What is Birds Milk Cake or “ptichye moloko“
If you want to make it yourself, you’ll need plenty of time and much patience, or come to Horn and Hoof on Valentine’s Day, the reward is hands down the most delicious soufflé cake of all time.
Imagine tender airy soufflé with rich creamy flavour, complemented with soft biscuit and a thin layer of fine quality dark chocolate. This is the cake of your dreams, and which all Eastern Europeans known as ptichye moloko.
The name is no less unique than the cake itself, and it literally means “the milk of birds.” According to ancient legend, ‘bird’s milk’ is a sacred ingredient that birds in paradise fed their chicks. Slavic folk tales recall that beautiful maidens, who wanted to test their manly admirers, asked to fetch them ‘bird’s milk,’ the finding of which was considered nearly impossible.
The Slavic-era ptichye moloko cake in fact has Polish roots. In 1930s Warsaw confectioner Jan Wedel came up with soufflé candies that he called ptasie mleczko. The sweets were so popular that after a while they spread to all of Eastern Europe. In 1978 the recipe was finally transformed into the legendary ptichye moloko cake. A confectioner called Vladimir Guralnik recalls that it took him six months to perfect the complicated recipe.
When Victor asked his granny about her favourite sweet, she answered without hesitation: “ptichye moloko for sure! It was hard to find, and so we had to pay triple the price to get our hands on it.” So he perfected a recipe for her.
Before this, she recalled that she only once had eaten authentic ptichye moloko in her lifetime, when my grandpa brought it home in a beautiful signature box. In the Eastern Europe there were genuine ‘hunger games’ for ‘bird’s milk’ cake, which was sold only in the capitals.
The recipe was kept secret for a long time. The original recipe contains key secret ingredients such as ????????????, but at that time housewives didn’t know this, and they tried to recreate ptichye moloko on their own. Today, there are numerous recipes of the legendary sweet! Which one will you like best?