Happy Belated Birthday, Igor!
The Bomba Torta. Not a cake I had heard of until visiting Vanja’s homeland for the very first time, and meeting his mother. There was one hiding in her fridge for his birthday celebration. Oh, how she prepared and fussed every time we came, but particularly this time. It was the first for me, his first in a few years, and it was his birthday in a few days. She hadn’t had the privilege of celebrating his birthday with him for many years, and as a mother, I could understand her joy.
It looked nothing like this cake on the outside, but it was almost identical on the inside, except the chocolate there is different. So, the taste was different. The terroir is different, and there is no such thing as whipping cream there. Seriously. No such thing. There is Slag, which is like our Dream Whip. Nothing else. Of course, there are cows everywhere, and heavy cream on the farms, but not in the stores, and no one uses it in their houses like we do. They make cheese with their milk and so many other things. But not ice creams and whipped creams. Butter is a delicacy and usually bought at the store, if used at all.
I immediately had her tell me her recipe and I wrote it down. Vanja translated. We didn’t speak the same language, but we loved one another. And, understood one another more than most could fathom.
Pava Lugonja’s Bomba Torta: Making the Shell
Of course I used my Thermomix. I use it for everything I do, but wrote the recipe as Pava gave it to me, and she certainly did not have a Thermomix.
Dust the parchment paper, spread out the batter and bake. Watch carefully as it takes only a few minutes.
Pava Lugonja’s Bomba Torta: Making the Filling
Again, all in the Thermomix. Voluptuous velvet chocolate filling. Irresistible.
Pava Lugonja’s Bomba Torta: Putting it all Together
Place the shell in a round or domed bowl while still warm and pliable. Don’t cut off the edges. Fold them over the filling and top with leftover bits of shell.
Weigh the Bomba Torta and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Pava Lugonja’s Bomba Torta: Decorating
Whip the cream and decorate with candies or other garnishes. This time, I used a pastry bag with a large tip and make thick marshmallow type bobbles all over it. Usually, I spread the cream over it, as Pava did with milk and sugar, and then add candles and sprinkles.
Certainly, Pava was a diva! She was as dramatic as I am in her kitchen and presented every specialty with flair. This cake just didn’t “get served”. It got presented with a theatric presentation, family fan fair and a figurative drum roll in honor of her work and the family member it was lovingly made for. I loved that about her. I understood that about her.
The first time I made it was for Vanja’s 40th Birthday Pig Roast Celebration in 2006. We had been together 8 or 9 years by then, so it was more than about time! He was shocked, she was thrilled and it was an all round perfect surprise.
I also made it for his 50th Birthday Pig Roast Celebration this past July. The one above is the same size as the one made here, and in the recipe. It is actually very small, if you don’t decorate it with such flair, as I did for Vanja’s brother, Igor, below.
Igor has visited us a few times. The last time, he lived with us for 7 months. Time flew. Everyone says, how could you have a family member live with you for 7 months and not go nuts? Not sure. Maybe I am already nuts? No. I think Igor is just easy to be around. For sure, Vanja and I spend much less time together. I did miss our time, but I understood the situation, as well, and am so happy we had this opportunity.
And so it was, so many years ago, when Igor stayed her, we celebrated his birthday together with Pava’s Bomba Torta. She was still alive at that time, and delighted. Oh, I love to make her happy. I had never published the recipe, and now is the time. Does anyone have their own version of the Bomba Torta or a recipe for a dome cake they would like to share here?
Pava Lugonja's Bomba Torta
This was the Lugonja Birthday Cake. It is a traditional cake in the former Yugoslavia and Balkan area in Europe. There are many different varieties of this cake, and this is hers.
