When ordering them, you'll be asked if you want to eat them solo boiled or served in a broth. Russia's mini pies pirozhki use similar fillings and herbs to dumplings, except they are encased in pastry and either pan-fried or oven-baked. Besides the typical meat or salmon fillings, however, you also get the additional choice of cabbage, potato, egg, cheese and even sweet fillings. Pirozhki make a great appetizer at a restaurant, as well as a quick bite from a street stall or bakery.
The intricate-looking cake medovik involves alternating ultra-thin layers of honey spongecake with sweetened sour cream. The thin layers are built-up to form the cake, from anywhere between 5 and 15 layers, topped off with a sprinkling of crushed sponge or nuts and left overnight to soften and absorb the cream. Fluffy and light to eat, but full-on in flavour and sweetness. Another Russian dish that is served on dinner tables worldwide, eating stroganoff from its Russian source is everything you would expect — tastier, smoother and creamier than you've ever had at home.
The credit goes in part to Russian sour cream, but Russia is also home to some of the best and widest variation of mushrooms. With a similar taste to stroganoff, but without meat, this creamy mushroom dish is found on almost every menu as a hot appetizer. While this rich, small-serving dish may not impress foreigners with its basic ingredients, it's a special dish in Russian cuisine. Indeed, mushrooms in any form are a must-try in Russia, where mushroom hunting could almost be considered a national pastime.
When you're fully creamed-out, try an assortment of pickled mushrooms instead. Besides sipping vodka from a shot glass, you'll also find an interesting range of teas and alcoholic warm drinks worth trying. Tea, surprisingly, is a very popular drink in Russia, drunk traditionally from a samovar , which you might still find in some Russian-speciality restaurants. There are traditional drinks such as sbiten , a spicy hot drink flavoured with wine or honey, or or mors , which is made of berry juice and birch tree juice, but you might not find these readily available on menus.
More commonly found are medovukha , a sweet drink made with fermented-honey, and kvass , a drink usually made from black rye or rye bread — both with a low-alcoholic kick. You can try making kvass at home with this recipe. If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. My husband special ordered medovik from some secret source as my Christmas present. Thank you for doing all the leg work to give us this recipe.
Not heavy, and just the right amount of sweetness. I had no problems rolling out the dough when it had cooled, though the first round was a challenge. I ended up with 11 layers, so I made two smaller cakes — I was worried the added height and weight would cause too much filling to ooze out. Also sprinkled about 2 tbsp.
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I just wanted to comment on this post, though, bc the timing was too perfect not to say something. I am also married to a Russian and have similarly found it a baffling mess to find consensus on most Russian recipes—especially cakes. As a fellow American married to a Russian though alas, my in-laws are not fantastic cooks , I appreciate Russian recipes! This looks fantastic and I will certainly make it soon, though perhaps not until a birthday or other extra special occasion — it looks like too much effort for Sukkot.
Do you know about a Russian recipe called a walnut torte? Can ask my MIL. I also heard it was Armenian, Georgian, you name it. I fill it with Dulce de Leche and add ground walnuts to the crumb topping. Your post made me laugh so hard! We called it the WW3 ultimate weapon. Eat a slice and die, basically. On the other hand, your cake does look good. I hope you get an answer about the walnuts bit. Loooooong time reader, first time commenter! Our fridge is slightly off-kilter and so putting the cake in meant it slid around a LOT before the icing had a chance to set.
I fixed this by using metal skewers long toothpicks or long wooden skewers for BBQing would work too in the middle of the cake to help keep it all stacked straight while the icing set. Worked like a charm!! Hope others find this useful too! Any thoughts on whether the cookie layers could be made in advance and frozen, then thawed to assemble the cake?
This seems like it would make an amazing thanksgiving dessert, but I try to do as much up front as possible. The recipe I follow is a little different but the result is very similar. I often put walnuts on top and sometimes between the layers, and will sometimes sprinkle chocolate shavings on top instead of or in addition to the walnuts. A few years ago I entered this cake into a local Cake vs. Pie contest in Seattle and it placed second in the Cake category!
