This is a Russian butter cake with a decadent swirl of sugar, walnut and cinnamon swirl, which gives the cake a sweet crunchy texture. When adding the brown-sugar mixture to the middle of cake, be sure to scatter it evenly so that the cake can be sliced with ease when it is cooked.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (91 votes)


  • 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra, to grease 
  • 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar 
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 300 g (1¼ cups) sour cream 
  • 110 g (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 100 g (1 cup) chopped walnuts 
  • icing sugar, to dust

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 5 minutes

Preheat oven to 180°C. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Fold butter mixture and sour cream alternately through flour mixture until just combined.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts in a small bowl. Grease a 20 cm cake ring and spoon in one-third of the cake batter. Scatter over half the sugar mixture, then top with half the remaining cake batter. Scatter over remaining sugar mixture and top with remaining cake batter.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.



Photography by John Laurie.


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4.