If there ever was the easiest cake to make, then this Serbian inspired Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake is it! As I remember my mom’s delicious food, this dessert was always a refreshing treat. In the Balkans, this old traditional cake is still prepared by mum’s, grandmas and even great grandmothers. Perhaps what makes this cake so appealing is that it is inexpensive and requires simple ingredients. It also takes less than thirty minutes to make. This lovely cake is soft, sweet and absolutely delicious.
ORIGIN OF KOH KOLAC / HOT MILK CAKE
It is not that long ago that mothers and grandmothers had to make do with what they had in the kitchen. Often, milk, eggs and flour were the basic and most required ingredients of the time.
Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake gained popularity in the 1940’s. However some report that it was mentioned as far back as 1911. This cake is also most commonly referred to as a Depression Era cake. And as with many Depression Era recipes, hot milk cake was a result of having very limited ingredients.
For those (like me) who love history and tradition, it is lovely to see this cake prepared in our kitchens even today. It is the kind of cake that younger generations such as myself can look back on as that refreshing and comforting cake that mum would whip up on a hot summers day.
THE SERBIAN VERSION
Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake has a really soft and moist texture. It is usually a dessert for children. Although it makes a great afternoon tea or coffee treat for adults as well.
In the region of Serbia and other neighboring countries, Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake is prepared with semolina. Using semolina gives an extra lightness to the sponge. The milk still absorbs well into the sponge just as it would with a regular flour cake sponge. We do use some flour to ensure the cake holds well. However semolina really steals the show here because it makes the cake soft and not overly chewy. This cake is so light that it is often served cold and enjoyed on hot summer days.
Hot milk cake doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. All you need is eggs, sugar, semolina, flour, milk, and a pinch of lemon zest. Because you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, this hot milk cake is the perfect last minute dessert to satisfy those sweet cravings!
The cake is made by beating eggs until thick and foamy, mixing in the dry ingredients and then finishing with warmed milk. It is a good cake base that you can fully enjoy all on its own or with all kinds of decorations, garnishing and flavors!
As with most recipes involving eggs, be sure that your eggs are at room temperature. This means the eggs will whip up nicely and provide that great airiness to the sponge of the cake. Also, for the best flavor it is bets to use whole milk.
HOW TO SERVE KOH KOLAC / HOT MILK CAKE
This Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake is well – milky, perfect for those who love milk! This cake can be enjoyed as is or if you want to be fancy, go nuts with any extra toppings!
The cake does taste best once it has cooled in the fridge overnight! You can also serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, some summer berries, or sprinkled with icing sugar. My personal preference is with a spoon full of jam and some chopped dried figs.
While this cake is great as a dessert, it can also be a great snack or a fun breakfast idea! You can cut the cake into smaller slices. This makes them perfect for an afternoon snack with some tea of coffee. For breakfast, you can serve this cake with some jam and a side of fresh fruit. It is a great breakfast idea during summer time!
Koh Kolac / Hot Milk Cake
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 120 g caster sugar
- 100 g semolina
- 40 g plain flour
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 500 ml whole milk scalded
- 50 g caster sugar
- strawberry jam
- chopped figs
- icing sugar
- shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180°C & line a square baking dish with baking paper.
- Separate the egg whites from the egg yolk.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed. Beat until the egg whites form firm peaks and gradually add in the 120 g of caster sugar.
- Add in the remaining egg yolks, lemon zesst and combine.
- Turn the mixer speed on medium and add in the semolina and flour. Mix until combined.
- Transfer the mixture into a square baking dish that has been lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on 180°C or until golden brown.
- In the meantime, bring milk and sugar to a boil and set aside.
- Once the sponge is done, take it out of the oven and immediately pour the already cooked milk over it.
- Leave it to absorb the milk and to cool, then transfer to a fridge overnight.
- Serve koh kolac / hot milk cake with fresh fruit, jam, some icing sugar or just as is.
If you’re a fan of shortbread or pound cake, you may also enjoy this classic hot milk cake. It is a great soft, fluffy and light cake to prepare at any time! It does not take long to put together and you can always add a personal touch with the type of toppings you desire.
Happy cake eating ❤️