Found at Recipe Studio where the author, Nadia, posts about the foods of her childhood/homeland, Russia.
This is a very dense cake. Try using different chopped nuts and dried fruit and there you have a completely new cake. Wet, fresh ingredients, like chopped apples, do not work well with this dough. For a more traditional taste, use unbleached all-purpose flour and substitute brown sugar with white.
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sugar (white and/or brown)
all purpose or whole wheat flour plus
all purpose or whole wheat flour
chopped walnuts or other nuts
sliced dried apricots or other dried fruit
mixed spice: ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. - your choice
1Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the cooking pan (about 9" in diameter). First spread vegetable oil over the bottom and the sides with your fingers or a brush. Then, pour the farina into the oiled pan and tilt it over the sink until there is a thin coat of farina covering all surfaces that the dough will touch. This makes the cake easy to remove and gives it an extra bit of texture.
2Chop the nuts into bits. When working with walnuts, I usually just break them with my hands. Slice the dried fruit. Choose the size that fits your taste. Set the cutting board aside.
3Combine eggs, sugar and any flavorings you have in a large bowl. Use a mixer to beat to this mixture until the sugar dissolves (may take a couple of minutes for dark brown sugar), or almost dissolves.
4Add 1/3 of the flour, mix it in with the mixer. Repeat twice until all flour is integrated. The dough will be slightly runny, but rather viscous. It should pour, but not splatter.
5With a wooden spoon, thoroughly mix the nuts and dried fruit into the dough. The dough will be very chunky. That's normal.
6Now for the fun part. Put the baking soda (not powder!) into a small dry cup. Hold a teaspoon ready in your hand as you squeeze lemon over the cup. Don't worry about the exact amount of the lemon juice. You need just enough for all of the soda to react with it. As the soda bubbles vigorously, mix it with the spoon so that all of it reacts with the juice. These are the bubbles that will cause the cake to rise. From now on your actions should be swift: the sooner you put the dough into the oven, the more time these bubbles have to raise your dough. So, carefully fold the bubbles into the dough. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan. With a spoon, spread the dough so that it evenly covers the bottom of the pan.
7Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes. To test for readiness, insert a dry wooden chopstick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean - the cake is done. Let the cake cool before cutting.