Last updated on November 9th, 2019
Planning your trip to Russia and thinking of the best things to eat? Don’t worry, you will soon learn about 10+ amazing desserts to try in Russia. Russian desserts are yummy! No matter where in Russia are you heading, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan or Vladivostok (or anywhere else) these desserts are pretty universal, you will be able to find them anywhere in the country.
If you’re new to this blog, hey! I’m Liza. I am originally from Russia, however, I’ve been living in the UK for a while now. I do, however, have a lot of content about Russia on this blog, so feel free to check the entire “Russia travel” category, I’m sure, you will find a lot of useful information like the best things to do on a weekend in Moscow or the local’s guide to St. Petersburg!
I also wrote a blog post about the dishes to try in Russia, feel free to check it out!
Without further ado, let’s start with 10+ amazing desserts to try in Russia!
10+ amazing desserts to try in Russia now (Best Russian and Soviet Desserts)
1. Medovik or the Honey Cake (Медовик)
My absolute favourite Russian dessert is Medovik or the famous honey cake. Medovik is a very complex cake and it’s not that easy to cook it yourself (that’s why I never even attempted baking one, despite the fact that it’s my favourite Russian cake). Hence, the best way to try this cake is in one of the restaurants in Russia. I’ve tried many versions of the cake, but my favourite one was probably in the chain of restaurants called Ginza project. You can find Ginza restaurants in many Russian cities and even in NYC and London (Mari Vanna in London is part of Ginza group).
A good Medovik should be very tender and soft, however, it shouldn’t be soggy or too sweet. Also, even though it’s called honey cake, it shouldn’t taste too much like honey.
Read my post about St. Petersburg vs Moscow: if you only can pick one city >>>
2. Napoleon Cake (Торт Наполеон)
Another traditional dessert and one of the best Russian cakes that you have to try is the Napoleon cake. It originated in France as millefeuille, however, in Russia it went through years of changes and adjustments to the local taste and the final version now looks like this. It was named Napoleon to celebrate the victory of Russia over Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812. The cake is very creamy and has multiple layers of dough – it’s a perfect afternoon dessert.
Check my ultimate guide to St. Petersburg here >>>
3. Sweet crepes – Blini (Блины)
You might think that crepes are just a French thing, however, they are also very popular in Russia. Russia has taken a traditional French dish and changed it with a twist introducing both savoury and sweet crepes. Savoury crepes could have fillings such as onions and potatoes, bacon, cheese, pickles and even caviar inside. Sweet crepes are often served with honey or jam, however, I would recommend you to try a crepe with Russian condensed milk (a very sweet thick milk boiled with sugar).
One of the best places to try crepes is a budget-friendly chain called Teremok. Last time I checked (about 6 months ago), they even had English menus in the restaurants in St. Petersburg city centre.
Read my post about the Christmas Market in Moscow >>>
4. The “Potato” Cake – Kartoshka (Пирожное Картошка)
The pastry with a funny name “Potato” (well, it looks like one, hence the name) was very popular in the USSR. It didn’t require any fancy ingredients and every Soviet lady could easily prepare a couple of these as a dessert for the family. The main ingredients are eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, double cream, brandy and condensed milk. It’s a simple, yet very delicious dessert that represents the cuisine of USSR.
You can try this pastry in various bakery chains in Russia. In St. Petersburg, you can head to Bushe or Sever, for example. You can even try it in the very affordable chain of canteens called “Stolovaya Number 1”.
Read my post about the best cities to visit in Russia >>
5. Bushe Cake (Пирожное Буше)
Another famous Soviet dessert is called Bushe. Bushe consists of two biscuits and very nice fresh butter cream between them. It looks like choco pie by Orion (have you ever tried this Japanese dessert?), however, the taste is quite different.
You can try Bushe in the same bakeries I mentioned for “Kartoshka” cake. The chain Bushe is named after the cake, however, you can only visit it in St. Petersburg, as I’m not sure it has opened in Moscow yet.
Read my post about the best things to do in St. Petersburg >>>
6. Sweet pies (Pirogi – don’t confuse with polish pirogi) (Пироги)
Another one of the amazing desserts to try in Russia is sweet pies or Pirogi. Just like with blinis or crepes, there are two versions of the pies – sweet pies and savoury pies. I honestly prefer savoury pies, as they can be a perfect meal substitute, however, Pepe prefers sweet pies. Sweet pies can have a fruit filling (forest berries or apples) or they can have jam in them.