Pie took the grand prize that year. I noticed a dough whisk in the photo, but not in the instructions…. Or did you decide a spoon worked better? I am always looking for a reason to use mine! Also, any thoughts on using gluten free flour here? Deb, I have been waiting for the day that you make this. We ate it at a Kyrgyzstan restaurant and have been dreaming about it since. Thank you so much for sharing! Put the crumbs all around this. I describe it in the last steps. I love sour cream. I did not like smetana the one time I visited Russia. I have no idea what the difference is, but it struck me as very distinct from sour cream, so I have always found it funny that it gets consistently translated as sour cream.
So, first, I am so upset. I made the layers and it is frosted — and I just realized that I think I forgot the baking soda. And I know why! I had to do the first step of butter, honey and sugar twice because the first time I slowly dripped the eggs in the slightly cooled mixture I ended up with something like egg drop soup. So, I started over and poured the honey mixture into a bowl so it would not retain the heat from the pot.
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The base served as the cake base and I frosted all the layers and the sides in the springform. Then after it was chilled, I took off the sides and cleaned it up. I think it would work better if the frosting was a smidge thicker so it did not run so much. I was wondering about a little powdered sugar — but that would change the flavor?? How did it all come out? Did it taste okay? My friend from Ukraine said it was amazing — and right on.
I agree with others that it taste likes graham crackers. I found I had to add almost another cup of flour to make it stiff enough to roll. I also found it easier to roll when it had sat for a few minutes. My division into 8 pieces was not that good so I ended up with 7 layers. Even though I had 8 — not 7 — I found I could use more frosting.
Also, because I like the flavor of honey, next time I will use a slightly stronger tasting honey. Thanks for a great and unique recipe! I used to work at a daycare in Dubai and there was this sweet little bakery next door that would sell this EXACT cake. I love it and have wanted to recreate it at home, but never found anything that remotely resembles it, but hands down yours looks exactly like it! Today I read in the comments that there is a pdf printing option in the posts. Would you mind to remind me?
What there is in many browsers is when you go to the print menu, an option to print as a PDF. Does that work for you? I live in Dubai, which has a large population of Russian expatriates so honey cake is pretty common here and it is almost always the same. Out here, honey cake seems to be layered honey flavored sponge with buttercream frosting once again honey flavored. It is very soft and creamy with a pleasant honey flavor that does remind you of graham crackers. Oh, would love to know which Russian bakeries in New York you like, especially ones that make this cake!
I thought you had not gotten my request for Medovik. I wish I could have sent pix of my Abominable Snowcake as it dripped the sour cream frosting, but it ended up delicious! If the paper is near perpendicular to the dough it wants to stick a lot more. It can also help to roll the dough out and then wait a minute for it to cool even further before peeling. I did, it was a disaster… transferred to a springform pan… that was a disaster… eventually it ended up in a bowl.http://presskit.pockettroops.com/contra-la-troika-crisis-y-austeridad-en-la.php
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I also think that if you end up with runny icing you could punch a larger hole out of the middle of the cake and pour icing in the hole to soak up into the cake overnight- would be a good way to get icing into the inner layers. I found that extremely helpful this summer plus the pictures are georgous! Such an intriguing dish!! I have had only had this dish once before and it is lovely indeed. I will be stowing this one away for the future. This looks like something that I really want to eat but may not have the time or inclination to actually make.
This may be cheating but can you tell me which russian bakery you fell in love with this at? I was waiting forever for a reliable recipe for medovik and it doesnt get any reliable than you!! Im just making it now and unfurtunately the dough came out really sticky even after I added an extra oz of flour and ive used a scale so all was measured well… Any ideas?
Im afraid its not useable and I will have to start over Ive tried to make first layer and coldnt get it out from the parchment paper, now its in the fridge, I thought maybe I will be able to get it out cold. Half an hour later it looked just like your photo! I guess it has a lot to do with room temperature and humidity levels and it varies between places. Since I couldnt get the first attempt out of the parchment paper I did this- I left the rolled dough between two parchment papers and put it on the baking tray and I put a smaller tray on the dough as a weigh and when it came out after about 6 min at it was perfectly and evenly baked, then I used my 9 inch ring to cut it.
