Believe it or not, this seems to be a quite a famous cake on the Russian social media. I hardly found any occurrences in Italian or English, which sort of surprised me. As it happens, I recently started to follow a food and recipe community on Vkontakte (ВКонтакте), the Russian equivalent of Facebook. This appeared in the news feed and I decided to give it a try mostly, to be perfectly honest, because the name intrigued me. More than a cake, this is a vanilla cheesecake topped by a nice layer of meringue.
The consistency of the biscuit-like base, combined with the middle, cheesy layer and the meringue on top is simply divine. Calling it heavenly would probably push it a little bit, but it still is a delicious and not overly sweet cake. The angel tears which give its iconic name to the cake are the small caramel drops which form on the surface of the meringue as it cools, making it look like a very sweet and compassionate angel was moved to tears by this simple yet elaborate cake. As you can see below, my ‘tears’ didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, but you can find more examples of the cake here.
Ingredients (for the biscuit base)
- 140g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 80g unsalted butter, cubed
- 30g golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg
Ingredients (for the cheesecake layer)
- 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 100g soured cream, at room temperature
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients (for the meringue topping)
- 3 egg whites
- 5 tbsp caster sugar
- Start by making the base. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda. Add the cubed butter and use your fingertips to work the fat into the flour. Crack the egg into the mixture and combine it to make a pliable, but not wet, dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, roll it out to to line the base of a 23cm springform tin, then chill it for another 20 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- To make the cheesecake filling, mix all of the ingredients and combine thoroughly. Spread the cheesecake filling over the pastry base, then bake the cheesecake for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through but with a slight wobble in the centre.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool slightly, but leave the oven on. In the meantime, prepare the meringue by whisking the egg whites on high speed and slowly, but gradually, adding the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time. You are aiming for soft peaks, so don’t overbeat the meringue.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread it over the top of the cheesecake layer, then put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave the cake to cool on the rack inside the oven for at least 50 minutes. The meringue layer will deflate, but this is normal. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. The longer it stands, the more ‘tears’ will appear on the surface.