Russian Monday: "Medovik" - Honey Cake

Today we open our Russian Monday section with the recipe of "Medovik" - Russian Honey cake dedicated to all athletes competing at Olympic Games in Sochi!

The mere name of the Honey cake evokes memories of a pleasant evening spent over a cup of tea or a fun child’s birthday party. Real homemade "Medovik" is delicate, delicious, fragrant and not at all sugary dessert that even person who can’t stand honey would never refuse.

There is an interesting story about Empress Elizabeth, wife of Russian Emperor Alexander I. She did not like honey, all Court cooks knew about it and made sure never to use honey in their recipes. However, once there was new ambitious young cook who has been just accepted to work for the Court and was eager to impress everyone with his talents. His recipe was brand new and indeed his cake has been warmly welcomed and deserved highest praise of the Empress – layers with custard were literally melting in the mouth.  When she asked about ingredients of the cake, young cook has been embarrassed to answer, because someone has already told him about Elizabeth’s dislike of honey. However when he admitted that honey was the major ingredient, Empress only laughed and ordered to reward new cook. Since then Honey cake became favorite dessert of Elizabeth and has been always present on every royal feast table.

For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.

"Medovik" Honey cake is very popular in Russia and most often is baked for children’s parties. These days Honey cake is often present in dessert menus of the most expensive restaurants and sold in stores under variety of names such as “Honey Bee”, “Honey”, “Miracle” or simply “Honey Cake with sour cream”. However, the most delicious Honey cake is the one you have baked yourself. Many cookbooks offer their own version of the recipe but I hope you’d be inspired by the one I’d like to offer you.

With all this praise, you may ask - does Honey cake have any negative sides? Yes, but only one – the speed with which it would disappear from your table! Be sure you would never need to worry about how to store it or concern yourself with expiration date by which it may go sour!


For the layers:

  • 5 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar (you can mix brown sugar and granulated sugar together, if you like)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 Tbsp. (113g) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

For the cream:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. (40g) corn starch
  • 8 oz. dulce de leche (milk caramel)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature


For the layers: Preheat oven to 375F.

Whisk together the eggs, set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a simmer. Place the sugar, butter and honey in a heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Melt, stirring occasionally. Add the eggs, and mix until pale color, about 3-4 minutes. Add baking soda and cook for one more minute. Your mixture should be fluffy and double the size.

Transfer the egg-butter mixture to a mixer, and add the flour. Mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Your dough should be warm, soft, little sticky. But don't put more flour.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and press together gently. Knead the dough few times and form into a ball. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Cover them with plastic wrap or kitchen towel to prevent from drying.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cake layers. Roll it out thinly into a circle. Use the bottom of a cake pan, cake ring, or the bottom of a tart pan to cut around it with a paring knife to make a perfect circle. Save all the scraps just the way you cut them and place them on a baking sheet and then bake. Later, you can crush them into crumbs and sprinkle the sides and top of the cake. Using a fork, prick the dough in several places.

Bake for about 3 minutes each. You will have 8 perfect cake layers.

Transfer the cooked scraps to a food processor and process until breadcrumb stage is reached.

To make the cream:

In a saucepan, heat the 1 1/2 cups of milk, but don't boil.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the eggs and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the warm milk; bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Whisk in the butter and dulce de leche (milk caramel).

To assemble the cake:

Top each cake layer with about 1/2 cup of cream and spread it around evenly. Repeat with all the cake layers. As you place the layers on top of each other, some of the frosting will come out of the sides. Spread it out evenly over the sides. Sprinkle the crushed cake layer scraps over the sides and on a top of the cake.

Leave the cake in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or overnight. Enjoy!!!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...
February 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM  

This refined looking cake is fabulous and I bet it tastes heavenly too!



La Table De Nana said...
February 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM  

This has to be one of the most delicately beautiful cakes I have seen..
And honey..I love honey..the empress was smart to reward the new brave chef.
He was confident of the deliciousness and knew she would be also.
I would stay for tea..and keep saying..:"mmmmmmmm".

Marina said...
February 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM  

I love medovik, but as it takes to many step by step photos, it takes as much work itself. So I don't make it often. Your's looks beautiful! Great job!

Anonymous said...
February 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM  

What a most intriguing "cake" Yelana. Not a classic cake in any form but more a stack of delicious pastry rounds sandwiched together with a gorgeous dulce de leche crème patissiere and you don't even waste the crumbs...true Russian genius and thrift! A wonderful share. Thankyou for showing it to us :)

February 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM  

What a fabulous recipe! And as always, your pictures are amazing!

Shema George said...
February 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM  

What a beautiful cake... I cant get enough of it.. Wish I could taste it. Recently one of me fried told me about Russian Cakes, so glad to get the recipe :)

Medeja said...
February 10, 2014 at 5:11 PM  

I remember those days when Medovnik you could get almost everywhere and everyone knew how to make it.. :) reminds me my childhood.

Te de Ternura said...
February 10, 2014 at 11:35 PM  

Solo una palabra.... PERFECTO!!! :)

Elen Smirnova said...
February 11, 2014 at 2:44 AM  

Выглядит потрясающе! Такой ровненький, аккуратненький тортик, словно сделан настоящим профессионалом-кондитером!!! Просто восторг!!

