Russian cuisine can be at times misunderstood. This country has inspired artists and great thinkers alike and its delicious cuisine is steeped in this creative spirit as well. This beautiful but harsh country breeds true wonders, including the delicious offerings of spectacular Russian desserts. Satisfy your sweet tooth like a local with these inspired Russian sweets!
What is Special About Russian Desserts
Russian desserts are the fabric of fantasy. The sugary world of the Russian classic “The Nutcracker” seems realistic when you discover the delicious world of Russian sweets!
Desserts in Russia seem limitless as their love of sweets is legendary. Local bakers have crafted some of the most unforgettable desserts you will ever try.
A common theme in Russian cuisine is the idea of elevating simple foods into something richer and more gourmet. That tradition continues in Russian desserts. Their treats and sweets are simply composed but complex in flavor and presentation.
Desserts in Russia are welcoming, familiar, and irresistible. The heart of Russian food is on the sweets table!
Most Famous Russian Desserts
Medovik/Marlenka (Russian Honey Cake)
This delicious dessert is a superstar of the Russian food world. Medovik is an amazing Russian cake that locals cannot live without! This luscious Russian cake takes some time to get right, but it is well worth the wait!
The key to this delectable cake is in the layers. Russian bakers stack layer after layer of semolina cake flavored with sweet honey. Between each beautiful layer of cake is a creamy filling of smetana or condensed milk. This Russian dessert is sure to become your new favorite!
Traditional Russian Desserts
Kissel (Cold Fruit Soup)
Russian cold soups are world-renowned, so it is no wonder that their dessert soups are world-class! Kissel is a Russian dessert tradition!
It is a very thin fruit soup flavored with cranberry, cherry, and red currants. This soup is served cold and usually sipped like a drink, but sometimes sweet dumplings are served in a kissel for an extra bite of flavor in this sweet soup!
Pechenye Yabloki (Baked Apples)
Few flavors are as universally nostalgic as the flavors of warm apples, and this delicious Russian dessert is the perfect treat to transport you to your youth.
Pechenye yabloki is the traditional Russian dessert of perfectly baked apples. Fresh apples have their middles scooped out and then are filled with butter, nuts, and spices before oven-baking.
The filling becomes sweet and syrupy while the apple gets the wonderful texture of a nice warm apple. Honey is often drizzled over the finished apples to make this Russian dessert positively irresistible!
Blini (Russian Crepes)
To many Russian, blini is so much more than just a dessert! This delicious Russian food is one of the country’s most popular dishes. These wonderfully thin crepes are a sweet staple of Russian cuisine.
What makes these cakes so special is their batter. It is made with buckwheat which gives it a wonderful depth of wheat-y flavor. These tasty, thin cakes are often served with honey and fresh fruit like apples.
Mannik (Semolina Cake)
Semolina is one of Russia’s favorite ingredients and it makes this classic Russian dessert truly special.
Mannik is a dense and delicious Russian cake made with semolina and fresh dairy. After baking this luscious cake is soaked in cream and dusted in powdered sugar; it is a sweet finish that can’t be beaten!
Some recipes call for smetana in the batter while others use kefir, but no matter the variation of this rich cake you will be enchanted by its earthy, creamy, and sweet flavors.
Varenye (Russian Fruit Compote)
If you are born and raised in Russia, this sweet treat is an absolute icon! No Russian dinner is complete without a bite of this wonderfully sweet jam.
The jars of this sweet stuff are not just ordinary jam jars, Varenye is made with whole berries suspended in thick fruit jelly. You can get whole berries in every bite of this sweet substance, and Russians eat this treat every chance they get. It is enjoyed with blini, toast, and even just by the spoonful!
Kartoshka (Russian Truffles)
There is nothing as playful and delicious as the Russian dessert of Kartoshka! These sumptuous bites are addictively delicious and playfully named.
They share a name with potatoes, possibly because the finished treats look a little potato-like. While these small Russian sweets might look like small potatoes, there is nothing spud-like about their tempting, sweet flavor!
Kartoshka are made with dried biscuits or dried sponge cake mixed with butter, condensed milk or smetana, and nuts. The mixture is packed into ball shapes and then rolled in cocoa powder for a tasty although dirt-like presentation. If you want to try the funny side of Russian desserts, these treats are right up your alley!
These simple, yet traditional cookies are a must for parties or holiday time in Russia. Rogaliki is the Russian version of rugalah cookies, and locals cannot get enough of these small sweet treats!
These Russian sweets start with a yeasted dough that is enriched with smetana. The dough is cut into triangles and then filled with butter, nuts, and spices and rolled into lovely crescent shapes.
These baked delights are just right with a cup of coffee or tea on a Russian afternoon.
Ptichye Moloko (Russian Bird’s Milk Sweets)
Bird’s Milk sweets have a special life in Russia. This lovely dessert is made into both a cake and a confection here. Traditionally, Birds Milk sweets are lovely marshmallowy confections coated in chocolate, and in Russia, you can find these candies all over. It does not end there, though.
This sweet flavor is so beloved in Russia that local bakers have perfected a beautiful Russian dessert known as Bird’s Milk Cake. This luxurious cake is made up of a light sponge with a souffle center and a chocolate glaze. It has all the creamy and sweet flavors of the candy in a more elevated package.
Konfeti Batonchiki (Russian Penny Candies)
A great Russian dessert for those who like to keep things fun is konfeti batonchiki or the traditional small penny sweets found in shops throughout Russia.