The secong one I baked without the weigh tray and it rose a little so once it came out of the oven I put the weigh tray on it so it will coll down leveled and so it did. The rest I baked with the tray on since I find it better. Thank you for another perfect recipe! Are you at higher altitude? I just wonder if that might be the cause- high altitude would probably need extra flour. Thank you for this! I lived in the Czech Republic for a while and I still miss medovnik! But this looks great! So, so excited to make this. I am Russian and this is my favorite cake but I have never made it.
I always have seconds when my great aunt makes it at family parties. I will make this for my boyfriends family when they come to visit. Surely, this will make them love me right? This post brought tears to my eyes—both of sadness and joy. You see, my grandma in the old country used to make this honey cake for every holiday.
Those were some of my best childhood memories—of slathering the layers in sour cream, cutting off and devouring the uneven edges, cutting into the final product the next day we always let it sit overnight to let the layers fuse and meld with the divine creaminess. But seeing it now on you blog inspired me to take it on—thank you! I made this cake on Thursday, and it is wonderful!
Your instructions were perfect, and it worked exactly as you said it would, thank you. It also lasts well, but will surely be finished before day 5! Sari, from Cape Town. So being the impulse shopper that I am I went ahead and got a pack of Still have yet to bake anything. Anyway, if there are any other lazy bones out there like me you can look for them.
Besides I always manage to mess up when cutting wax paper. I have a similar recipe on my blog, where the layers are made with sweetened condensed milk and filled with whipped cream. I do love honey so I will definitely try your recipe, too. This one looks incredible. You did a beautiful job! We called it smetannik and it was my favorite growing up!!!!
I used to help my mother make it. Thank you Deb for bringing back sweet memories pun intended.. After visiting Prague four years ago, I got the harebrained idea to make honey cake for Thanksgiving. Because of that, your befuddlement at the recipes you were able to find online is total deja vu. The results that Thanksgiving were not great. Happy to bookmark this for a future attempt if I get ambitious again! I think I may have a partial answer for your variation questions..
Smetana was one standby I could usually find. And sugar usually but not so much honey — it was a bit harder to find in the city but easy in the country. I wonder if sometimes the recipes are from the people being so adaptable to using what they could find to make their food. She called it Medovnik and made it with a cream and plum jam filling. As my search began, NONE of the recipes I read online made any sense, and no two recipes were the same.
Not to mention how the ones with flour filling resulted in a giant question mark! Thanks for posting it! Deb, thank you so much for putting this recipe together! So, I just made this, and here is my pennysworth. But sadly, it was ultimately a failure. This is because the icing was just too runny, and simply never thickened as promised, even after a night in the fridge.
I decanted it, poured away the excess, covered it in crumbs, and it did look fab. So it was dry and fairly tasteless to serve. Perhaps this is due to my preparing it in England, and the different qualities of the sour cream here? But it obviously is working well for lots of people, it just carried a risk warning in my opinion.
Good thing I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen! It will not be runny, it will be a perfect consistency. Do not attempt with regular sugar, as frosting will run. Also, if you really want to incorporate condensed milk, you should use the dulce de leche which is made by cooking the condensed milk for an hour to an hour and a half, to create a caramel confection that is much more dense and thus more suitable to be mixed with sour cream to create a non-runny frosting. Here in Jordan this cake is known as Circassian cake… or something similar — anyway sounds as if it was brought from the Caucasus to here by refugees a century or more ago.
I definitely recognize it. Interesting historical cake connection… thanks for the recipe! It seems like it might be a little less nerve wracking than adding them to the pot directly. I apologize though if I missed it! And I basically left it there. I am so happy to see this recipe. I went to Russia last year for the first time and once I discovered this cake I just had to have it everyday, sometimes twice. It was 2 weeks of honey heaven! I am Russian myself, and got so tempted to dive in and attempt making this cake..
