sweet · traditional Russian recipe

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

late August sky

This Saturday was a great day at our dacha with food, family, food, friends and more food. There was a sudden cats-and-dogs rain which made everyone run into the safety and warmth of the house. And as a true St Petersburg day, it ended with a gorgeous sunset colors and, well, sun – a cerise on the cake! Reminded me of the sunset we saw in Sestroretsk, on the Gulf of Finland.

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

This is how my sister just celebrated her birthday and this is what I baked for her:

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

This birthday cake started its journey in Kolpino a day before and then in the morning off it went (along with some baked aubergines) to our dacha place. It didn’t see the light of the following day… 🙂 The cerise on this cake is actually cherevishnya, a weird cross between sweet cherry and sour cherry – unfortunately with the weather and the soil we have here it tastes more like sour cherry.

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

If you’re in for this soft layered cake already you should know that it takes some time and effort. But it’s worth it, you know, as is always with those layered cakes 🙂 And oh do we all merely adore medovik, a traditional Russian honey cake! Made with lots of honey and layered with tons of smetana (sour cream), mmm…. There are hundreds of recipes for it but this time I made it this way:

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

And to avoid eating the entire cake all at once (and by one person) – just invite more friends and relatives! I had to take the cake out for a photoshoot after the first helping so that there was something to shoot 🙂

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

A year ago – Italian Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Two years ago – Franconian Wood Oven Bread in Regular Oven

Three years ago – Pita, Sourdough Pizza and Stewed Aubergines

Медовик Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake translated and adapted from eda.ru will make a super-soft and can-I-have-another-piece-please cake. See my remarks in italics.


  • 280 g honey
  • 64 g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 60 g sugar – I added more
  • 268 g all-purpose flour
  • 8 g baking soda
  • 300 g 20% fat smetana (sour cream) – I used more and 15% fat
  • 75 g powdered sugar
  • optional – nuts, more powdered sugar and honey, berries for decoration


Prepare a bain-marie (hot water bath): heat water in a larger pan and place on top a smaller pan with honey. Wait till it melts and then add butter cut in pieces. Whisk the mixture until the butter melts and leave on low for some time.

Meanwhile start mixing sugar and eggs at high speed. This will take about 8 minutes: you need to get a thick white cream (mine was beige and God those eight minutes!!! 🙂

Sieve (!) flour with soda so that the layers are puffy and soft. By this time the honey mixture should acquire brownish color. Take it off the heat, gradually add the egg mixture in and whisk it moving from the top downwards. Add the flour mixture and whisk moving from the bottom upwards (to my mind whatever direction you take, the movement is almost the same:).

You will need 6 * 20 cm layers, 2 mm thick. At home it’s hard to reproduce all the professional tricks (and you do not have all the equipment either), so instead of using special metal rings, you can level the layers with a knife and bake them on a buttered (better lined with parchment paper!) pan. I baked two at a time and then one at a time as they threatened to burn quickly.

Ideally you should have some batter left which you will use for crumbles (I did not, I got only 5 layers and I didn’t even level the layers, so some of them were more puffy and some less).

Preheat your oven to the maximum temperature (somewhere around 250 ‘C for me) and bake the layers for 3-4 minutes. Watch them closely as they will brown (aaand burn!) fast but should stay soft all the same. Leave them in the fridge to cool down (I didn’t).

Make the smetana cream: whisk powdered sugar with smetana. Then take one layer and place it ‘burnt’ side up (the top side) – this will be the bottom layer (I suggest using one of the ugliest but yet whole). Spread some cream on it and place next layer on top, this time ‘burnt’ side down. Repeat with the remaining layers, spreading cream on top of the last layer (use the best layer here) too. Finely blender the 6th layer and use these crumbs to scatter on top and sides of the cake (I didn’t, I actually used some ground peanuts on top and these weird berries). You can decorate the cake with powdered sugar and honey, then place the cake in the fridge overnight or better for 24 hours. This time is needed for the cake to soak in all the cream. It will also diminish in height.

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

Remarks: This cake should (and will definitely) be eaten on the day after the stay in the fridge as sour cream looses its whiteness and, well, in theory might ruin the cake. In practice though it will not survive longer than a day! Be careful with the layers – I tried various pans including silicone and metal, buttering them each time. And be careful also with the pans – not all of them are prepared for such high temperatures! I needed more smetana to cover the sides of the cake but didn’t have another container…

Result: A pillow-like cake which has nothing to do with all those heavy cream cakes. Not overly sweet and surely not dry. A perfect summer birthday cake!

Medovik or Russian Layered Honey Cake

Adding this to Russian and Sweet collections where you can find more traditional Russian dishes with honey and layered cake recipes.