Lady Fingers Cake (Торт “Дамские Пальчики”)

I finished nursing school a month before our wedding and then moved to Florida to join my new husband. I had to fly back to New York to take my State Boards a few months later. When I came back home, relieved to have it over with but and still nervously awaiting the results, I was met at the airport by my new husband, who was late. When he brought me home instead of taking me out for dinner, I found out that he had made dinner himself, which was the reason for his tardiness.

Serge isn’t one of those guys who cooks, even though he always lends a hand in the prep work. (He’s kind of like a sous chef.) But that day he had put in a full day of work, shopped for groceries and made dinner. Ah… the things we do for love. I also found two bikes on the back patio, which we later frequently took to the beach to enjoy relaxing evening rides. The grandiose finale of the evening was a gorgeous cake that he had created. As you can see, this cake always brings me back to that beautiful evening of newlywed sweetness.

This cake is assembled from “lady fingers” made from pate choux dough (заварное тесто), the same one that you use to make cream puffs or eclaires. This gives it such a unique flavor and texture but is so simple to put together. I also include a recipe for chocolate glaze that we use all the time. When using melted chocolate to decorate a cake, it will harden in the refrigerator but this glaze still continues to have a perfect texture that melts in your mouth. The flavor is so delicious, deep, intense and chocolaty.

Yields: 1 cake

Ingredients:

Pate choux batter for lady fingers:

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

6 eggs

Frosting:

2 (16 oz.) containers sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate glaze:

2-3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

4 Tablespoons sour cream

6 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lady Fingers:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add flour all at once. IMG_7563Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and the flour is mixed in thoroughly. IMG_7569Cool for about 5 minutes or mix with a paddle attachment in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer until steam is no longer rising. Add eggs one at a time. IMG_7581Transfer the batter to a large ziptop bag or a pastry bag and pipe 2-3 inch long strips, about 1 cm thick onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven. 

Frosting:

Combine the sour cream, condensed milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a standing mixer using the whisk attachment. Add the heavy cream and continue whisking until frosting thickens. (This way, you are actually whipping the cream right in the sour cream mixture. Cool, huh?)

Chill the bowl and the whisk attachment to help the frosting whip up better. I usually place the bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Also, use very cold sour cream and heavy cream. The frosting will not be as thick as butter cream, but it will certainly thicken as you mix it.

IMG_7600In a 9 inch spring form pan, spread some frosting, about 1/4 of a cup, on the bottom of the pan.

IMG_7609Dip the lady fingers in the frosting. IMG_7611Starting at the rim, arrange the lady fingers in a circle in multiple layers to fill the pan all the way to the top. IMG_7619Make sure to arrange the day fingers tightly, with no spaces in between them. If you have little gaps, break the lady fingers into the size that you needIMG_7622Reserve the left over frosting in a small bowl.

Refrigerate the cake for at least a few hours. I usually keep it refrigerated overnight. It’s very important to give the cake time to set and chill, otherwise it will fall apart when you take it out of the springform pan.

Line the edges of a cake stand or plate with aluminum foil. (This is to facilitate easy clean up later.) IMG_7663Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cake. IMG_7661Invert the cake onto the center of the platter and take it out of the spring form pan. IMG_7671Cover the top and sides with the reserved frosting. IMG_7813

Chocolate glaze:

In a small saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter, while they are still cold. IMG_7704Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, until sugar dissolves and the glaze thins out to a syrupy consistency.Whisk in the butter. IMG_7800Make a pastry bag from parchment paper or regular printer paper, by taking the edges of the paper and bringing them together to form a thin point. IMG_7802It will be a triangular/cone shape. IMG_7807Pour the hot glaze in, snip off a small hole in the tip of the paper and decorate the cake.

You need to work quickly, since the glaze will harden as it cools. (You can always return the hardened glaze to the saucepan and reheat it.)

Carefully remove the aluminum foil. IMG_7828Isn’t this a great trick to keeping the frosting and chocolate of the plate? Notice how clean and neat the plate is. IMG_7837Of course, you can decorate the cake any way you like. Use your imagination and enjoy.IMG_7909