Anyways, your cake looks amazing! I bet it will work just fine, if not better. Ok so I just realized that I only put the 3 cups of flour in. My house smells amazing and I tried a few of the cookie scraps and sneaked some dough too- very good! My layers shifted a bit overnight so they look sloppy. I had the sweetest Russian neighbor bring me one of these as a gift when I had my last baby nine years ago. I still remember how delicious it was! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Deb — love your recipes! I made this cake over the weekend and it came out fantastic. I am very Russian so is my mother who is currently away and was very upset this cake was made without her presence.
That said, even if you use more and the layers are more cracker-like when baked, it should be about the same once it softens. Glad it was a hit. It was very sticky you could probably equate it to muffin batter , so definitely needed more flour to get it to where it could be rolled out. Will be making it again, will watch the portions more closely this time. You can add some mascarpone or cream cheese to the sour cream in your frosting to make it thicker which is what I did when I made this cake about a month ago. But I used caster sugar instead of condensed milk to sweeten my frosting.
And since the taste of the filling is much less sour when substituting mascarpone for some of the sour cream, while there supposed to be a contrast between the sweetness of the cake layers and the sourness of the filling, i spread a thin layer of a very sour fruit preserve sea buckthorn in my case, but you can use blackcurrent, for example on every second layer of the cake under the sour cream filling. That is also done in Russia sometimes, like the addition of walnuts between the layers. But something about the fact that this was supposed to be messy made me braver—and the cake turned out wonderfully.
This is actually my first comment here because I wanted to help others be bold. I only had whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat in my pantry to choose from and opted for a fully whole wheat pastry swap for the APF in the recipe and the cookiecakes turned out great.
I had trouble rolling them out to an even thickness and only got them to about 8. I had my husband pour in the eggs while I whisked like crazy and that helped us avoid the scrambled egg fear. I took the advice of a commenter and used 32 oz of full fat Greek yogurt mixed with the 14 oz sweetened condensed milk in the recipe and it was a bit thicker than the photos here and maybe?
It was definitely delicious. But I think maybe using a plate that had a slight depression in the center it actually helped keep the layers in place during assembly and refrigeration? Some of my cookies were a bit thicker in some areas combination of uneven rolling and a really old possibly slanty oven rack but I just sort of arranged them so that the thick part of one was layered next to the thin part of the next layer, etc etc.
Once they were covered in frosting, no one could tell the difference. I read through the recipe again and through all the comments which mentioned the science experiment with baking soda and realized my error. I overlooked the baking soda entirely. I see that one commenter went ahead with the cake without the baking soda and it turned out okay, but since I realized it before frosting it, I decided to start again and keep the first round as cookies or an experiment for another day. There was much more batter and I was able to get 8.
Now it looks much more like your pretty pictures. I think the baking soda does make a pretty big difference, if only in expanding the amount of dough, and it was actually such a fun step my 12 year old loved this part of it! Oh, and I should also say thank you, Deb, for all the wonderful recipes you have posted over the years. We all think you are amazing around here. How can I share a picture of my finished cake?
Okay, I finally figured out how to share my photos! There are pictures of our finally successful honey cake second attempt! And these are only the ones I bothered to snap pictures of before we devoured it! I have eaten this cake with the condensed milk filling several times. As a self confessed chocoholic who usually turns her nose up at anything non chocolate, I am sure I could eat a whole cake of this by myself.
The melt in your mouth slight honey, rich, creamy flavour is lovely. Yet to make it as I probably would not share this with anyone. Such cultural diversity, and traditional ownership of names, ingredients and methods. The differences in product between versions of sour cream and condensed milk are obviously enormous.
Mine were purchased in London England, standard supermarket versions. Did you buy standard supermarket versions? Hmm, Sherlock and Watson need to get onto this straightaway! But I bet if you made enough frosting to put a full cup on each layer, it would work out well. I tried the saran wrap thing that someone suggested and it made things VERY neat. I also cut my parchment paper into a snowflake. Though, when paired with a nice tea, it makes a great afternoon treat or decadent breakfast!!!!
