Today’s cake is my absolutely favorite cake. I do enjoy my “fancy” entrements, macaroons and cakes, but the Russian honey cake is still perfection for me. I have always thought that it was something that I just could not make myself due to its difficulty – but I could not have been more wrong. I am not saying that it is extremely easy to make, I have some much easier recipes on this blog, but lets just say that this cake will forgive you a couple of mishaps. There are a million recipes for this cake, and each Russian baker would have her favourite one. The recipe below is unique in its own way and would give you one of the best cakes you have ever tried.
For the cake layers:
- 3tbsp of runny honey
- 1tsp of soda
- 200g of sugar
- 2tbsp of water
- 80g of butter
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 450g of flour (you can actually need a bit more than this, I will explain a bit later)
For the cream:
- 600g of creme freche
- 170g of sugar
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tbp of vanilla essence
- Pour honey into a pan and bring to boil, mixing continuously. Add soda, sugar, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and boil until the mixture turns a lovely deep golden colour. Watch the mixture as it turns dark brown quite swiftly.
2. When the foam turns bright orange take the mixture off the heat and add the butter. Mix until the butter dissolves and the mixture becomes just bearable to the touch (around 45-50c).
3. Add eggs into the mixture and mix until incorporated. Start adding the flour: firstly, add 400g grams in 3-4 additions and mix to incorporate. Once you have incorporated the 400g, start adding the flour little by little. You are looking for a dough which is not very stiff and slightly sticky (do not worry, once you follow all the steps the dough will not be sticky any more and will be quite easy to handle).
4. Cover the pan with a lid and let stand at room temperature for about 2 hours. I actually prepared the dough base in the morning, covered the pan and left for the day. I then finished baking the layers and assembling the cake in the evening.
5. Once the dough has rested, divide it into 5-6 balls. You can actually decide on how big you want the cake to be. I used an old Soviet method and measured the size of the cake with a plate (as you will see below).
6. Roll out each portion of the dough to make a rough circle approximately 4-5mm thick. Place the plate and cut the dough around it to form an even circle (or as even as you can get). The dough will be very elastic and therefore should be easy to handle.
7. Place each circle on a separate piece of parchment paper and prick with a fork all over.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 200c and bake each cake layer for 8-10 minutes or until they are a nice golden colour, the texture would be a cookie texture. Bake each cake layer individually.
9. Peel the layers off the parchment and let them cool down. The layers are now ready for assembly.
10. To make the cream, beat crème freche together with the sugar on low speed for approximately 10 minutes or until the cream thickens and the sugar dissolves.
11. Place one cake layer on the bottom of the serving plate, cover generously with the cream and cover with the next cake layer. Repeat the process.
12. Place the cake into the fridge and let stand overnight. It is imperative that you let the cake stand overnight for it to develop full flavour.