Like many European countries, locals in Russia enjoy penny candies by the bagful and their signature candy flavors are delightful! Classic flavors include cocoa chews and peanut chews that might remind one of Tootsie Rolls. Pick your mix and enjoy these chewy Russian sweets!
Korolevskiy Cake (Russian Royalty Cake)
If you have ever dreamt of eating like royalty then this Russian cake is the perfect dessert for you! This cake is also known as royalty cake which is fitting because every bite tastes fit for a Tsar!
It is composed of scrumptious layers of smetana-infused chocolate cake, dulce de leche frosting, poppy seeds, walnuts, and sometimes cherries. It has a little bit of everything and is a perfect over-the-top indulgence for special occasions in Russia!
Napolyeon Tort (Russian Napoleon Cakes)
Napolyeon Tort is an absolute treasure among Russian desserts. It is considered by many to be the national dessert and is a favorite for tons of locals.
This beautiful cake is made up of sixteen layers of paper-thin pastry with lush custard filling. The thin pastry is gently cooked on a griddle to give it a nice crispness before it receives its rich, creamy filling. This Russian cake is a textural wonder that will keep you coming back for another bite!
Praga Tort (Prague Cake)
Borrowing its name from the beautiful Belgian city of Prague, these Russian cakes are a love letter to anyone who cannot get enough chocolate! This decadent cake shows how much Russian bakers can do with simple ingredients. This is a cake that is just as beautiful to see in a bakery window as it is to indulge in!
Praga tort is started with chocolate sponge cake that gets a thorough soaking in cream before being stacked. The cake is layered with delicious whipped chocolate frosting and sometimes finished with chocolate ganache.
It is so decadent and chocolatey you will want a cup of coffee or a shot of vodka to pair with these amazing Russian desserts!
Sharlotka (Apple Cake)
Apples are the perfect fruit for Russian dessert makers to use. They grow even in cold climates and can be stored for long periods of time, so they have inspired many Russian bakers to make great treats like sharlotka.
This delightful apple cake is a local favorite known for its comforting flavors. Sharlotka is made with whole apples baked into the cake and sometimes uses smetana. It is always rich, dense, and packed with apple flavor!
Oladyi (Kefir Pancakes)
Russians love all types of pancakes; thick or thin, locals cannot get enough of these sweet cakes! Oladyi are a traditional Russian sweet made from a very unique kind of pancake. This Russian treat can be enjoyed any time of day when you are craving something sweet!
Oladyi are made of a dough that sets them apart from other pan-fried cakes. Their dough uses yeast to leaven the lightly sweet Russian cakes. The puffy pancakes are fried and then served with honey, jam, or powdered sugar.
Tort Pavlova (Pavlova)
This dessert may not have Russian roots, but locals have adopted it as one of their own. Tort pavlova are beautiful Russian desserts inspired by Pavlova. It is a decadent and sweet layered pastry that tastes like fresh summer flavors.
Tort Pavlova is made up of layers of meringue sandwiched with delicious whipped cream. It is finished with meringue frosting and fresh fruit. This Russian pastry is just right for when the cold Russian weather makes you dream of warmer days!
Pashalnii Kulichi (Easter Sweet Bread)
Easter is one of the biggest days of the year in Russia. Families throughout the country gather to celebrate.
No Easter feast is complete without the delicious Pashalnii Kulichi or Easter Sweet Bread. This comforting Easter treat is the perfect dessert in Russia to remind you of the sweeter side of the holidays.
This lovely holiday treat is made from a sweet white bread dough that is seasoned with friendly spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The bread is commonly shaped into towering rolls that are finished with sweet powdered sugar icing. Colorful fresh or dried fruits and sprinkles are used to make this bread look Easter-ready.
Çäkçäk/Chak-Chak (Fried Treat)
This eye-catching Russian pastry is just right for anyone who loves dessert, but not super sweet treats.
Chak-chak is a local favorite that is served at celebrations and restaurants throughout Russia. This fried delight resembles small nuggets, but don’t let its humble appearance fool you. These Russian desserts will have you begging for another bite!
Chak-chak is made of very small balls about the size of hazelnuts that are fried and then dunked in sweet honey. The tiny fried bites are stacked into delicious towers of tiny donuts making this a virtually perfect Russian dessert!
Zefir (Fruit Treat)
Zefir is named for a god which is just right for this heavenly Russian dessert! This delicious sweet treat resembles a meringue kiss, but it has a flavor all its own.
Zefir are made from a mixture of meringue and fruit puree to create a pillowy and fruit dessert that Russians cannot get enough of! The most common flavors of this treat are strawberry or apple and they can be told apart by their color; green for apple and red for strawberry.
Pastila (Fruit Confection)
If you have ever wondered what it would be like if the fruit had the texture of a marshmallow, these Russian pastries are perfect for you!
This sweet treat has been made by Russian chefs for centuries and there is nothing else quite like pastila. It is made simply with fruit and the natural pectins in the fruit cause it to gel into a sweet fruity paste with a texture close to a marshmallow.
Apple and berry are both common flavors for this historic Russian sweet.
Discovering Traditional Russian Desserts
Russia can be misunderstood, but looking at all these Russian sweets, cakes and pastries help shed light on this beautiful culture.
The bakers and dessert chefs in Russia put their heart and soul into simply composed yet beautifully designed sweets and treats that stick in your mind like a favorite song. Dive into all the interesting, comforting, and sweet flavors there are to be found in delectable Russian desserts!