Anthill cake is the definition of Slavic childhood comfort food! It features buttery cake crumbs soaked in dulce de leche and shaped into a festive “anthill”.
Muraveinik is the childhood cake of most Slavic kids and a slice is sure to bring back warm memories. From birthday parties to special occasions, it’s a fun and festive staple that always hits the spot. What’s better? It’s super easy to throw together and is the perfect candidate for a make-ahead dessert.
A Little Background on Muraveinik
Muraveiunik, or “anthill cake”, gets its name from how most people shape the caramel cake dough. Typically, you’ll find it formed into a mound to resemble an anthill and covered in cocoa powder or chocolate ganache to mimic dirt and ants. Made with minimal, affordable, and simple ingredients, it was a popular cake to serve during hard times in the Soviet-era. Today, it’s a comforting staple that remains one of the most tried-and-true Russian recipes.
A Step-by-Step on Making Anthill Cake
The most interesting part of oddity of a cake is the need for a meat grinder. You’ll use it to shape the dough into long, thin strips that form the “anthill” texture.
- Make the Cake Batter: Place the all-purpose flour into a large bowl with sugar. Next, use a fork to stir in the soft butter and sour cream. In a small bowl, whisk the baking soda and vinegar together and add it into the flour mixture. Pop the dough into the refrigerator for an hour.
- Grind the Dough: Next, pass handfuls of the dough through a meat grinder to create long, thin strips. Spread the ground dough pieces on a prepared baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Make the Cake Base: Break the dough pieces into tiny pieces. Combine the softened butter and dulce de leche until creamy. Add the dough pieces into the caramely mixture and give it a quick stir with a spatula.
- Form the Cake: Shape the caramely cake crumble into a mound on a serving plate or pop it into a lined bread pan – it’s up to you! Allow it to set in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!
5 Handy Tips & Tricks for a Perfect Anthill Cake
From our kitchen to yours, check out 5 essential tips and tricks for nailing this Slavic staple.
- Allow the unsalted butter to soften at room temperature. The butter will be so much easier to incorporate into dough and cake cream if it’s been softened at room temperature. Pull it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start baking and you’ll be golden.
- If the dough is too dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. If the cake dough is a little too dry and crumbly to handle, add in 1-2 tablespoons of water to hydrate it.
- Mix in your favorite odds and ends. Experiment with the flavors of this classic cake by mixing in your favorite ingredients. Walnuts, hazelnuts, chocolate sprinkles, and poppy seeds are all great additions.
- Allow the cake to set overnight. This killer cake is a thousand times more tasty when you allow it to set overnight and fully develop all its flavors. A chill overnight also makes for easy slicing. Don’t skip this step!
- Make your own dulce de leche from scratch. You can always buy dulce de leche store bought, making it homemade is super simple. Check out our recipe for Instant Pot Dulce de Leche for all you need to know.
Make-Ahead & Storage Tips
Anthill cake is great for making ahead and can be assembled up to 3 days in advance. To keep it fresh, cover it tightly in plastic wrap on a large plate or store it in an airtight cake container (just make sure you don’t build your mound so high that it doesn’t fit!). When stored properly, this cake should keep fresh for up to a week.
Could you use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour?
Unfortunately, the texture just wouldn’t be the same. Stick with all-purpose flour for the best results.
Can you use something else besides a meat grinder?
Leave the dough in the freezer for a bit to harden and use a large side of the cheese grater. It will work just as good!
If you form the cake in a loaf pan, what size should it be?
We use 12in. x 18in., but you can use whatever size you have on hand. This recipe is very forgiving!
Can you use a white chocolate drizzle instead?
Yes!, you can! It will add a nice creaminess to the cake.
Other Russian Cake Recipes
- Zebra Cake Recipe (The Classic) – Kid-friendly marble cake
- Bird’s Milk Cake Recipe (Ptichye Moloko) – Festive mousse cake
- Chocolate Layer Cake (aka Spartak Cake) – Chocolate and cream layer cake
- The BEST Russian Honey Cake – Honey and caramel layer cake
- 200 g Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
Dulce de Leche Cake Cream
- 2 cans dulce de leche
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- In a large bowl combine flour together with sugar.
- Using a fork, stir in the softened room temperature butter. Add in the sour cream and give the batter a good stir.
- In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar. Add the mixture to the dough and stir until well combined. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Put the dough into a meat grinder to form long, thin strips.
- Spread the dough pieces evenly across a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350°F.
Adding Cream to the Cake
- Break the baked cake strips into tiny pieces.
- Combine the softened butter with the dulce de leche until smooth and creamy. Combine the butter and dulce de leche mixture in a bowl.
- Form the cake into the shape of your choice. To look like an anthill, many people create a mount on top of a large plate. Leave it to set in the refrigerator overnight.
What kind of recipe is this!?? Definitely needs revisions! I measured everything out exactly and the dough turned out way to crumbly!!! Way too much flour!! fAIL!!!!
Hi Elena, I am sorry to hear that the recipe didn't work out as planned. In the instructions, it says to add 2 tablespoons of cold water if the dough is too crumbly. That should do the trick. I hope you give this recipe another go in the future.