I made this last night and the dough was way too sticky to work with. I had to add a ton of flour which effected the flavor, and I lost some dough in the process stuck to the counter and bowl so it was a small cake. Did you not roll it between parchment sheets? Makes it much easier, basically a non-issue. Thanks for the response! I did roll it between parchment, and it stuck to it! Even after dusting it with flour. There was no way I could lift it off the parchment in one piece. I found if I flipped them over when they were baked, I could peel the paper off very carefully.
I grew up with this cake and the recipe is great, thank you. Sorry, I searched the comments and somebody already asked this question. I did temper in the eggs and it worked just as one would expect — made the whole process less heart stopping and probably faster. Australian chiming in here: Must be our sour cream is not as thick. A day later and it just flows right off the top still. The whole thing just kind of resembles a soggy biscuit surrounded by a sea of sweet sour cream.
Oops at least Mum will find it hilarious her birthday cake. Yes Jess, mine was the same! Made it in the UK, thought the same re relative runniness of sour cream here compared to the US. Just a thought, when I have made salad dressings with sour cream and milk as the base, I have found that it always thickens in the fridge.
Quick question — what fat content is the sour cream you used? Or more like creme fraiche? My impression from the comments is that Russian sour cream is much thicker — I suspect closer to creme fraiche. Just read this after posting my comment. I wonder if different brands also have different moisture content, accounting for the variability. Mine was really thick, like a Greek Yogurt consistency. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I made this for my office in Russian Studies! It was like a magic trick- despite my doubts eggs into hot caramel?!
Not enough glooped out to cover the sides and top, so I ended up making another half batch. Other than that, it all came out just right! The consensus among people who were familiar with the dish was that the flavor was just right, but the texture was slightly different than they remembered but better- less dry.
One person, who grew up in the region eating honey cake she was team smetannik said it was the best she ever had, and I basically died of joy. And yes, I won the cookoff. Just made this and it turned out beautifully although not quite as pretty as yours, Deb! I am in the US and found the consistency of the filling to be as described in the recipe.
I also came up short with the icing and made a supplemental batch the next day using an 8 oz container of sour cream and g of condensed milk. That was more than I needed by about half, but nothing was wasted: Needless to say, this will be our Christmas dessert!! When I added the baking soda the whole consistency of the butter sugar and honey mix fluffed up and changed. Was it supposed to do that?!
I only was able to make about 7 in circles. Did I maybe not roll it flat enough?? Just wondering if I did something wrong! I made this cake today. I used just 24 oz of sour cream but still used the full 14 oz can of condensed milk and felt like the icing had good consistency. I cannot wait to taste it tomorrow! I plan to make a snowflake stencil when doing the crumb topping. I started this cake yesterday making the cookie layers. But it still tasted yummy and the friends I shared it with all said it was great My kids, however, were not fans — it was not sweet enough!!
But it was refreshing to have a not overly sweet dessert to eat. Maybe someone else will have something else to say, but i think it should be fine as i had same experience and it seemed to taste fine. I wish i had added more cream between my layers, but it was ok and think turned out how it was supposed to.
Thanks for chiming in. I made this for a post-Christmas family get-together. The recipe she uses has next to no instructions, so I went with yours, hoping it would turn out OK. I had no idea what to expect, as I have never had honey cake. I loved it, and everyone else seemed to as well. Thanks so much for the recipe!
I should add that it travels well. I kept it refrigerated for three days, then put it in a Wilton cake saver and took it on a four hour train ride to Toronto. It then sat outside on a cold porch for a few hours, as there was no room in their fridge for the cake saver.
Will definitely make it again. I finally got a chance to make this cake and it turned out fantastic. Just wanted to add a few details that may be helpful to others. It was really easy to work with. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. It was perfect and really easy to follow. Made this and loved it! The recipe is quite simple and easy to follow, but definitely messy in the middle…I was glad to have some wooden skewers on hand to hold the layers in place, and would recommend them to anyone else planning to make it.
