Honey cake (aka Medovik) is probably the most popular and well known Russian cake. It is simple but insanely good. Thin soft honey flavored cake layers pairs perfectly with the sour cream frosting. I bet you will love it as I do.
I have a love affair with Honey cake
If I had to eat only one cake for the rest of my life I will probably choose this and I don’t really care which recipe would be used. I love them all.
Honey cake was a part of our family history for all my life. My mother used to bake Honey cake every year. It was our special occasion cake and the occasion was New Year. Oh, it was a long wait. Sometimes we baked it on my birthday and once we’ve made gigantic one to celebrate my grandma’s 55th anniversary (it was shaped like 1980 Olympics mascot, I have no idea why).
When I start cooking there were so many things to try that I didn’t bake Honey cake for a while but was always glad if it was served during different gatherings with friends and family. Now I got back to it with huge success.
Thin layers Honey cake
There are a lot of Medovik recipes. The layers vary from thick and soft sponge to thin and delicate cookie like. Among my family and friends, thick layers were the most common thing. We baked plain one with just a sour cream frosting but there were variations with prunes and walnuts. All equally delicious.
Some years ago Natasha Dolgikh shared a recipe of celebrity patisserie chef from Moscow Oleg Ilyin in her Live Journal and it became viral. Everybody was baking it but I tasted this cake only last year. After that, I’ve baked it 3 times.
Traditionally the cake is layered with sour cream with a bit of sugar, sometimes you may find a recipe with dulce de leche cream. In this recipe, sour cream is mixed with heavy cream. I also used cranberry puree to add some tartness and balance the flavors. Next time I will probably go with prunes and walnuts.
The cake on the pictures is made with 1.5 portions of the dough and frosting. It’s 7.5” and has 17 layers.
Tips for success
The dough making is pretty easy but you should prepare.
1. Take large pot for the dough because when you will add baking soda there will be lots of foam.
2. Don’t put the dough into the fridge until you roll it.
3. If you choose to make fruit layer use tart varieties like cranberries, lingonberries, raspberries. The pure has to be very smooth. If you use nuts finely chop them in a food processor.
4. Prepare sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough very thinly.
5. Use kitchen scales.
Honey cake aka Medovik
For the dough (makes 1 cake 9-12'')
- 110 g sugar
- 110 g honey
- 90 g eggs
- 110 g butter
- 9 g baking soda
- 2.5 g citric acid
- 390 g all-purpose flour
For the frosting
- 300 g heavy whipping cream
- 200 g sour cream
- 40 g powdered sugar
For the two berry layers
- 250 g fresh cranberries
For the dough
- Add sugar, honey, and eggs to a pot. Heat a little and add butter. Mix well with a whisk.
- Bring the temperature of the mixture to 140F/60C in a bain-marie or over low heat. Constantly mix it with a whisk. Take it off heat, add baking soda and citric acid, and whip it into a foam.
- Add all flour and stir it in with a spatula to form a dough. Let it cool until you can handle it.
- Divide the dough to 9 portions 90g each and cover with clean film. Roll each portion paper-thin between two sheets of parchment paper. If the diameter of the cake is not too big you can do this on one paper sheet without any problems. Be careful not to wrinkle the paper under the dough. Put the rolled dough into the fridge until you ready to bake.
- Bake each portion 5-6 minutes on 320F/160C, or until dark golden. Immediately after the baking cut the disks of the desired diameter with the help of a plate and knife. Crumble the leftovers for decoration.
For the frosting
- Whip the cream with sugar powder. Fold it into a sour cream. If your sour cream lack tartness, add some lemon juice (1 tsp). Put the frosting into the fridge until you ready to finish the cake.
- Assemble the cake layering the dough with the frosting and berry paste (I use it in every 3rd layer). Cover it with the last portion of frosting and sprinkle with the leftover crumbs. Refrigerate the cake for 6-8 hours before serving. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For the berry layers
- Put the cranberries with a bit of water in a saucepan and cook untill they are tender. Make the cranberry paste with the blender and rub through a sieve to get rid of small seeds and skin. Use it for every third layer of the cake.
I’d love to hear from you!