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  • Writer's picturerodica godlewski

a festive Christmas cake: "cusma lui Guguta"

"Cusma lui Guguta" translates into "Guguta's hat", as in an Eastern European shearling hat. A slice of this cake is supposed to stand up on the plate and look more like a hat, however I got overexcited with my sour cherry rolls and instead of 10 equal parts, I divided my dough into 15 equal parts, thus making the overall layers too heavy to hold their shape standing. Nonetheless it is utterly delicious and it is sure to impress when served at the end of a copious holiday meal.


For the dough:

  • 14 Tbs butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 2 Tbs cognac

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp vinegar

  • 3 cups all-purpose white flour

For the filling:

  • 24 oz pitted sour-cherries (I buy mines at European stores, they come as compote in a jar)

To decorate:

  • 32 oz heavy whipping cream, cold

  • 2 envelopes whip-it stabilizer for whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup vanilla sugar

  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar

  • 6 oz sweetened coconut, shredded


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, cognac, and the baking soda mixed in the vinegar. When everything is incorporated, add the flour one cup at a time. Knead into a smooth, pliable dough, then divide into either 10 or 15 equal parts (I did mine into 15).

  2. Roll each part into a 12 inch long strip, place the sour cherries in the center of the dough, then close the dough tightly around the cherries (see below pictures for reference).

  3. Arrange the sour cherry rolls on a parchment paper coated sheet pan. Cover lightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F, convection setting. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, then allow for them to cool down to room temperature (some spill or breakage is normal during baking and it won't affect the overall aspect of the finished cake).

  5. To make the cream, place the heavy whipping cream in a large bowl. Add the whipping cream stabilizer, the vanilla sugar and confectioner's sugar. With the help of a stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form, then stop. Do not over whip.

  6. To form the cake, on a large platter alternate sour cherry rolls with layers of cream. If you have 15 rolls then use 5 for the bottom layer, 4 for the next layer, 3 for the next, 2 for the next and one on top. If you have 10 rolls then use 4 for the bottom, 3 for the next layer, 2 for the next, and one on top.

  7. Coat the finalized cake in a layer of cream and sprinkle generously with coconut flakes. Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs. This step is very important as it will make the slicing of the cake easier given the sour cherry rolls will soften.

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