Zapekanka (запеканка) is a Russian village cheesecake made of cottage cheese (tvorog, творог) and smetana (сметана). It’s less sweet and smooth than the New York cheesecake and makes a great breakfast (if you cook it the evening before) topped with some marmalade and fresh berries. (And don’t forget to brew a cup of café de olla!)


Yields 4 portions

For the base

  1. 550 g of cottage cheese (tvorog)
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 35 g of honey
  4. 15 g of corn starch
  5. 5 g of vanilla extract
  6. 1 lime
  7. 100 g of smetana
  8. butter
    room temperature, for greasing

For the topping

  1. 300 g of smetana
  2. 1 egg
  3. 15 g of honey
  4. 5 g of vanilla extract
  5. 1 lime

You will need

  1. mixer
  2. oven
  3. 16–18 cm baking form
  4. food processor (optional)


Before you start: warm butter to room temperature.

To cook the base

  1. Preheat oven to 170 ˚C.
  2. Mix cottage cheese (tvorog) using a food processor or push it through a sieve to smoothen the grains.
  3. In a big mixing bowl, combine 2 eggs and 35 g of honey until you have fluffy light beige mass, using a mixer.
  4. Add the cottage cheese of step 2, 15 g of corn starch, 5 g of vanilla extract, and zest of 1 lime, then mix using a silicone spatula.
  5. Add 100 g of smetana and mix again.
  6. Put baking paper onto the bottom of the baking form and butter its sides.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking form.
  8. Bake 10–20 minutes.

To finish zapekanka

  1. While the base is baking, prepare the topping. Mix 300 g of smetana, 1 egg, 15 g of honey, 5 g of vanilla extract, and juice of 1 lime using a mixer.
  2. Pour the topping on top of the base, and bake for 30–40 minutes more.
  3. Cool down the cake in a turned-off oven and then in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Notes & tips

You could buy both cottage cheese (tvorog) and smetana in any Russian store.
You could replace honey and vanilla extract in the base with 35 g of date syrup.
Smetana (сметана) is a type of sour cream similar to crème fraîche.

This recipe is based on a recipe from Viktoria Melnik’s book “Food as it is”.

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