medovik or "honey cake"
I don't cook traditional Russian food nearly as often as I'd like. Mainly it's due to the fact that more often than not Russian recipes are incredibly time consuming and labor intensive and as much as it pains me to admit this - I just don't have the that kind of time on my hands. But every once in a while I get a craving that I have to feed and before I know it I'm up to my ears in dough.
This weekend we decided to make it a whole family affair. We made pelmeni (using this recipe) and medovik. The pelmeni took the entire afternoon and most of the evening and the medovik wasn't ready until the following morning! But goodness was it worth it! And it turns out Valya is very talented when it comes to making pelmeni!
The honey cake takes time and patience but not a lot of ingredients and is by far my favorite Russian cake. Here's the recipe that I adapted from my mum's cookbook:
1/2 cup (170 grams) honey
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (455 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
4 cups of sour cream
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2/3 cups of finely chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Get 2 large baking sheets and parchment paper.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and butter over medium heat. Once simmering, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in baking soda. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat eggs. While whisking the honey mixture vigorously in the pot, then drizzle the thinnest stream of the eggs into the honey mixture. Do not stop mixing. Continue until all of the eggs are thoroughly whisked in. Stir in the salt and vanilla and 3 cups of the flour with a spoon. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of flour 1/4 cup at a time.
Lightly flour your counter and divide the warm dough into 8 even pieces. Roll the first one between two sheets of parchment paper (no flour needed) to a 8 or 9-inch round. The dough will not be easy to roll out, just be patient and take breaks. Remove top sheet of parchment paper. Cut it to size by placing a cake pan on top and tracing with a knife. Dock the circle all over with a fork. Slide the round onto a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 8 minutes; it should feel slightly firm and be darkened at the edges. Slide it onto a cooling rack. While one layer bakes roll out the next one so it’s ready to go into the oven as soon as the first comes out. If you have a big enough oven or a double oven you can do more than one at a time. Repeat this process until you have baked all 8 rounds. Allow them to all cool completely.
Filling: Whisk sour cream and sugar together in a large bowl. Scoop about 1/2 a cup of the sour cream mixture onto the center of your first cookie layer and spread it evenly. Stack the second cookie on top and repeat until you have 8 layers. Frost the top of the cake and sprinkle finely chopped walnuts. Put the cake in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight. An hour or two after you've frosted it check for any sliding and nudge it back to form.
Tomorrow you can finally dig in! I recommend making a pot of delicious tea and offering honey as a sweetener to compliment your medovik.
*p.s. It's worth it. Trust me.