I assume the sugar and flour are mixed together in the same step? The ingredients list has sugar, but the method of how to make the cake doesn't mention sugar at all!! :/
Hi Chloe- the sugar is added in to the butter and sour cream mixture. We missed adding that into the instructions and will update it, thank you for catching that. Enjoy the cake! 🙂
Hi, Natalya, it was so nice to see a good recipe as I mis this cake. I was in Kazakhstan and really enjoyed this cake . Can you please help me in getting the recipe for honey cake too. Thanks a million...
Hello, Ramesh. So glad you enjoyed the anthill cake recipe. We do have a honey cake recipe on the blog, I've linked it here: https://momsdish.com/recipe/1…
If you're looking for a recipe in the future, you can use the search bar on my website to search for whatever you're looking for! Enjoy!
I was so excited to try this, i thought it would be pretty easy. But the dough kept falling apart. I ended up looking into a other recipe with a similar dough. I needed to save the dough because is was sooo crumbly - ended up adding 4 egg yolks and additional 100g of butter and not having to refrigerate.
Next time im going to mix the sugar and room temp butter first, sour cream, flour then the baking soda/vinegar mix. I want to see how the dough forms in that order, and then if needed again, ill add the yolks.
Hello. I'm glad you were able to modify the recipe and make it work. If the dough is too crumbly next time, I recommend adding a tablespoon or two of cold water to bring the dough together. Otherwise, let us know how it turns out with the ingredients added in the order you mentioned. Thank you for commenting!
Is doesn’t mention what the 1/2 cup of whipping cream is for???
Hey Zory, whipping cream is to make the chocolate ganache. See step 5 for more details. Hope this helps! Enjoy
Hi do you think almond flour instead of regular flour would work?
Hey Jana, unfortunately, the texture of the dough will be different. I don't beleive it would work well.
Is there another way to break this dough with out using the stand up mixture? I don't have one
Leave the dough in a freezer for a bit and use a large side of the cheese grater. It would work just as good 🙂
Another question, what is the 200g butter for ? Its listed on the ingredients list.
I separated ingredients to make it easier. Thank you!
How long is your lined bread pan? Where did you buy it?
I think it's 12X18, I got it at business Costco
I made half of this cake Just to sample it and it was delicious :)) I also used a hand grater! I always thought this cake was hard to make but it was so simple! Thanks!
I agree with you Oksana, some recipes look so complicated but so easy 🙂 I am so happy you enjoyed this cake 😉
This cake looks so delicious!! will def try it soon! So I was thinking I absolutely love white chocolate. Do you think it will taste good if I substitute white choc chips? I've never had any version of this cake before so I'm not sure what it tastes like
I think so, especially if you love the white chocolate. It will be wonderful.
Hi. So I'm assuming I need two cans of cooked condensed milk and 2 sticks of butter? thats what I got from the picture since it's not listed in the ingredient list. Thanks!
Oh darn dear!!! I need to add that in but you are totally right.
Slavic kids? I'm from Polish, I have some research on the Slavic cuisine, but such a thing had never heard before. It is in our cake called anthill, but it's not the same cake. Our anthill is stacked with several layers of "Faworki" or crispy, fried cookies.
In any case, the cake looks very appetizing! 🙂
Every child and adult who is Slav or speaks or ever spoke Russian (and that would mean every at that time educated Belorussian, Moldavian and even Latvian, Lithuanian and Georgian - you get the point ) or Ukrainian knows this cake. It is a universal staple because it is so good.
That's good to know 🙂 Its like catching up on the culture while you are on the other side of the world 🙂
Hi how interesting. It's hard to point out every region of countries that make this specific version 🙂 I would love to try out the Polish version for sure.
Have to make this!! Looks awesome!! It looks like your ingredient list is missing the condensed milk??
Yes, thanks for pointing that out. I'll note that in the recipe!
I also mix walnuts in, it goes very well in this cake.
Thanks for the tip, I will try it next time 🙂
I like so add a handful of marshmallow, they go well with the texture.
Oh wow, that's interesting.
I like this cake a lot!!! Because the texture is different from a usual sponge cake ( that is kinda old now ) I really like your presentation !!! Looks a lot better then a pile of dough with cream :))) but girl you have to add the poppy seeds. It's a must and a tradition :))))) those little black things add such a crunch to the cake !!!:)))) will Def try your version of it 🙂
I guess every region had their own way of making it. But I think it would add a nice flavor to it. You can never go wrong with poppy seeds.
We never added poppy seeds. That is 1st time I ever hear of it. Then might as well add chia seeds, boost some nutrition LOL
I like the chia seeds idea. Now I am thinking flax seeds and other seeds and some dry fruits. lol 🙂 whole grain too....
OMG this was my favourite cake ever!!! The best cake ever!!! I would take this over any cream cake any day! You could also use hand grater to grate the dough (like I don't own a Kitchen Aid mixer). "Because of a very rough lifestyle..." lol, it was rough, that's true - bread with butter and sugar for dessert on MANY occasions.
Wow, you actually like desserts 🙂 lol... Yes, I was going to add that into tips. Thanks for mentioning the option with the grater.