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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lake Bled Cream Cake

I mentioned in several of my previous blog posts about the Lake Bled Cream Cake (Kremsnita) we ate in Slovenia.  Recently I decided to see if I could find a recipe to make this great dessert.  I searched the internet and decided to try the recipe that sounded the most authentic.

As we prepared to spend the weekend at our friends in Bend, I made sure that I gathered all the necessary items to make the cake.  The hardest thing to find was the pyloh dough used for the top and bottom crust.  I looked at three stores until I found Organic Fillo Dough at a New Season market.

The recipe has three components: crust, vanilla cream filling, and whipped cream filling.  The bottom crust is a single section that fits into the bottom of the serving dish (in this case a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex glass cooking pan) and the top crust is pre-cut into individual serving sizes to prevent it from shattering when cutting for serving.

I started by setting the oven to 375 degrees and then finding a cookie sheet, in this case an air bake pan.  I gave the cookie sheet a light coating of cooking spray.  Next, I calculated the size of the serving dish (one-half a sheet of pyloh dough) and then stacked eight sheets of pyloh dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter before laying on the next sheet.  Once I had built the stack, I trimmed the excess so it would fit into the bottom of the serving pan.  I cooked the crust for ten minutes until it was a light golden brown.  Once the bottom crust was cool, I placed it into the serving dish.

Next, I started working on the cooked vanilla cream filling:
  • 1-cup sugar
  • 4-tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4-teaspoon salt
  • 4-cups of milk
  • 4-egg yolks, beaten
  • 4-tablespoons butter
  • 4-teaspoons vanilla
I had the sugar, cornstarch, and salt already measured and stored in a plastic Ziploc bag, so I added the contents into a large saucepan and then added the four cups of milk and four egg yolks.  I cooked over medium heat while constantly stirring until the mixture thickened and boiled for one minute.  Once it has boiled for the minute, I removed the saucepan from the heat, added the butter and vanilla, and stirred until they were fully integrated into the mixture.

I had prepared a large bowl filled with ice water and I placed the saucepan into the bowl of water to cool the vanilla filling.

While the oven was still hot, I prepared the top crust.  It is constructed almost the same as the bottom crust, except I stacked ten sheets of the pyloh dough (brushed with the melted butter between each layer), then cut the final stack into individual rectangles (2 x 2.5 inches) that will be the final serving sizes.  I separated the pieces on the cookie sheet so they didn’t touch each other, and then baked for ten minutes.

The vanilla filling was now cool, so I spread it evenly over the bottom crust in the serving pan and covered the pan with foil and placed it in the refrigerator for an hour to chill.

When everything was cool, I started on the whipped cream filling:
  • 1-quart whipping cream
  • 1/2-cup sugar
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla
I placed it all in a large bowl and started mixing with a hand mixer.  The directions say to mix until it is thick, fluffy and stands in firm peaks.  This is what we did, but we later realized it needed to be whipped until it is very firm!

I spread the whipped cream over the layer of vanilla cream until it was level with the top of the serving pan (this left about one and a half cups of leftover whipped cream).  I placed the individual squares of crust on top of the whipped cream layer; it looks great!  I covered the dessert with the aluminum foil and placed it back in the refrigerator to chill until after dinner.  I should have dusted the top crust with powdered sugar, but we didn’t have any that I could find, so we went on with out the “snow” dusting.

When I served the pieces by cutting around the individual crust rectangles, I was disappointed that the whipped cream oozed out the sides of the pieces because it was too soft.  I next time I will whip it longer or I might even try adding some gelatin to make sure the whipped cream filling is firm and will not spread.

The dessert tasted delicious, and everyone really enjoyed it.  The whipped cream nicely balances the full flavor of the vanilla cream and the crust adds a nice crunch.  Next time I will make sure that the depth of the whipped cream matches the depth of the vanilla cream for visually aesthetics.

This is an easy dessert to make, and it works best if it is prepared ahead of time.  I do recommend only making this dessert when there are plenty of people to eat it to reduce the risk of eating too much.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

Products of Lake Bled, Slovenia


  1. Oh my gosh. This looks fantastic. Does phyllo dough come in a gluten-free version????! (Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no.)

    I did find a nice sounding recipe for pomegranite gelato on one of your Google ads however! I will have to try the yogurt-based version one of these days when I am feeling ambitious.

    Hope you are enjoying time on the island.

    Am still very much enjoying your blog.


    1. As far as my educated guess goes, it may not be plssible to have "gluten free Phylo pstry" because it is the gluten that gives the wheat flour its elasticity & malleability. The ony way to make gluten free anything stretchable will be to add a whole lot od additives that may be chemically manufactured. My commonsense suggestion for the gluten intolerant people, you already have a problem, so, please stick with the naturally occurring foods even if it means giving up on what are considered & marketed as "the ultimate pleasures" You need to understand that adding more of the dangerous chemicals & processed foods may satisfy your taste buds but will cause a whole lot of problems that are worse than that. There are cultures which have a whole plethora of gluten free foods which are not only delicious but also a chock full of nutrition. Check out the cuisines fron India...they have a whole lot of foods, that they consume on a daily basis, that is vegetarian, obten vegan, & totally gluten free. There is a saying, "the further back you look into the past, the more clearly you can see the future. If you look at the timeline of almost all the modern diseases, you will find a DIRECT CAUSATIVE relationship between them & the fast progress of the hi-tech (read it as hi profit) food processing industry, pharmaceutical industry & the medical sciences Otherwise, the very same foods that were nourishing the humans & animals for millenia, suddenly became poisonous in less than 100 years? You don't have to be a rocket scientist (or a doctor) to figure out what is going on....There is nothing people will not do for money & please think for yourself, & about your own health & your wallet too.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I've been wanting to make this for a couple years (after visiting Lake Bled, of course) but couldn't find a recipe I trusted enough. I'm going to try this as a surprise for my husband's birthday in a couple weeks :)

  3. Thank you for posting this! How far ahead of time can you make this dessert before eating it? My dad and I just got back from Slovenia visiting relatives. My husband and I are having Christmas with him on Dec. 27 and am wondering if making it on Christmas will be too early? I'd like to surprise him, but if I have to make it at his house, I'm sure he would be fine without the surprise.

    ps. My husband and I moved from Portland to Wisconsin in August and I REALLY miss New Seasons. :-(

  4. Based on our experience the next day after we made this recipe, I would not make it ahead of time. You could make the pastry portion and set it aside and probably the custard (make sure it is really thick), but I would only make the whipped cream portion just before serving.

  5. Hello fellow Oregonian! My wife and I live in Portland and just came back from Bled. This is one of the first recipes we decided to try and find so thanks for the blog!

    I was thinking, it doesn't look like they make top squares, it looks like they cut through the cake. I wondered when I was at Bled how they managed to cut such a delicate pastry so perfectly. I didnt ask, but I bet they freeze it or partially freeze it after they cook it, then cut it with a sharp kinfe, then put it out to thaw and serve.