Lady Fingers Cake (Торт "Дамские Пальчики")
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cake
Ingredients
Pate choux batter for lady fingers:
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ sticks of butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 6 eggs
Frosting:
  • 2 (16 oz.) containers sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
Chocolate glaze:
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
Instructions
Lady Fingers:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add flour all at once. Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and the flour is mixed in thoroughly.
  4. Cool for about 5 minutes or mix with a paddle attachment in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer until steam is no longer rising.
  5. Add eggs one at a time.
  6. Transfer the batter to a large ziptop bag or a pastry bag and pipe 2-3 inch long strips, about 1 cm thick onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven.
Frosting:
  1. Combine the sour cream, condensed milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a standing mixer using the whisk attachment.
  2. Add the heavy cream and continue whisking until frosting thickens.
  3. Chill the bowl and the whisk attachment to help the frosting whip up better. I usually place the bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Also, use very cold sour cream and heavy cream. The frosting will not be as thick as butter cream, but it will certainly thicken as you mix it.
Assembly:
  1. In a 9 inch spring form pan, spread some frosting, about ¼ of a cup, on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Dip the lady fingers in the frosting. Starting at the rim, arrange the lady fingers in a circle in multiple layers to fill the pan all the way to the top.
  3. Make sure to arrange the day fingers tightly, with no spaces in between them. If you have little gaps, break the lady fingers into the size that you need.
  4. Reserve the left over frosting in a small bowl.
  5. Refrigerate the cake for at least a few hours. I usually keep it refrigerated overnight. It's very important to give the cake time to set and chill, otherwise it will fall apart when you take it out of the springform pan.
  6. Line the edges of a cake stand or plate with aluminum foil. (This is to facilitate easy clean up later.)
  7. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cake.
  8. Invert the cake onto the center of the platter and take it out of the spring form pan. Cover the top and sides with the reserved frosting.
Chocolate glaze:
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter, while they are still cold.
  2. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, until sugar dissolves and the glaze thins out to a syrupy consistency.Whisk in the butter.
  3. Make a pastry bag from parchment paper or regular printer paper, by taking the edges of the paper and bringing them together to form a thin point. It will be a triangular/cone shape.
  4. Pour the hot glaze in, snip off a small hole in the tip of the paper and decorate the cake.
  5. You need to work quickly, since the glaze will harden as it cools. (You can always return the hardened glaze to the saucepan and reheat it.)
  6. Carefully remove the aluminum foil. Of course, you can decorate the cake any way you like. Use your imagination and enjoy.

 
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Comments

      • says

        Tetiana,
        It’s not like Cool Whip. Heavy Cream Cream the thick, fat-rich part of milk, which rises to the top when milk is fresh and is skimmed off. It looks just like milk, but is a little thicker, but is a liquid. It is sold in grocery stores near the milk. It needs to be whipped and sweetened to become thick and creamy. Sometimes, it’s labeled heavy whipping cream. Cool Whip is already whipped and sweetened. However, it also has a lot of chemicals and strange ingredients added to it, so I choose to whip my own cream. If you’d like you can use Cook Whip in this recipe.

  1. inna says

    That looks really good. Can’t wait to try it. I love finding desserts to make that are unique and different and I havent seen this one anywhere else.

    • tatyana says

      Elina made this cake for my birthday it was so delicious, so light, no words to describe,!!! you need to try . Thank you Olga !!! I am so proud of you! God bless you!!!!!

  2. Alla says

    Made this yesterday… all I have to say is, it was gone within hours (we had a couple of visitors)… I bake ALL the time… lots of Russian cakes as well and my husband is spoiled but he said this was great :) Which means a lot bc it’s hard to impress him now :) The only thing was, the cream whipped up great but I felt like it was a little on the runny side when I too it out of the springform pan after it had stood in the fidge for a few hours. Glad I found your blog. Thank you Olga!

    • says

      Oh, yes! That’s one of my favorite parts about cakes. Most of them can be made ahead of time. Wrap it well in plastic wrap or store in a cake storage containers.

  3. Natasha says

    That looks very good! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love to bake, and can’t wait to bake this one for Easter.

    • Natasha says

      Baked one for Easter and loved it! After reading comments i was afraid that the cream will be too runny so i put just a little more heavy cream, and it was a little too thick for me, like you said lady fingers should absorb the cream, next time i will follow the recipe exactly! Thanks again for all your recipes, i already tried a few of them and my family enjoys them very much.

  4. Lily says

    Made it twice in one week, delicious, everyone loved it! Nice to see a lot of Russian recipes, keep posting :)

  5. alina says

    on what temperature did you bake the lady fingures at? i did 370. and my cream did turn our really runny too i wonder why,i bake quite often. def have to try again. cant wait to taste it. mine is standing overnight in the fridge :)

    • says

      Alina,
      If you read the recipe, you will see that I baked the the lady fingers at 400 degrees. About the cream – it’s supposed to be runny, otherwise, it won’t absorb into the lady fingers very well. In the original recipe, the cream is made of only sour cream and sugar, so it’s even runnier. If it’s too runny, it may be that you didn’t mix it long enough. Did you use a whisk attachment? Also, the heavy cream needs to be very cold in order to whip up well. Another trick I have for making any cream/frosting, is to pull the bowl and the whisk attachment into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before you start mixing. Hope that helps.