Ingredients for the Shell:
- 5 eggs
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 5 egg yolks
- 350 grams icing sugar
- 250 grams butter
- 100 grams semi-sweet chocolate , melted
Ingredients for the Frosting:
- 2 cups whipping cream , whipped
Ingredients for Garnish:
- candy or decorations of any kind
Instructions for the Shell:
Beat sugar and eggs together; fold in dry ingredients
Spread on parchment covered cookie sheet; bake at 180C for 7-8 minutes, or until top springs back
While still warm, mould it into round bowl; cut pieces to fit, as necessary
Leftover bits will be used to cover bottom of torta; do not cut over end pieces as they will fold over the filling
Instructions for the Filling:
Cream yolks, sugar and butter together well; add chocolate (nuts, raisins, jelly candy, etc.)
Mix until combined well
Putting it together:
Fill shell with filling; fold shell edges over the filling and cover bottom with leftover pieces
Cover with a plate and add a weight; refrigerate overnight, at least
Invert and decorate
Instructions for the Frosting:
Beat whipping cream until thick and spreadable; cover the cake completely
Decorate with candies etc.
Refrigerate until ready to serve
I really enjoy making this cake, but honestly, do not like the “cake” or shell part of the recipe. It is a brilliant recipe. Easy to remember, to make and works like a charm. But the taste? Well? Meh. Even maybe… Meh-yucky-meh. However, that is how it is. I would love a better shell recipe, but wonder if it would be as pliable as this one. Suggestions welcome.
I never did tell Igor…..
i remember lovely Igor! what a good sport he was washing dishes for our very first EatAlberta!
i know why he stayed 7 months…..your cooking!
beautiful recipe Val
i can almost taste it!
Another must try! Looks delicious!!
Hi Valerie: I have been thinking about the cake part and it seems that it would be bland. What would happen if you infused the sugar with vanilla for 24 hours before making the cake? Or used your recipe for a classic jellyroll as it will certainly tolerate the gentle handling needed? You wouldn’t take away from the dessert itself the way a torte could. Just a few thoughts, Brendi
Bojana Abdi Bakovljev says
Yep, that’s one version of the original recipe. My recipe just has different proportions of eggs, sugar and butter, but you would get very similar results with either yours or mine.
You say you don’t like the shell. There is a similar torte called “Cassatto”, where you actually use lightly soaked finger ladies cookies instead of a sponge cake shell. Soak finger ladies in sugared milk, but you can add vanilla or rum or coffee…up to you. The rest is the same. Place them in a bowl, cool or freeze, fill it to the top with filling, cover the top/bottom with cookies, freeze some more, flip, frost.
My version of Bomba Torta has a more frothy filling, as my mom’s recipe calls for very well beaten egg whites (in your recipe measure, it would be 5 whites) that you mix into the filling at the very end. My recipe also calls for a rum flavour- either 1dl of the real thing, or a few drops of rum extract. See if that makes your filling less bland, especially the real thing????!
Valerie Lugonja says
Love the Cassatto version, but you know how sons are. Their mother’s version is always the best. Regardless of whether it is, or not. Pava was a great gardener, and worked very hard to feed her family delicious food. Many of her recipes were delicious, too… but many cut corners in the later years to save pennies and still, she was never a good baker, though she tried. Where are you living now, and where is your family from? Curious about the place that the origin of your family recipe hails from. Thank you so much for your comments.
Happy 2018 to you!
Sorry for replaying only now. For some reason, I haven’t gotten an info about you replaying on my comment. I discovered this by chance, checking out my internet footprint. The recipe for Bomba Torta is famous throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia. It had always been a favourite treat one would make in the times of celebration and happiness. As you have already pointed out, all areas of former Yugoslavia had been frequently under social unrest and food was scarce. Spending 20 eggs in a cake recipe was not an easy feat, and hence the special “times of plenty” status of this particular torte.
I am originally from the northern province of Serbia, called Vojvodina, now living in Toronto.
Valerie Lugonja says
Lovely to meet you, Bojana.
Most likely the response from me on my site to you went into your spam folder. It was sent, I can promise you that. Lovely to hear back from you. I haven’t been to Voyvodina – but we have friends from there. My husband’s brother lives in Belgrade and we travelled there every year for many years. His mom passed in 2014 and his dad last summer. We sure miss them, but I will always make this cake for his birthday “from Pava to her son”… as she would have wanted me to.