Zorica Pavlovic said...
February 11, 2014 at 8:18 AM  

I made this cake few times, and I love it. Enjoy!!!

Anonymous said...
February 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM  

I like to read your "russian monday" recipes. It's always very interesting and tasty.
Bravo and sorry for my poor English.

Shibi Thomas said...
February 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM  

Looks like a crepe cake!! Loved the falvors in it.

Angie Schneider said...
February 12, 2014 at 2:33 PM  

What a beautiful classic! I have always love medovik, but never thought of making one myself. Yours looks super, definitely worth all the efforts.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...
February 12, 2014 at 2:44 PM  

This is seriously amazing. I've been wanting to make green tea crepe cake for the longest time, but it looks like a lot of work and I haven't tried. You inspired me! Such a gorgeous cake, and I really enjoyed your step by step tutorial too!

Spicie Foodie said...
February 12, 2014 at 7:54 PM  

My hubby and I love medovnik. We were introduced to it in Prague and it quickly became a favourite of ours. One day I'll have to attempt your recipe, thanks for sharing Yelena.

mimi rippee said...
February 13, 2014 at 8:12 AM  

This is absolutely beautiful! I'm so impressed!

flavia gonzalez said...
March 7, 2014 at 1:43 AM  

My mother is from Russia and always make this cake for the family birthdays, but Saturday is her birthday so I want to surprise her making it.
I will use your recipe! Wish me luck, haha. Then I'll tell you how what's the cake.
Thank you. I love your blog.
P.S: Sorry for my horrible english.
Greetings from Argentina!

Yelena Strokin said...
March 7, 2014 at 8:28 AM  

Hello flavia,
The cake is not that difficult, just takes some time. If you have any questions, I am going to be home Sunday, I will help you as much as I can. Good luck!!

Debbie Avino said...
March 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM  

Honey cake? I only see 3 tablespoons of honey for entire cake. Would the honey flavor even be noticed?

Yelena Strokin said...
March 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM  

Debbie, if you use strong dark honey, you will definitely notice it-))) But I see you point-))

Anonymous said...
March 30, 2014 at 2:36 AM  

A very interesting cake with a very interesting history! Thanks for sharing it, it looks gorgeous.

Lorenza Martínez Salazar said...
September 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM  

Hello Yelena, I made this cake and it was soooo good, everybody loved it. It had been in my recipe list for a while and I'm so happy I finally did it. Your pictures are great and everything was explained perfectly.
Thanks for sharing!
Your friend from Colombia,

Yelena Strokin said...
September 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM  

Hello dear Lorenza, it makes me so happy that you try to make this not very simple cake. I know that few steps are involved but it's all worth it.Thank you so much for your comment!!



Christine Berres said...
March 3, 2015 at 8:59 PM  

Wow! Children in Russia are very lucky to grow up with a cake like this! I've always wanted to learn more about Russian cooking, and what a great recipe to start with!

Jane said...
March 11, 2015 at 7:52 PM  

Can you substitute flour for cornstarch in this recipe? If so, how many tablespoons of flour would you need-- 4?

Yelena Strokin said...
March 11, 2015 at 8:01 PM  

I believe you can use flour for the cream, no problem. But don't put more then 3 tablespoons. Let me know! I hope you will like the cake!!

Andrea Maronyan said...
May 10, 2015 at 8:24 AM  

A really great, easy to follow recipe. Made this in a five layer form, for my dad's birthday, he said that this is exactly what he remembers from his childhood! Thank you!

Yelena Strokin said...
May 10, 2015 at 11:54 AM  

Wonderful!! Say hello to your father from me. I am glad he liked the cake! You are so welcome!

Kaoutar Elhilali said...
August 4, 2015 at 2:36 PM  

I made this yesterday, and it came out AMAZING...yummmmm
thank you for the excellent recipe and step by step instructions.

Yelena Strokin said...
August 4, 2015 at 3:22 PM  

You are so welcome!!!

Ajay Gharal said...
October 15, 2015 at 7:39 PM  


Unknown said...
October 29, 2015 at 11:49 PM  

Have made this twice, and tastes amazing but my frosting has split both times I have made sure the egg & flour mix is cool and the butter is room temp , the only thing i can think of is maybe I'm over beating it as I use a hand mixer to incorporate all filling ingredients could this be why my filling ends up being a big soupy mess? I also tried to refrigerate til firm and beat again but no luck, I would appreciate any ideas on how to avoid this happening as I said tastes amazing but the texture is wrong, thanks

Yelena Strokin said...
October 31, 2015 at 11:37 PM  

I am using all ingredients for cream at room temperature. I use organic eggs, I don't know if it makes any difference. Also, try to use a different butter. I hope it will work for you! Glad you like the cake-))

Rano T. said...
July 19, 2016 at 9:37 AM  

5 cups of flour???? My dpugh turned out hard as a rock :((( why??? :(((

Yelena Strokin said...
July 19, 2016 at 12:09 PM  

Rano, the dough should be hard, but not as a rock. When you measure the flour don't pack it very tight, try to do it in grams. Many people have done this recipe, sorry to hear about your experience.

Lu said...
December 27, 2016 at 5:21 AM  

Im curious. What size cake tin do you use for this recipe?

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