One of the first things that strike you about this cake is its name. Strange, right? Supposedly the recipe has been wafting about for half a century or so, fulfilling women’s desires with its luscious texture and sweet layers of cake, jam and marshmallow-like meringue.
Is it exclusively Croatian? That I’m not so sure of, but when it also goes by the names – ženske želje and ženske mužice – it seems to be prevalent in that part of Eastern Europe.
The layers of the cake are relatively easy to construct. There’s a soft and moist cake layer at the bottom, a generous topping of jam that’s baked onto it, then the whole thing is topped with meringue before being baked again. Triple baked, yet ever-so-moist.
I’ve adapted the recipe by incorporating vanilla and lemon zest in the cake batter. Two flavours that I was surprised weren’t there in the first place.
Every recipe I’ve seen has plain meringue on top. That’s all fine, but if the cake is all about ladies whims or desires, why not add a little more “femme” factor by making it pink with jam and a few drops of colour?
A final flourish of powdered sugar and flower petals and it’s ready to dive into. Just be gentle when transferring the cake onto a serving dish – my clumsy heavy-handedness split the cake in two!