  6. Olga B. says

    How come your frosting looks more thicker than mine? I couldn’t ice the sides of the cake, the frosting was too runny. What brand sour cream did you use? I refrigerated the cake for several hours. Tastes amazing though.

  7. says

    Hi Olga,
    I’m not sure what brand sour cream I used, since I don’t always buy the same kind. I’m not sure why your frosting came out thinner than you think mine did, although it’s intended to be on the thinner side. In the original recipe, the frosting is just sour cream and sugar, which is much thinner. If it’s too thick, it won’t absorb well into the lady fingers. Please read the comment above for the other suggestions I wrote about to make frosting a little bit thicker, although I added heavy cream to it for the purpose of taste, not to make it thicker. If you prefer a thicker frosting, you can whip up the cream on its own and fold it in gently into the rest of the frosting. You can also add some cream cheese to it. Mix softened cream cheese with sugar until it’s creamy and then add the rest of the ingredients. However, as I mentioned earlier, this frosting is meant to be thin. I hope that helps:)

  8. Marina says

    Hi Olga! Making this cake right now and I have a question. Can you please tell me if you used 2 packages of sour cream 16 oz each or 16 oz total for the cream?
    thank you so much!

      • Marina says

        thank you so much! When I started making the frosting I figured that one can of sweetened condensed milk would be too much for one container of sour cream. So I used two. I really appreciate your quick response though! God bless you. And I love your blog!

  9. Alla Sherstyukov says

    The first time I made this cake my cream came out a little runny too… but the longer I whipped the more stiff it became. All in all it was still fine to make the cake. The second time I made it, I whipped the condensed milk and the heavy cream and added the sour cream at the very end and just stirred it in gently. That way the sour cream didn’t run and kept it more stiff. Hope this helps any of you who and make it again:) The cake was deff different and yummy! Thanks again, Olga :)

  10. natasha shishman says

    Between my husband and I the cake was gone in 2 days. Followed the recipe to the T it turned out great! For some reason I had about 1/2 of the frosting left over, but next time I will do one of three things, leave more space between ladyfingers so frosting will have room to settle, soak ladyfingers longer in frosting before arranging them in springform pan, or infuse the ladyfingers with frosting using syringe (might be too much work). Will probably leave more space between ladyfingers so that cream will have a place to go. Delicious cake!
    One question though… how did you manage to decorate the sides of the cake? I tried, but almost ended up with the cake sliding off the stand! Any tricks/suggestions?

    • says

      To keep the cake from sliding off the stand, spread a little bit of frosting on the bottom before you start adding the lady fingers. When it firms up and chills in the refrigerator, it should stay in place. I hope that helps. I’ve never had a issue with this if I put frosting on the bottom of any of the cakes the I decorate. I “glues” it in place.

  11. Kristina Zhushma says

    Olga, THIS IS SUCH AN AWESOME WEBSITE!!!!!! :) :) :)

    Cake being made in the process right now, coming out runny as well, but i put it in the fridge to cool a bit, and proceeded to reading the VERY HELPFUL comments :) Thanks everyone!!

    • olgak7 says

      Julia, store bought lady fingers won’t work for this recipe. They are two completely different doughs. Store bought lady fingers are sponge cake pasties. For this recipe, the “lady fingers” are made from a pastry dough, just like cream puffs or eclairs. As you can see, it would be a completely different cake.

  12. Alina says

    Thank you!! It turned out great and wasn’t as sweet as most cakes, which is wonderful! Thanks again.

  13. Inna says

    I made this cake yesterday and it turned out perfect. Everyone thought it was delicous! Thank you for posting it.

  14. Lidiya says

    Wow. This looks so yummy, will be making this cake tomorrow. Olga do you think it would be a good idea to add raspberries to the cake?

    • says

      Hi Lidiya!
      You can certainly add raspberries. I love the fresh taste that it gives cakes. However, if you’re not planning on eating the cake right away and will keep it in the refrigerator for a few days, I wouldn’t recommend it since the berries will become soggy.

  15. Launa Chuks says

    Hi, I made this cake and cream was runny, I want to make sure that I did it right it was 32 oz of sour creme right? Also for some reason the eclairs went flat after being taken out of over, are they supposed to do that? Thanks for you recipe!

