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How to make the Slava cake

Kneading the cake at home is a nice family act and a very nice memory for children, who by
seeing their mother knead the cake, will later carry on this tradition. Young girls should be
helping their mother in kneading, so they could acquire this skill early in their life.

Cakes are usually kneaded the day before Slava. As the hostess cleans up and puts on clean
clothing, she reads Lord’s prayer and then begins the kneading.

In the 1 liter pot add 20 to 30 grams of crushed yeast; pour it with half a cup of lukewarm milk
and spread yeast with your fingers so there is no blob. Then add a little salt, a spoonful of sugar
and a little flour so you get rare dough. The pot should be placed near the stove and left until
yeast has turned sour and filled the pot.

During that time, griddle 1 to 1 ½ kg of a flower into the pot for mixing (if possible this pot should
be only used for this purpose) and warm it up well. Mixing should start once the yeast is ready.
A hole in the middle of the yeast should be made, where you should pour 4 yolk, 2-3 spoons of
sugar, a little bit of a lemon peel and few drops of the blessed water (which the priest has
blessed) and then mix all of that while pouring a bit of a milk, so the dough get the medium
harden. During the mixing, add a bit by bit of a melted butter, and also from time to time dip the
palms in the cooled melted butter and with greased hands mix the dough (use around 100gr of
the butter).

The dough needs to be kneaded until it starts separating from the fingers and until the blisters
show up on the dough. After that, dough should be removed from the pot. Pour the flour inside
of the pot and then return the dough back in that pot, cross it, cover it with few clean napkins
and leave it in the warm area so it becomes sour.

When the dough has reached twice its size, carefully turn it over on the board, sprinkle it with
flour, and shape it in the form of round bread in a round mold, which was previously well-oiled
and sprinkled with flour. During this time, the dough should not be pressed too hard nor be
kneaded, otherwise the cake will not grow. Mold and cake cover with napkins and leave in a
warm place to become sour again. When the cake has grown enough, anoint it with mixed eggs
and decorate ornaments from the same dough.

First, put cross all over the cake (the two pieces of dough making the shape of a cross).

Then border cords are put around the cake making chaplet on the cake. Chaplet is usually
made by a piece of dough and then shaped into smaller roller pieces. Each such piece is cut
twice in the length (end up having three ends). These pieces are put over the cords and are pre-
folded, until the entire cake is completed with border cords and thus creating a chaplet around
the cross. The chaplet and the cross can be shaped by the scissors to make the cake even
more decorative. Wafer is placed at the center of the cross – as small bread with a circular
shape. It is also put across the chaplet, at the end of each of the four branches of the cross (a
total of five wafers).

Then the cake is decorated with other decorations made from fasting ingredients (flour and a
little water). These decorations should not be anointed with eggs. Those decorations can be
created depending on the hostess’ wishes – of that which she wants to have in her house: birds
(pigeons) represent health and happiness. Cluster (grape) represents the wish to have a good
year with plenty of fruits and vegetables; flowers (rose) symbolize the beauty, cleanliness and
nice smell of the soul so the kids can grow up to be beautiful and clean as roses. These
decorations are placed in the field between the arms of the cross and that is enough to make
the cake look beautiful, so in each of the four parts there is a decoration.

However, the most important decoration of the cake is a cross in the middle of a cake with IS
HS NI KA sign located between the arms of the cross - the inscription in Greek means: Jesus
Christ wins. For imprinting this sign there is a special wooden stamp (which every household
should have). Once the dough becomes thinner, the stamp which is dipped in flour is imprinted
onto the dough. The sign is cut by a knife edge from the rest of the dough and put on all the
wafers.

The appearance of the cake and method of making ornaments depends on the skills of the
hostess, but the cake should never be overloaded with decorations.

Decorated cake should be crossed and put in a preheated oven and baked at medium heat.
During the first ten minutes do not open the oven, and after that from time to time the cake
needs to be turned in order for all sides to be equally baked. Keep in mind that the cake should
not be overdone. As soon as the surface of the cake starts getting the colour, cover it by a piece
of a clean white paper and continue with baking. When the cake starts separating from the mold,
it means that it is baked, but it should be still left for another ten minutes on low heat. Well
grown and baked cake should not be heavy. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, it
should be carefully poured on top with warm water in which sugar was previously dissolved (the
outside surface of the cake will then glow) and then put it on a clean plate.

Cake can be made in a fasting way when Slava is during the lent. It is kneaded in a same way
as mentioned before, but without milk, eggs and butter.