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Ledene Kocke / Ice Cubes

20 minutes (+ 40 minutes cooking time)


24 slices

A refreshing dessert best served cold Ledene Kocke / Ice Cubes. This signature dish is found across the Balkans, either homemade or in cake shops. It is hard to find someone from the Balkans who has not tried this dessert. It has been passed down from one generation to another and is loved by most. Made with a chocolatey sponge, topped with a homemade custard and a chocolate glaze, this dessert is best eaten cold. I grew up eating Ledene Kocke often, and love to make it not just for special occasions but even as a comforting dessert for when I want something sweet, but homemade. This recipe is my go-to. 

Ledene Kocke / Ice Cubes

About this recipe

Along with kiflice, pancakes and kokosov rolat, Ledene Kocke is one of those desserts that defines my childhood. Often, my mother would make this delicious dessert because we asked for it. And as kids, we asked for it often. It didn’t matter if it was summer or winter, we ate it anytime. For me, this dessert is such a family dessert, something we all loved and enjoyed eating. Most of us could easily eat two slices in one go, and there was always more the next day.

If you have seen other versions of this recipe, you will notice that some recipes for Ledene Kocke have a white middle layer and others a yellow layer. Some people make the custard in different ways, but the type of butter can also play a role. In New Zealand, we have really good quality butter and so custard gets a beautiful yellow colour. Like with most recipes, Ledene Kocke can be made with different little tweaks, but in the end the moist sponge, custard and chocolate layer is what makes this dessert a popular Balkan dessert. 

Ledene Kocke / Ice Cubes

Some tips for recipe success

To help you get the best result, below are some tips for making each component of this recipe. Some of the tips for making custard are similar to the Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs recipe.

The Custard

Make the custard first – Since the base comes together quickly, this gives enough time for the custard to cool. Prepare the custard first and set it aside.

Whole Milk – It is best to use full-fat milk. Reduced fat milk doesn’t have enough fat to give custard its creamy texture.

Vanilla Sugar – In Serbian baking, we use a lot of vanilla sugar. However, if you do not have this, you can substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla essence or vanilla paste.

Cornstarch – Use good quality cornstarch. You can find this is the baking aisle of your supermarket. This is what helps the custard thicken.

Mix fast – Once you add the flour and cornstarch mixture to the milk, combine everything with a whisk and stir vigorously. Once the custard thickens, you can remove it from the heat and set aside to cool. The key here is the fast use of the whisk.

Cold unsalted butter – To give more flavour and thickness to the texture, use cold unsalted butter. Only add the cold butter once the custard has cooled, otherwise it will melt. Using a hand mixer combine the butter into the custard until no lumps remain.

Ledene Kocke
The Base

Egg whites – The base is made with egg whites and egg yolks. However, you need to separate them first and mix the egg whites into stiff peaks. Whipping up the egg whites gives the base volume.

Mix on high speed – Make sure that your mixing bowl is clean. To gain volume and stiff peaks into the egg whites, you will need to mix on high speed for about 2 – 3 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar and the egg whites should also become glossy. 

Egg yolks – Once you add in the egg yolks, the egg whites may deflate a little bit. This is normal as we are not making pavlova. However, the egg whites will remain voluminous.

Flour & Baking Powder – This recipe does not use too much flour as the base should remain light and airy. Adding flour will add some structure to the base and the baking powder helps to give the batter a rise. 

Cocoa Powder – Some recipes for Ledene Kocke use more cocoa powder for a darker chocolatey shade. I prefer a lighter colour to the base. Add only 20 g (or 1 heaped tablespoon) of cocoa powder to the entire batter and combine.

The milk – The base for Ledene Kocke should have some moisture. Some recipes use sugar syrup. However, since the dessert is sweet enough, I prefer to add cold milk. This helps to soften and moisten the base.

Ledene Kocke slices

Looking for more?

If you are looking for more ideas, try one of the recipes below:

Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs

Sour Cherry & Filo Pastry Pie

Lenja Pita / Lazy Apple Pie

I hope you enjoy making Ledene Kocke / Ice Cubes. This popular Balkan dessert reminds me so much of my childhood. The combination of the base, custard and chocolate layer is divine! Leave a comment and let me know how this recipe turns out for you. If you get a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. If you get a little stuck or have any questions, you can also reach me over on Instagram



Adjust Servings
For The Custard
1L full fat milk
160g caster sugar
10g vanilla sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
160g caster sugar
100g all purpose flour
40g cornstartch
100g cold, unsalted butter
For The Sponge
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
100g all purpose flour
100g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
20g cocoa powder
60ml cold milk
Chocolate Glaze
150g milk chocolate
100g unsalted butter
20caster sugar


The Custard
To a large pot, add 1 L of milk, caster sugar and vanilla sugar, whisk and set this aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk 6 egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Then add the remaining 6 egg yolks and continue mixing. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined.
Once this mixture is combined, heat the milk and sugar over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Once the milk has boiled, add the egg, flour, and cornstarch, and whisk quickly. Continue whisking and cooking the custard until it thickens. This can take 1 - 2 minutes. This custard should be a thick texture. Once it has become very thick, remove from the heat. Set the custard aside and allow it to cool at room temperature. Once the custard has cooled, using a hand mixer, combine the 100 g of cold butter and mix until smooth and combined. Set aside and make the sponge.
Mark as complete
The Sponge
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a rectangular baking tin (35 x 25 cm) with baking paper. To make the sponge, add 6 egg whites to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer on high speed, whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks. While whisking, gradually add the sugar. Next, combine the egg yolks into egg whites, flour, and cornstarch. Towards the end, add the baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix until combined. Reserve the milk for later.
Transfer the sponge batter into the rectangle baking tin and bake in the oven at 180°C for 25 minutes. The base should turn a golden brown colour. If you are unsure, stick a sharp knife through the middle to make sure it is baked. Once baked, pour the 60 ml of cold milk while the sponge is hot over the edges and middle part of the sponge.
Mark as complete
Allow the sponge to cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, spread the custard over the sponge evenly and set aside to make the glaze.
In a small pot, add the chopped chocolate, butter, and sugar. Heat over medium heat until melted. Pour the chocolate over the custard layer, making sure to spread evenly. Refrigerate the Ledene Kocke for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight before serving. When slicing, to prevent the chocolate from cracking when it’s cut, run a sharp knife under hot water. Wipe off the water and then cut out squares. After each cut, run the knife under hot water again, repeating the process until you have cut all the pieces. Serve Ledene Kocke cold and enjoy!
Mark as complete
When making the custard, it is important to whish the mixture quickly so that no large lumps form.
Leave the Ledene Kocke to chill in the fridge. Cover with a towel or cling wrap to keep it fresh.
If you do not have vanilla sugar, you can substitute with a teaspoon of vanilla essence.

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