    • says

      Hi Launa. The lady fingers will deflate some when you take them out of the oven. That’s normal. The cream is not supposed to be the consistency of butter cream or Cool Whip. As I already explained in the instructions, it’s supposed to be on the thin side, since the lady fingers need to be well soaked in the cream. In the original recipe, the cream consists of only sour cream and sugar. As you can imagine, it’s even thinner than my variation. If you don’t like it make your own favorite frosting and use it instead. However, if the frosting is too thick, the cake will not be moist but on the dry side.

  16. Lidiya says

    Thank You Olga for taking your time and answering my questions. You are awesome and so are your recepies. Thank You so much for sharing them with us=)

  17. Lidiya says

    Made this cake yesterday for today’s Anniversary(5 years since I met my husband). It turned out delicious!!! I used only one sour cream(didnt have more) and so glad that it was enough for the cake filling. Also I noticed that whipping the cream for a bit longer will make the filling thicker and not runny (as many have mentioned above). This way the cake was propitaniy as well as some dryness was in. Absolutely loved it=)) Thank You Olga.

  18. Lena says

    Hi Olga, I was wondering if you can clear things up on the parchment paper roll-up. I have never done that method and want to be sure I will do it right. The printer paper will be on the outside and the parment paper on the inside, correct? I hope I am not stating the obvious…:) Thanks, and by the way, I am absolutely in love with your blog!

    • Nadia says

      I decided to make these anyways and the dought for lady fingers is sticky and dosent look as runny :(. Will they still be ok? What did I do wrong?

      • says

        Nadia, the dough is supposed to be sticky. That is why you put it inside a pastry bag and pipe them out on the baking sheet. Unfortunately, I’m not able to look into your kitchen to see what you were doing, so it’s hard for me to answer what you did wrong, or if you even did anything wrong:(.

    • says

      Yes, Nadia, you can make the lady fingers in advance. You can even make the whole cake in advance. It’s just like most other cakes and can be made a day or two ahead of time.

  19. Nadia says

    So I finally finished with this cake for my Son’s 4th birthday party tomorrow and I tried a little bit of a ladyfingers with the cream and OHHH my it’s so delicious :))) Can’t wait to have a full piece tomorrow. Thanks Olga :)

  20. Maria Shevtsov says

    I made this for Thanksgiving day. It turned out absolutely delicious, everybody loved it. Thank you for sharing the recipe. :)

  21. Leyla says

    Hi, can u tell me what size of pan did you use, the cake looks pretty high, want to make it for my daughters birthday, wanted to make sure it will be big enough. Thanks!

  22. Natasha Y says

    This cake is being made almost for every special occasion in our family! My mom is always using the original frosting which is sour cream and sugar, and I think I’m the only one who doesn’t like this frosting so I will bake the lady fingers and try your version of frosting.

    • says

      Mila, No. You can’t use store bought lady fingers. These lady fingers are made from a pate choux dough, so they taste kind of like cream puffs. The store bought lady fingers are completely different; they are either soft sponge cake like or harder Italian style sponge cake lady fingers. If you do use store bought lady fingers, it will be a completely different cake.

  23. Mila says

    I made this cake yesterday for my daughter’s birthday. It is delicious however the frosting was too runny. My question is do you put back the cake in fridge after chocolate glaze to set more? i had guests so i served right away but the frosting was dripping everywhere.

    • says

      Mila,
      I suspect you didn’t mix the frosting long enough. If you look at the picture that I have of the frosting, it is pretty thick. I’ve never had any issues with this cake being runny. I usually do put the cake back in the refrigerator after putting the chocolate glaze on it, but by that time, it should be firm enough and you could serve it right away if you wanted to.
      The original recipe for this cake is sour cream and sugar. That’s it. It’s very thin. With my version, it becomes much thicker and easier to work with.
      Whenever making this frosting, I chill the bowl and the whisk attachment in the freezer for about 10 minutes. I also use very sour cream and heavy cream. You also have to make sure to mix it long enough and at a high enough speed until it thickens.

    • says

      I’m not sure, Veronika. I’ve never had any issues with the lady fingers. I don’t know what you may have done wrong, since I wasn’t in the kitchen with you. Did you bake the lady fingers at the correct temperature and was your oven preheated? Did you follow the instructions for the pastry dough exactly?

    • says

      Hi Veronika,
      I’ve never used light sour cream, so I’m not sure if it would have an effect on it. My other suggestion is that maybe you didn’t mix it long enough or the ingredients weren’t cold enough.

  24. Vera says

    Olga thank you so much for this cake. Everyone loved it.My mom said it’s her favorite cake now. She asked me to make it for her birthday that is coming up and dad said to make two one from me and one from him :)

    This cake reminded me of ice cream that we ate in Russia. It is just so good. I love the cream, its just perfect. Not too sweet, but so delicious. Cake turned out so beautiful and unusual. I decorated it with roses that i made out of candy.

