Pirozhnoe “Kartoshka” – Chocolate Sponge Cake Pastries

In Russia, these pastries, Pirozhnoe “Kartoshka”, are very well known. They are translated literally as Potato Pastry, since they are made into the shape of potatoes. They are sold in almost every pastry shop in Russia and Belarus.

When my husband worked in a pastry shop in Belarus for his practice after pastry school, he was so surprised to find out the method of making these popular pastries. They speak of the frugality of our culture:) These pastries were usually available in the afternoon. After preparing all the different kinds of cookies, pastries, yeast breads, etc. they would take all the leftovers, scraps and the pieces they cut off and grind them up into crumbs. One of the interns would sit and scrape the scraps through a large screen, making a huge mound of crumbs. Then they would combine it will all with the leftover frostings, icings and fillings, add some cocoa and form them into the shape of potatoes. For the finishing touch, they would add a few nuts to look like sprouts and place them in the display case with all the other masterpieces:) What a delightful story, huh? I’m not sure how they do it now, but 10-15 years ago, it was a great way to use up every last bit of inventory and still come up with a popular item on the menu. They sold like hotcakes!

If you go by the recipe, it’s a completely different dessert, which we recreated at home to make it what it really was supposed to taste like. For the crumbs, we used fluffy, delicious sponge cake and make a creamy frosting from butter, condensed milk and melted chocolate. Delicious! It’s a take on cake pops or cake balls that have become all the rage in the past few years in America. I guess Russians came up with the idea a long time ago.

Start by baking a Sponge Cake. You will need two (9-10 inch) round cakes or 1 large rectangular one. Cut or tear the sponge cake into pieces.  Pulse it in the food processor to make crumbs. Spread the crumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway throughout the baking. Cool the crumbs. Meanwhile, cream the butter in a large bowl with a paddle attachment on a standing mixer or using a hand mixer until it’s light a fluffy. Add the condensed milk and continue mixing until evenly distributed. Add the melted chocolate (I melt the chocolate over a double boiler), salt, vanilla and liqueur. Mix to combine. Mix the frosting with the sponge cake crumbs. You can use the standing mixer or a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Form the mixture into the shape of a potato and add a few “sprouts” by using walnuts. I prefer making these into simple round balls and garnishing with some toasted ground nuts. If you’re shaping them into the traditional shape, you will need to use about 3 Tablespoons of the mixture for each one, or 1 heaping Tablespoon for the smaller round balls.  I guess mine are baby new potatoes:)


Pirozhnoe Kartoshka
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 30-35
Ingredients
  • 2 9-10 inch round sponge cakes
  • 1½ sticks butter, softened
  • ½ -3/4 can condensed milk
  • 3-4 oz bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon chocolate or hazelnut liqueur , optional
Instructions
  1. Bake the sponge cakes. Cool.
  2. Cut or tear the sponge cake into pieces and pulse in the food processor to make crumbs.
  3. Spread the crumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through baking. Cool.
  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Cream the butter in a large bowl with a paddle attachment on a standing mixer or using a hand mixer until it's light a fluffy.
  5. Add the condensed milk and continue mixing until evenly distributed.
  6. Add the melted chocolate (I melt the chocolate over a double boiler), salt, vanilla and liqueur. Mix to combine.
  7. Mix the frosting with the sponge cake crumbs. You can use the standing mixer or a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  8. Form the mixture into the shape of a potato and add a few "sprouts" by using walnuts. I prefer making these into simple round balls and garnishing with some toasted ground nuts. If you're shaping them into the traditional shape, you will need to use about 3 Tablespoons of the mixture for each one, or 1 heaping Tablespoon for the smaller round balls.

 

 

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Comments

  1. natalya says

    I made those 2 weeks ago, funny thing is also made them in truffle balls. Hosted party for 40 people and they were so easy to make for such a large group and everyone loved them.
    I didnt bake beskvit again though.