One of the best places to try pirogi or pies in St. Petersburg is Pirogovy Dvorik, a chain of restaurants that specialises in pies.
Read my post about local’s favourite bars in St. Petersburg >>
7. Chocolate “sausage” – kolbaska (Шоколадная колбаска)
Chocolate sausage is another Soviet invention. It’s actually pretty easy to prepare one at home, however, it’s still easier to try it in a cafe first and see if you like it or not.
Read my post about the best areas to stay in St. Petersburg >>>
8. “The Earl’s Ruins” Grafskie Razvaliny (Графские Развалины)
The Earl’s Ruins sounds like a fancy cake and it looks pretty elaborate, however, it was created in the USSR and it uses pretty simple ingredients such as meringue, eggs, sour cream, flour and cocoa powder (along with some others). It’s a very common cake and you will be able to find it in any Russian restaurant that specialises in local cuisine. Nonetheless, “The Earl’s Ruins” is one of the best Russian cakes and one of the country’s favourites.
Read my post about how to get to Moscow from St. Petersburg and vice versa >>>
9. “Nuts” with the boiled condensed milk (Орешки с вареной сгущенкой)
One of the best cookies or biscuits to try in Russia are the “nuts” with the boiled condensed milk that tastes like toffee. Of course, they aren’t real nuts, it’s a cookie in a shape of a nut with a delicious filling. You can buy them in any supermarket or sometimes, you can find them in the Russian restaurants as well. It’s not a very complex or elaborated dessert, but it’s delicious.
Read my post about visiting Peterhof Palace – the most impressive palace in St. Petersburg >>>
10 Pryaniki (Пряники)
Pryaniki are traditional Russian cookies that are not served in a cafe, however, you can buy them in any supermarket in Russia. Pryaniki are typical Russian gingerbread cookies (however, not all of them contain ginger). However, most of pryaniks contain honey instead of gingerbread. They can be plain or have a filling, e.g. jam or condensed milk.
11 Zefir (Зефир)
Another one of the amazing Russian desserts to try in Moscow or St. Petersburg (or anywhere else in Russia) is Zefir or Russian marshmallow. Zefir can be coated in dark chocolate, milk chocolate or can be not coated at all. You won’t be able to find it in any restaurant, however, just as pryaniki, you can find it in any supermarket or bakery. Just head to the sweets section and you will find it. Some of supermarkets chains in Russia are Spar, Diksi, Pyaterochka, Okey, Prisma, AB and more!
12. Russian doughnuts – pyshki or ponchiki (Пышки или пончики)
Another must-try Russian dessert is pyshki or the Russian doughnuts in St. Petersburg. This one will be mostly relevant in Saint Petersburg only, if you go to a very famous Soviet cafe selling pyshki located in the city centre, on the Bolshaya Konnyushennaya street next to the DLT department store. They might look simple and unappealing, but they are very delicious when freshly made and still warm. As the cafe is very popular (prepare to queue for 15 minutes or so on the weekends), the Russian doughnuts are always very fresh there – they barely make it on time to satisfy the demand. You might think that 1 or 2 are enough, but you’ll see people around you asking for 15 and even more doughnuts. First of all, they are very delicious. Secondly, they only cost 15 RUB per piece – that’s about 20 cents.
Bonus: condensed milk – Sgushenka (Сгущенка)
I mentioned condensed milk as an ingredient in many Russian traditional deserts (as well as Soviet dessert), however, you can eat it on its own. Sgushenka or condensed milk is very sweet milk with ca 8% fat that you can buy in any supermarket. You can then eat it on a piece of bread with butter – it tastes soo good!
Another version of the condensed milk is “boiled” condensed milk or Varyenka that reminds most people of Dulche de Leche.
I hope you enjoyed this post about 10+ amazing desserts to try in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg or anywhere else). I tried to include a selection of traditional Russian and Soviet desserts and hopefully, you will like most of them (or even all of them). Make sure to check out my other posts about Russia: e.g. how to stay safe in Moscow or how expensive it is to travel in Russia!