Míša řezy is a traditional Czech dessert made of three layers: a base of airy chocolate sponge cake, a cheese-based middle layer, and a thick chocolate glaze. The star ingredient is a cheese called quark or tvaroh in Czech. It is a firm, spoonable curd cheese that is popular in Central Europe and is similar to cottage cheese, fromage frais, or farmer’s cheese - although these cheeses differ somewhat in consistency and/or fat content to tvaroh.
Míša řezy means “Mickey’s squares” in Czech. It is based on the popular Míša popsicle, which was invented in 1962 and consists of tangy, quark-based ice cream covered in dark chocolate. It is an integral part of Czech childhood. The Míša logo features a grinning green bear holding its arms above the word Míša.
Míša řezy traditionally is made as a large sheet cake and it is cut into squares. This recipe is for a smaller circular version. It is simple to prepare and the combination of chocolate and cheesecake is delicious. In addition to being served for dessert, Míša řezy can be eaten for breakfast - a piece of cake is a typical Czech breakfast!
Preparation time 1 hour (plus up to 5 hours of refrigeration) Bake time 15 minutes Makes one 20cm / 8in cake
For the cake layer
3 eggs, separated
42 grams (3 tablespoons ) vegetable oil
38 grams (2 ½ tablespoons) water, at room temperature
24 grams (3 tablespoons) cornstarch
15 grams (2 tablespoon) unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
45 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
For the cheese layer
320 grams (11.3 ounces) tvaroh / quark, at room temperature*
125 grams (9 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
80 grams (⅔ cup) confectioners’ sugar
15 grams (1 tablespoon) rum
For the glaze
100 grams (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate, broken or cut into pieces
50 grams (3½ tablespoons) butter, cubed
23-30 grams (1½-2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
* If you can’t find tvaroh, use a firm, curd-like cheese that contains at least 35% fat or a mixture of several cheeses. I used 240 grams (8.5 ounces) of a high-fat (40%), dense cottage cheese and 80 grams (2.8 ounces) of mascarpone. Do not use a fresh cheese that is too soft or low in fat as the middle cheese layer will be too runny, making it difficult to slice the cake.
Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
Butter a round springform cake pan (9 in/23cm) and line the pan with parchment paper, cut to fit. Butter the parchment paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet and side aside.
Measure out all of the ingredients.
Start by making the cake layer. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, vegetable oil and water until pale, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch, cocoa and baking powder together in a small bowl – this prevents the cornstarch from clumping together. Sprinkle this mixture over the egg yolks and briefly beat until just combined.
In another clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and salt until soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks.
Immediately fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Pour into the prepared cake plan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and in the preheated oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Set aside to cool. [Note: My cake layer shrunk after it cooled so I took it out of the springform pan and placed it on a cake plate with an 8 in/20 cm mousse mold ring around it to ensure that all three layers can be seen in the final presentation.]
Next, make the cheese filling. Beat the quark (or alternatives if you can’t find quark), butter, sugar and rum until combined and smooth.
Spoon the quark mixture over the cooled cake layer in the springform pan or in the mousse mold ring. Cover the entire surface in an even layer using a palette knife and then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to set.
Finally, make the chocolate glaze. Melt the butter, cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water (bain-maire). Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not resting in the hot water or the mixture will scorch. When the chocolate has melted halfway, remove it from the heat and stir to finish melting the ingredients. Set aside to cool until it is barely warm.
Pour the glaze on the chilled cheese layer and spread evenly over the entire surface using an offset spatula or by gently moving/rotating the cake plan in your hands until the surface is covered.
Refrigerate the míša řezy for 3-4 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, slice the cake. To facilitate cutting, dip the knife blade in hot water and wipe dry after cutting each slice. Eat immediately after slicing.
Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I personally prefer míša řezy on the first day it is made.