Cottage Cheese Semolina Cake (Zapekanka)

"This recipe is for a Tvorozhnaya Zapekanka which is a delicious Eastern European warming cottage cheese and semolina bake, with lemon zest and vanilla. I really recommend serving it with a beautiful berry or fruit sauce, like the blackcurrant sauce below. Zapekanka is crustless and not meant to be too sweet. Commonly served warm as a breakfast dish, but depending on what you put in it, it can also be served as a dessert after lunch or dinner. I’m sharing a recipe that is really fast to put together and then it’s up to you if you would like to add any other ingredients – experiment with fresh berries or orange zest and dried fruit (zapekanka is often made with sultanas as well). This recipe is best made with cottage cheese that is traditional and dry. I wouldn’t recommend making this recipe with a cottage cheese that has a lot of liquid – as the consistency will be too moist. The addition of semolina makes this quite light and the extra semolina sprinkled on the surface of the baking tin creates a nice almost crunchy like edge."
-- @anastasiazolotarev
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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 10mins
Cook time 1hr
Serves or Makes: 6

Recipe Card


  • 2 (16-ounce) containers dry style cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup semolina, extra sprinkle for coating the cake tin surface
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 16 ounces blackcurrants, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for serving if desired
  • butter or oil, for coating the pan


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a medium baking pan or spring-form cake tin (round or rectangular) by evenly spreading the butter or oil over the surface then sprinkle with an extra large pinch of semolina all around or use baking paper to cover the surface.

  • Step 2

    In a medium size mixing bowl add the cottage cheese, eggs, semolina, 1 tablespoon of sugar, baking powder, vanilla and use a microplane to finely grate the lemon zest directly over the mixture. Use a fork to combine the ingredients together thoroughly but still keeping its rough texture and not making the mixture overly smooth.

  • Step 3

    Transfer the cottage cheese mixture into the baking tray/cake form and even out the surface (don’t press down too much) then evenly spread out the 2 tbsp of sour cream over the surface. Place it into the oven to cook for approximately 1 hour and then turn up your heat to 400°F for the last 10 minutes. The cake is ready once the surface has risen and is slightly golden in color.

  • Step 4

    While the zapekanka is cooking in the oven, make the quick blackcurrant sauce. In a small pot place the blackcurrants, along with the remaining sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Bring to a boil then add the cornstarch and reduce the heat to a low. Stir for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside until serving.

  • Step 5

    Remove the zapekanka from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. The top surface will naturally fall and flatten a bit. Remove from the pan. Top with plenty of extra sour cream and the blackcurrant sauce. Slice into wedges and serve warm!

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