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  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake
  • Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake

Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake

Food | March 13, 2018 | Nik Manojlovich
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
  • 75
  • 24
  • Easy

A lemon zest crust with cinnamon-scented apples and a walnut-dusted meringue finish – find out what else makes this LENJA PITA – SERBIAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE so special.

This post is for an easy to prepare sweet treat known as “LENJA PITA” or Lazy Cake, but there are other things that also make this recipe so wonderful. If you’re one who likes to cut to the chase, feel free to skip this recipe’s origin story and just get on with the making of this tasty dessert. Watch the video, then head to the bottom of this page for the full recipe. Another great dessert recipe? Try LIZA’S BROWNIES too!

However, if you’re in the mood for a feel-good story, make yourself a cup of tea, coffee or our SPICED CHAI LATTE and find out why I’m officially renaming this confection a SERBIAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE.

A few months back, I received a message from my friend Kris Yovanovich Myers; she and her family – brother Bob and sister Sandy – had found a cookbook and wanted to send it to me. I said, send away!

Kris, Bob and Sandy grew up in Windsor, Ontario, hanging out with my sisters and I. My parents, Buz and Danny, were friends with their mom and dad, Angie and Mel. We did all kinds of stuff together, from afternoons by the pool, summer days at HOLIDAY BEACH and delicious meals shared together. Many wonderful life memories were made when the Yovanovich and Manojlovich families got together.

Looking back all these years later, I realize those times were so perfect because our honest, hard-working parents made sure our lives were filled with good things. I still see their bright, smiling faces and can hear their bold, beautiful laughter. They were there, in good times and bad, and my heart warms with recollections of all the love.

A few weeks ago the package arrived – an obviously well-read book called “KUVAR – Jugoslovenskih Jela” (translation: Cookbook of Yugoslav dishes).

The vintage cookbook contained recipes from the various regions of the former Yugoslavia and was written in Serbo-Croatian; I instantly thought “sheesh, I’m gonna need a translator”. But as I flipped through the book, I saw something truly amazing – on the really good recipes, I noticed handwriting. Tears welled up in my eyes; it all made sense. I was in possession of the beloved cookbook of Bob, Sandy and Kris’ mom, my beloved Auntie Angie, complete with handwritten translations. Can someone please pass me a Kleenex?!

As we started making this LENJA PITA or Lazy Cake recipe, I looked to Auntie Angie’s handwriting and it was like having her right next to me in the kitchen, instructing and showing me the key steps.

I’ve realized a recipe such as this isn’t about the dough, or the apples or the meringue topper – it’s all about the recipe we create to live a full and meaningful life, surrounded with great friends.

When you go to make LENJA PITA – SERBIAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE, serve it up to the people that mean the world to you and make sure to give hugs all around!

This recipe is from Kuvar – Jugoslovenskih Jela, printed in Pennsylvania in 1946. It is prepared exactly as written with original handwritten translation by Angie Yovanovich and supplementary translation by my sister Dana – yay! It is a super easy recipe and the results are sweet and satisfying.

I’d like to express my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to Angie’s husband, Uncle Mel, and to their incredible children, Bob, Sandy and Kris. Thank you for this gift!

LENJA PITA – SERBIAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE – a trip down memory lane with a few unexpected turns, leading back to home – where the heart is!


4 Responses to “Lenja Pita – Serbian Friendship Cake”

  1. […] main course made with fresh asparagus, peas, and pea shoots, and read about a gift that turned into LENJA PITA, or Serbian Friendship cake. Finally, please check out our City Slicker Playlist on YouTube where […]

  2. […] Download Image More @ weekendatthecottage.com […]

  3. Audrey says:

    We have a friend who is a visiting musician, and I would love to make this for him.
    It’s on my list! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I’ll think of you and your Auntie when
    I make it.

    • Nik Manojlovich says:

      Thanks for writing in Audrey! Hope you get a chance to try it… it’s really perfect for dessert or as an afternoon snack!


Ingredients & Amounts

  • For the dough:
  • 5 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pound of butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites for topping)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • For the filling:
  • 2 pounds of tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of ground walnuts
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • lemon juice, optional
  • For the top:
  • 2 egg whites, whipped
  • ¼ cup of ground walnuts
  • a dusting of icing sugar for garnish


  1. Prepare the dough: Sift flour and salt together. Rub in butter, forming pea-sized crumbs. Add sugar, egg, egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and grated lemon zest. Stir together, then knead with your hands to make a rich dough that crumbs. Divide into 2 parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the filling: Place apples, walnuts, breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix together. If your apples are very sweet, add a bit of lemon juice for tartness.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. Assemble the cake: With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to the size of your 9x13” baking pan. Place dough into the bottom of the pan and press down around the edges to create a uniform bottom crust. Lay out the apple mixture on top, pressing the apples down. Roll out the second half of the dough and place it into the pan on top of the apple mixture. Trim the edges neat.
  5. Add meringue topping: Whip the two egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites on top of the dough and dust with ground walnuts. Before placing into the oven, score the top layer of the cake into 24 squares.
  6. Bake for an hour until the meringue begins to brown. Leave it in the pan to cool before cutting. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

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Nik Manojlovich

Nik is the creator, host and brains behind Weekend at the Cottage. He loves sharing his wisdom and experience about the things that interest him most.



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