This Ukrainian Honey Cake is eight thin layers of honey-flavored cake coated with a tangy sour cream-based frosting and honey cake crumbs.
What is Ukrainian Honey Cake
Ukrainian honey cake, or medovik, consists of thin layers of honey-flavored cake that is made from a thick dough that is rolled out and baked until golden and biscuit-like. The layers are then coated with a sour cream frosting and rested overnight to soften the layers. The outside is coated in baked and crushed scraps from the cake layers.
The cake is reminiscent of an icebox cake in that the cake layers start out with a crunchy, biscuit-like texture and soften to more of a sponge texture with the help of the icing after a night of soaking.
With the attacks on Ukraine ongoing, myself, like many others, feel stuck as an individual as to what we can do. Aside from donating and spreading awareness, it can feel like there isn’t much of an influence a single person can have when they are all the way across the world.
Reputable places to donate for aid in Ukraine
(Not an exhaustive list, just a few that I like.)
How to support marginalized people in Ukraine
In stressful times, I like to bake, as many of you do. So I decided to dedicate my next bake to Ukraine and use a traditional Ukrainian recipe. I also recently learned that my great-grandmother Anna immigrated from Ukraine. So this recipe is dedicated to her as well.
According to Discover Ukraine, classic honey cake, or medovik, is an authentic Ukrainian cake, and is considered one of the most popular desserts in Slavic countries.
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What do you need to make medovik
The “special ingredient” in this cake is honey, which you probably already have on hand. So you might already have everything you need in your pantry and fridge for this bake.
- Baking soda
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
Craving a different layer cake flavor? Try my carrot cake with Swiss meringue cream cheese frosting.
I like to use a 6-inch ring cutter to punch out my rounds but you could also use a small plate instead.
I use acetate and an adjustable cake ring to bolster the structural integrity of this cake as the frosting is more on the thin side. However, this equipment is not completely necessary. You can get away with building the cake freeform, but it may be just a bit messier.
Lastly, if you make this Ukrainian Honey Cake be sure to leave a comment or give this recipe a rating.
Ukrainian Honey Cake
- 3 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon butter (25g)
- 2 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups flour (260g)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 24 oz sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- Cake layers and frosting can be made in advance. This cake needs to sit overnight before serving.
- Prepare a strip of acetate at least 3 inches wide and 20 inches long. Fit it inside an adjustable cake ring cutter or 6-inch ring cutter. Tape the ends of the acetate to make a ring. Set this over a cake stand or large plate.
- Prepare two sheet pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
Make the cake layers
- Combine honey, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar granules are melted. Be careful not to burn the mixture. This can take 5-10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove mixture from heat and slowly stream in beaten eggs while whisking constantly. Add baking soda and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined.
- Add ½ cup of flour at a time and mix until a dough forms. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll out a piece with a rolling pin on a floured surface and use a 6-inch ring cutter to punch out a circle. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, saving scraps in a pile as you go. Bake two or three at a time on a sheet pan for 3-5 minutes, until golden.
- When done, transfer circles to a cooling rack to cool completely. Bake all of the scraps scattered on a sheet pan for 3-5 minutes. Let scraps cool completely, then blitz them in a food processor or crush them in a bag with a rolling pin. You’ll use these to garnish the cake later.
Make the frosting
- Whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Whisk together sour cream, vanilla and powdered sugar. Add whipped heavy cream. Fold with a rubber spatula until combined.
Assemble the cake
- Place a large spoonful of frosting in the bottom of your acetate + cake ring mold. Take the first cake layer and place it atop the frosting. Spoon a generous amount of frosting over the layer. You want to be generous with the frosting as this cake will sit overnight and the cake layers need to soak up frosting to become soft.
- Repeat with remaining layers. At this point, I advise placing the cake in the fridge overnight to soften and set up to increase your odds of a more structurally sound cake. (However, some people make this cake without a mold and frost it on the sides too before placing it in the fridge overnight. You decide what is best for you.)
- The next day, unmold the cake. Frost the sides and smooth with an offset spatula or bench scraper.
- Pat cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake. Slice and enjoy.