Curly Vanka (Ванька кучерявый) Cake

I only have one regret in life. It is called Babywise

It is 2002 and we are pregnant with our first. We are gifted a book. Babywise. First-time expecting parents, we read the book like a bible, memorizing ideas for raising a healthy independent kid.

Our sweet girl is born. She is beautiful. She lovingly and trustingly gazes into our eyes as we breastfeed, burp, and play with her, every 4 hours, on the clock. At the end of each ritual, we carefully lay our infant down in her crib, quietly tip-toeing out of the room. As soon we close the door, our baby starts crying. I remember that soul-penetrating sound to this day.

Sometimes she cries for hours, while we lean against the door of her room, with our hands clasping our ears. For reassurance, I keep re-reading the page in the book that confirms that we are, indeed, on a path of doing everything to raise a healthy obedient human, as long as we don’t give in to her infant manipulation. Integrate your child into your life; don’t let her rule yours.

2021 and our second kid, now 15, calls us from Camp. He is crying to pick him up 7 days too early. He is miserable. I hear the pain in his heart but the Babywise voice in my ears goes on repeat. He needs to learn to persevere to learn to survive life.

I get off the phone with him; my heart is in knots. I remember that feeling oh so well. I ignore my motherly instincts and make myself go to sleep. In the morning, I wake up and so does my “gut”. I hear my boy’s call for help. The same call we ignored when his sister was a helpless infant. I need you! Please, help me!

5 minutes later, my now-ex-husband and I are in the car, with an 8-hour trip ahead of us, racing to pick up our hurting child while his sister cheers us on the phone, “Kiss him from me, mama and papa.” No. More. Regrets.

Curly Vanka (Ванька кучерявый) cake 

This is a regular version of the cake. For a Keto version, replace flour with almond flour 1-to-1. And Sugar with stevia (you will need 10 drops of stevia per each ½ cup sugar.) For Paleo, follow the Keto version and replace sour cream with vegan sour cream.


Cake layers




Cake layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine sour cream and vanilla. 
  3. Combine baking soda and vinegar. Add to the sour cream mixture until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 15 min over high speed until pale and thick. 
  5. Combine eggs with sour cream mixture.
  6. Slowly add flour and mix to combine.
  7. Pour ½ into a foil-lined springform pan.
  8. Add cocoa powder to the remaining batter, stir to combine and pour into the 2nd foil-lined springform pan.
  9. Bake for 25-35 min (or until toothpick comes out clean.) Let the layers cool.

Frosting and Ganache

  1. For Frosting, beat the sour cream and sugar until well combined. Set aside
  2. For Ganache, simmer the first three ingredients until combined. Whisk in the butter. Let ganache cool.


  1. Place vanilla cake layer on a prepared plate. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chocolate layer into uneven small 1-inch cubes. 
  3. Dip each cube into the sour-cream mixture.
  4. Randomly arrange the cubes over the vanilla cake layer, in the shape of an ant hill.
  5. Pour ganache over the top of the cake. Refrigerate overnight. The cake tastes best the next day or the day after.

Drink Pairing

Enjoy this beautiful natural local Camp with a slice of this cake.

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