!
Hi, I’ll be making this for 2 adults and 1 child. Is it possible to halve the entire recipe or best to keep it as is? If it is ok to halve, do I need to change any bake times?
Hi Cyn! Yes, you can prepare just half the recipe. If you want to make just one, 8-inch layer of meringue, you won’t have to change the bake times. Enjoy!