Mild, but so complex. Thanks for doing the research to bring this recipe to us! I loved making this cake. From watching the sugar and honey mixture turn a deeper brown after adding the baking soda, to rolling out the dough and stacking the layers, it was all a treat.
I built the layers in the pan, keeping the 2 cups filling in reserve. After mellowing in the fridge, I removed it from the pan and plastic wrapped and transferred it to a parchment decked as per Deb plate. It was then iced with the reserved filling and tucked back in the fridge. It turned out perfectly. My guests loved it, thank you. I made this back in October for Canadian Thanksgiving, following the recipe pretty carefully and it turned out perfectly!
I fell completely in love with how light this cake turned out to be. Not too sweet or too heavy after a big meal. Thanks for the recipe. Just out of curiosity, have you experimented with a springform pan with a glass bottom for the assembly stage? I imagine it would make a smaller mess if it stayed all together?
I made the filling with about 6 cups of Daisy sour cream, 8 oz whipped heavy cream and almost a full cup of powdered sugar instead of the condensed milk plus grated lemon zest for extra zing. Oh, and one layer was bitter orange marmalade topped with minced walnuts — yum-o! I am so excited to see this recipe! I ate my weight in it when I was in Prague, where they refer to it as marlenka.
Looking forward to giving it a go. This looks soo good! Thank you very much for sharing! I just have to try this recipe out at some point! Just a quick and maybe stupid? Does it matter if you just use normal paper or so To make the shape on top or is it best with parchment paper? What is your opinion? Thank you SO much for sharing your Medovik recipe! I saw it pop up on FB back in the fall, but only got around to making it tonight. Medovik takes me right back to my childhood in Kiev. Your version is absolutely fabulous!
My son is Ukranian and bringing some of the flavors from that region would be wonderful. It was driving me crazy. This cake is so hot right now. I am very excited to try this cake. I have a question about adjusting it, though.
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If I wanted to do the same, could I just omit a bit of the flour and add in cocoa powder? What do you think? I would love to make this. Any chance you could upload a video of the process. Or perhaps has anyone seen a video that does this recipe justice? I have accepted your challenge, and made a cake using your recipe! I thought I would share my result. It was fantastic, thank you for your hard work and research. I topped mine with wild maine blueberry jam, as I am fond of blueberry and honey together.
It was lovely, but I think next time I would add a layer of the blueberry jam inside, or maybe top it with the jam like you would top a cheesecake. Here is a picture: Firstly, greetings from across the pond and a big thank you for this recipe and all the research that went in to it! It tasted great so no issues there.
It baked as expected too. Ours is a little too runny for this! Creme Fraiche is still a soured cream. I think adding icing sugar to thicken it folding in some pre-whipped whipping cream would help sure it up. Either or to suit your pallet! A Russian favorite is to top blinis with caviar, which makes for very interesting breakfast fare. A cold soup made from buttermilk, potatoes and onions, garnished with dill. Surprisingly delicious, given the simplicity of the recipe.
The quality of the potatoes and the freshness of the buttermilk is what makes it. Okroshka soup can also be made from other vegetables, though Russian potatoes work best. Like a cross between a calzone and a samosa. A staple throughout Eastern Europe. Like Chinese dumplings, except with more Eastern European flavors.
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The secret of their deliciousness is that the filling is not cooked before being filled into the dumplings. This way, when the filling cooks inside the dumpling, all the juices stay trapped inside. Thick, crusty bread shaped like a boat and filled with varieties of melted cheese. Freshly baked bread is delicious. Freshly baked bread with types of cheese on top is even more delicious. Some people like to throw in an egg on top, which takes the deliciousness level all the way to A stew made from beef, potatoes, carrots, parsley, and celery, lightly spiced with garlic, cloves, and dill.
Served hot with sour cream. This is a Russian comfort food that is easy to cook and can accommodate tons of different ingredients. Dumplings made from thin, unleavened dough and filled with minced meat, onions, mushrooms, and sometimes, turnip. Like a particularly Russian variant of the Chinese dumpling.
The dough is what makes this special. A kind of shesh kebab made over an open fire.