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Moldovan 'Black Grandmother' Cake - Babă Neagră

Moldovan ‘Black Grandmother’ Cake – Babă Neagră

  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • 3/4 liter whole milk
  • 1/4 liter baked kefir (regular kefir will also work, known as chisleag in Moldovan)
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 glasses sugar (glass volume 250 g)
  • 4 glasses flour (glass volume 250 g)
  • 2 glasses neutral oil – Sunflower oil is the traditional choice in Moldova (glass volume 250 g)
  • 27 g vanilla sugar
  • 50 g brandy
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda (mixed with vinegar JUST before adding!)
  • 2 Tbsp. Eastern European-style rose jam (optional but strongly recommended by TFD)
  • An oven-safe pan or pot, 11-12 inches in diameter
  • Aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper for lining the bottom of the cooking pot or pan


  1. It is very important to wrap the pot or pan you are cooking the cake in with at LEAST 2-3 sheets of aluminum foil – both around, below and along the edges. Put a circle of baking parchment paper on the bottom of the pot to facilitate getting the cake out after it is cooked.
  2. Put the eggs in a deep bowl, add the sugar and beat until the sugar dissolves (2.3 minutes).
  3. Add the flour with the vanilla sugar and mix them with the whisk so that there are no lumps. Add the oil, mix and a little, while stirring, add the milk, rose jam and chisleag. Add the baking soda and mix well, then add the brandy.
  4. Grease the inside of the pot with butter, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs or flour.
  5. Pour the mixture into the pot.
  6. Bake for 2 hours at 180-200 Centigrade. (Depending on how your oven bakes), reduce the heat to 120-150 Centigrade. and bake it for another 1 hour. DO NOT OPEN the oven as long as the grandmother is baking. After 3 hours of baking, turn off the heat and let the grandmother stay in the oven for another hour, after which you can take it out of the oven.
  7. If you follow all these steps, you will have a grandmother with a beautiful texture, riddled with holes and possessed of a most light texture. Cut the grandmother when it cools down a bit and serve it hot alongside cut-up apples.