    • says

      Thanks, Vera!
      I love pastry cream and pastry dough, so this is a favorite of mine as well. It’s pretty simple to make too, for a cake. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

    • says

      Hi Inna B.
      It’s been a while since I made this cake, so I don’t really remember how long I mixed the frosting.
      It really depends on how chilled your bowl and ingredients were and also what kind of mixer you’re using. If you’re using a hand mixer, you will need to mix it much longer than if you’re using a standing mixer. You need to watch the consistency. When the frosting becomes thick, it’s ready. You should be able to see it very well.

  25. Oksana says

    Hello Olga. I made this cake tonight but waiting until tomorrow to finish it up. So I was only able to get exactly 36 lady fingers from the pastry. How many did you get? I felt like there was not enough of them and too much sour cream mixture. Just like almost everyone else stated, my sour cream mixture was really runny. I read all the comments and tried to do what others have done but my cream turned out soupy and runny. Hopefully it will become stiff overnight. I will report back tomorrow with the results. :)

    • says

      Oksana, I don’t remember the exact amount of lady fingers but it was definitely enough to fill the entire cake pan. The original recipe calls for JUST sour cream and sugar for the frosting. It’s supposed to be on the thinner side so that the frosting soaks into the lady fingers. If the frosting is too thick, it will not soak into the lady fingers and your cake will be dry.
      I’ve made this frosting and cake many, MANY times and have never had any issues with it. Unfortunately, I can’t be in your kitchen, the best I can do is give you step by step pictures and instructions of how I prepare it. If it doesn’t work out for you, I’m truly sorry.

    • says

      I think it’s fun to make too, Julie. It kind of feels like arts and crafts, making all the pieces fit together, dunking the lady fingers in the frosting…

  26. melana says

    Hi I REALLY loved your recipe I did it yesturday and it was amazing!! My sister dropped a store cake today and we used the cream to fill it up and it was truned out AMAZING!!!!!! THANK YOU GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

  27. Lana says

    Hi Olga! Made this today for my daughter’s 8th Birthday. I read a few comments that the cream turned out a bit runny, so just to be on the safe side (cause the cake will be served tonight:) i dissolved two packets of gelatin in 1/2 cup of water and added it to the cream at the end. So hopefully it won’t ruine the original taste. Thank you Olga! I had fun making it…quiet different;). As always….THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  28. Julia says

    So I was trying to make this cake and at first the batter turned out very runny with six eggs, so I tried making it again and only put 4 eggs which was ok but still a little soft. When I put it into preheated oven they looked perfect but when I took them out they all became flat :(. I followed the recipe very closely too. Any advice?

    • says

      It’s hard for me to say, Julia. I try to be very detailed in the recipe, so I don’t know why it didn’t work out for you. Have you even made Cream Puffs of Eclairs? It’s the same method.
      Also, it’s normal for this type of pastry to deflate some after it cools off after baking.

  29. Ariane says

    Olga,

    The recipe calls for one can of condensed milk. How many ounces or ml would that be? I live in Europe, so the measurements and amounts are not the same here as in the U.S.

  30. Ariane says

    Olga…..

    Your choux pastry recipe is EXCELLENT! I am assembling the cake now. This is going to be my birthday cake.

    Oh, btw……I am a nurse too; RN. Baking helps me to relax after a hard day at the hospital.

  31. Ariane says

    Olga…..

    The recipe is a keeper. I do think the choux pastry should be piped with a filling as I found them too bland in combination with the frosting. A citrus cream or lemon cream piped into the pastry are excellent choices. I piped mine with a lemon curd…….perfect. The combination of sweet and tart……mmmm! I piped a semi-sweet chocolate design on top.

    BTW: Choux pastry shouldn’t be deflating if it is properly mixed and baked properly.

    • says

      I guess I’m a girl with simple taste:). I prefer desserts to be less sweet, but lemon curd is a very creative idea. Good for you!

  32. says

    Hello Olga. I’m from Polish. Can you tell me about that cream comes in that article? 2 (16 oz.) Containers sour cream. Is this the cream of 16%? Is fondant?I do not really know what to use.

    • says

      Heavy cream is cream that contains 36 percent or more milk fat. Sour cream is made out of cream, and contains from 18 to 20 percent butterfat. I hope that helps, KuchrzyTrzech.

  33. Oksana says

    Hi Olga! Have you ever try to froze this cake? I have wedding so I have to bake a lot and wondering if I can bake it in advance and freeze it?!
    Thank you!

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