  2. Nelya says

    OMG, what a gross story. That was my favorite pastrie, and still is. I will think twice about buying it though from now on. When making at home, which never tastes quite the same, and now I know why, I usually use Maria cookies or “suhoe pechen’e”. But I like your way of making the “frosting” separate and then combining everything together. I add the ingredients one by one and sometimes you can find a piece of butter in the middle of kartoshka.

  3. Milana Goncharenko says

    haha this is one funny and gross story. But this looks delicious. I don’t remember ever trying these. I really want to now. :) Thank you again Olga for the awesome story, pictures, and recipes.

  4. Natasha says

    Your story is so funny:) Can’t wait to try it for my son’s bday. Do you have a recipe of oreshki and gribochki as well? Thank you for such great stories and recipes Olga.

    • says

      Hi Elena. As I said in the recipe, ANYTHING can be used for this pastry. However, if you want the best results, make the sponge cake. Pound cake is a little too greasy and the angel food cake is too light and may make the result really mushy.

  5. AnutaD says

    I love this recipe!! The pirozhnoe turns out soo good. Wouldn’t change a thing.
    Thanks for sharing this deliciousness with us :)

  6. Natalia says

    Olga thanks for sharing this receipe, but i actually tried the one that is not made from crumbs, not even home made crumbs, but if you try to cut cake in cubes or even small peaces and them mix it all with other ingredients, than form in balls, Pirozhnoe will end up fluffy :), moist, and very soft. When it is made of crumbs it is more firm, but still very good.
    Thanks again.

    • says

      That’s a good idea, Natalya! If you want the Kartoshka to be fluffy and moist, you can use the fresh crumbs without toasting the, They will be very soft, too.

  7. veronica says

    Hi olga, i really want to make these yummy Pirozhnoe just had one question about how much butter? is it two sticks butter or one stick and half of one? love your blog just found it.

    Thank you so much

  8. says

    Ahh, the memories of childhood! I just realized reading your recipe for Kartoshka that it’s almost exactly the same recipe as ever so trendy cake pops! Have you ever tried to make them into cake pops?

    • says

      Hi Julia, I’ve made cake pops with a vanilla rum cake and almonds and then rolled them in white chocolate and more almonds. I also like mint chocolate cake pops. You can certainly use this recipe for cake pops. I would probably roll the “kartoshka” in some melted chocolate.

  9. Katya says

    Hey Olga! Thank you for the recipe:) love these! I made them a few times during the holidays and although they always came out yummmy.. they were pretty wet which made it hard to roll them because my hands were so sticky. I put them in the fridge and they were fine after stiffening but still I was wondering if I was doing something wrong? Ures have the perfect consistency! Any suggestions?

    p.s. thanks for your awesome blog, God Bless!

    • says

      I really don’t know why, Katya. Next time you make them, don’t add all of the frosting to the cake crumbs. Add a bit at a time, mix, and then add more until it is the consistency that you are looking for. I honestly always add all of it, and it was always really easy to shape into little balls, but that’s my little secret whoever I add frosting, or even in cooking, when I add dressing to salad, marinade, mayonnaise, sour cream, etc. You can always add more later, but it’s harder to correct if you put too much in.

  10. Innessa says

    Olga I meant to ask what kind of brand do u use for chocolate? I used Ghirardelli and don’t think it tasted right..

  11. says

    These are amazing and super easy. I think I might have used a little less sponge cake then called for but they still turned out great. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  12. Elena D. says

    Hi Olga,
    I really want to try making these but I don’t have round cake forms for the sponge cake. Can I just use my 9×13 glass dish to bake the sponge cake? If so, does the baking time stay the same as with the round cakes or a bit longer?
    Thanks.

    • says

      Yes, you can use the 9×13 inch baking dish, although I’ve never done it there myself, so I don’t know how much time it will take. Just bake it until the top of the cake springs bake when you touch it lightly, or use a toothpick to test for doneness.

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