Tuesday, 12 August 2014


If you haven’t had Russian slice before then you haven’t live. It’s a dense, boozy cake, usually made with the left over bits of other cakes and squashed together with some rum and jam. It’s hard to find recipes for it anywhere really, I don’t really think there is an exact one, and the existing ones I came across all used stale, bought cake. Not wanting to have any chemicals or preservatives in something I’d like to call homemade, I decided to make it completely from scratch, with a plain vanilla and chocolate sponge (from the same batter) that I leave out for about a day to dry up before reviving with the booze and topping with icing. I’m proud to say that I’ve created and mastered my own recipe for a homemade Russian slice.

250g butter, room temp
250g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa powder
A few splashes of milk (if necessary)
5 tbsp dark rum
3 tbsp apricot jam

For the Icing
8 tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp dark rum
About 2 squares of dark chocolate

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Grease 2 loaf tins with butter then dust with icing sugar.
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Alternate adding the eggs and flour, whilst mixing, until you have a thick cake batter. Add the vanilla extract and then loosen the batter with some milk if it seems too thick. Pour half of this mixture into one of the tins. Add the cocoa powder to the other half, stir well and then pour this into the other tin. Bake both for about 35-40 minutes, until risen and springy. Turn both of the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Leave these here, covered with a little kitchen paper, overnight and longer to dry out.

Line a loaf tin with cling film, going both ways and leaving excess over the edges.
Once the cakes are dry break them up randomly into a large mixing bowl. Pour over the rum and apricot jam and mix well (with your hands) until you have a dense and wet mixture. Press the mixture firmly into the loaf tin, levelling it out and then covering with the excess cling film. Take another loaf tin and fill with weights (or anything heavy-jam jars work) and place on top of the cake to weigh it down. Refrigerate overnight for the cake to set and the flavours develop.

Once the cake is ready, remove the weight but leave in the tin to ice. Mix together the icing sugar and rum until you have a thick icing then pour over the cake and spread out. Melt the chocolate for a minute in the microwave and spoon over in lines (in one direction) over the icing. Take a toothpick or a knife and drag the icing in lines backwards and forwards in the other direction to give you a feathered affect. Pop back in the fridge for the icing to set before removing from the tin with the cling film, slicing and enjoying this boozy, underrated and 100% homemade treat.  


  1. Looks very appealing, I love the way you've decorated it!

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  3. I remember russian slice as a child, sold in the bakers alongside a rich moist dark brown bread pudding sweet and spicy packed with dried fruit, the russian slice was not wet and dense, but light and moist with hint of rum

  4. I love Russian Slab cake. As a child there was a thin layer of sponge with the light moist chocolatey rum cakey filling and the feathery Icing. My favourite. I think it is an individual recipie from a badic idea

  5. This cake was sold in all the cake shops in the 1950's up until about the 1990's when it went out of fashion. It was made to use up all the unsold cakes in the shop, it wasn't unusual to find bits of pastry from the jam tarts or almondy bits from the almond slices. It had a pastry base( cooked on its own) and then the filling ( my local shop used Sherry added to it and apricot jam) then a thin sheet of sponge on top, pink or white boiled fondant icing with a feathered pattern on top. In the north of England it was usually called Wine Slice. Congratulations on figuring out the recipe x