Growing up as a child in Russia I have many fond memories: trekking to school through snow, spending my summers at grandma’s dacha and the smells of traditional, home cooking. Piroshki, Pelmeni and Borscht are the Russian classics but one thing the women in my family really excel at, are cakes.
The summer time was the season for berry cakes and pies, as my grand father brought back kilos of blueberries, blackberries and other types of forest berries common in Russia. The dough was always made fresh and the jam freshly boiled in grandma’s kitchen. Because I loved watching my grand father sort through his fishing lines and work in his attic (this is also where the berries were stored) I picked at the freshly picked berries day after day.With my stomach full of forest berries, my favourite baked dish quickly became the the Russian Medovnik or Honey Cake.
This divine cake is made from layers of delicious cookie-like dough and softened with cream. Called the honey cake, I personally thought of it as a caramel cake as the cream is made out of condensed milk which (when cooked) creates a rich caramel colour and sweet taste.
This cake is always a crowd pleaser and goes great with tea and coffee so impress your family with this new recipe in your kitchen!
4 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
125 grams unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. corn flour
1 can condensed milk
1 Tbsp. honey
125 grams unsalted butter
How to Make a Honey Cake:
Boil the can of condensed milk in water in a deep saucer. Once water is boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 3 hours. Make sure to frequently check throughout the cooking process and ensure the can is submerged.
Allow the can to cool completely before opening (best overnight).
Next Day: Making the dough.
1. Add sugar, honey and unsalted butter to a medium sauce pan and melt them together over medium/low heat, whisking occasionally until sugar is melted. You can also use other methods to melt these together like in the microwave or over boiling water.
2. Once sugar is dissolved, remove sauce pan from the stove and add in eggs, beating the mixture together with a fork or whisk.
3. Now whisk in the baking soda and add in flour. Mix the flour until the mixture turns intro a sticky consistency.
4. Sprinkle some flour over a cutting board and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Place the pieces on another board and cover with a cloth.
5. On a well-floured surface, roll each piece out into a thin plate sized shape. You can sprinkle the top with a little flour too to keep dough from sticking to your rolling pin.Grab a large round mold or a plate and trace around it with a knife to get a perfect circle. Pierce the dough with a fork to allow air. Collect the scraps and set aside under a kitchen towel.
6. Transfer circle shape dough to a baking tray (lined with baking paper) and bake at 200 Celsius for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Do this for all eight circles and set aside to cool.
7. Finally bake the left over scraps separated evenly on a re-used sheet of baking paper.Once the scraps are baked turn them into fine crumbs by using a Ninja or a food processor.
Making the cream:
- In a saucepan or a microwave heat 1 1/2 cups of milk and butter until its hot but not boiling.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with eggs and corn flour until smooth.
- Pour the egg mixture into the warm milk and stir. Bring the mixture to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick.
- Remove from the heat, cool, and whisk in the cooked condensed milk.
Make the cake!
- Spread the cooled cream on a cake layer and place another layer one on top, pressing down gently.
- Do the same for all of the layers and once complete spread the rest of cream on top and around the side of the cake.
- Dust the top and sides with your breadcrumbs and refrigerate overnight to allow the cream to absorb. If your cake is having some trouble staying upright (mine resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa!) insert some skewers to keep it straight.
- The next day invite some friends and family, put on a cuppa and enjoy this delicious Russian treat!If you tried this recipe, please email me or comment below and let me know how you went!