Russian honey cake called Medovik has been a tradition for centuries. It is a layered cake with honey cookie like segments called korzh, that soften in between cream. It is best served after refrigeration when the layers actually absorb the cream and soften. It is often topped with berries but sometimes served plain with just cream. I am often intimidated by a layered cake but this one was pretty easy to make and well worth the effort. It works well to use a spring form pan which you can use to cut out the proper size layers.
Honey has been considered the nectar of the Gods. It is no surprise that ancient people figured out how to mix flour and honey together to make delectable treats. These treats were used as offerings. Honey has many health benefits and this honey is my favorite, Manuka Honey
This particular Russian honey cake called Medovik has a story. In the Imperial Palace in the 19th century Empress Elizabeth (wife of Emperor Alexander I) hated honey. A new confectioner was hired and did not realize this of the Empress and presented this delightful cake. She did not realize it had honey in it and fell in love.
Today there are numerous variations of this Russian honey cake called Medovik. Some are made sweetened condensed milk, butter cream and custards. This recipe is the original made with cream and is scrumptious.
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Russian Honey Cake (Medovik)
A scrumptious layered honey cake with a history!
Honey Cake Layers
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs whisked
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 32 oz. sour cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the Topping:
- 1/2 lb. Fresh Berries optional
For the layers (Korzh)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey and 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter to a medium sauce pan and melt them together over medium/low heat, whisking occasionally until sugar is melted. You need to watch closely and make sure the heat is not too hot or you will scorch the mixture.
As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and while it’s still hot, add in your beaten eggs in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously until all of your eggs are incorporated (whisk constantly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs).
Whisk in the baking soda until no lumps remain, then fold in your 3 cups flour 1/2 cup at a time with a spatula until the dough is no longer sticky and firm. You may need more or less flour which is why you are adding ½ cup at a time. You want to end up with a clay like consistency.
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and move on to the next step quickly as the layers roll out much easier while warm.
6.. On a well-floured surface, roll each piece out into a thin 9″ circle, about 1/8″ thick. Use extra flour on your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. If your dough turns cool, stick in the microwave for a few seconds and resume.
Place a 9″ plate or base from a springform mold over your rolled dough and trace around it with a pizza cutter to get a perfect circle. Keep the scraps for later.
Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and bake 2 at a time for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before stacking. Repeat with remaining layers
Finally bake the scraps. Once the scraps are baked, cooled and firm, put them in a Ziploc bag and you can crush them with your rolling pin. These are your honey cake crumbs.
For the Frosting:
Beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 32 oz. sour cream with 2 cups powdered sugar. Fold the whipped cream into the sour cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Putting it all Together
Spread about 1/3 cup cream on each cake layer. Press the cake layers down gently as you go to keep the layers from having air bubbles. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. ( make sure to put plenty in between the layers as this helps soften the korzh).
Dust the top and sides with your honey cake crumbs, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This allows the cream to soften the honey cake or korzh.
Add the berries on top if using and serve.