Medovik (Russian Honey Cake)

Our Medovik features thin layers of delicious honey cake encased in a light and slightly tart cream. While it takes a bit of time to prepare, the method is simple and this Russian honey cake is definitely worth the effort!

The only cake Viktor wants for his birthday every year is Medovik (медовик or Russian honey cake). It’s a delicious layer cake that can easily be found in every market in his hometown.

He talks about Medovik more than one might think is reasonable so his cake request never really comes as a surprise. That’s all to say: this Medovik recipe is pure magic. It’s decadent, rich and may even inspire your husband to whip out his Soviet-era cookbook.

medovik on a cake stand with flowers and honey

Key ingredients

Here are a few tips on Medovik’s key ingredients. For a full list of measurements and ingredients, head to the recipe card.

  • Honey: Any type of honey will work well in this recipe, but I recommend something labeled raw and unfiltered for the best flavor.
  • Butter: To make the cakes, honey is first melted with butter and sugar.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is used for the layer cakes and powdered sugar is used for the frosting.
  • All purpose flour: Using a kitchen scale is the most foolproof method to ensure your dough has the perfect consistency. If using cups, use the spoon and level method described in the notes section of the recipe.
  • Sour cream: Many Russian recipes for Medovik use just sour cream and sugar to create the frosting. Russian sour cream (smetana or сметана) is a bit different than what we can get here in the US. So to get the perfect flavor and texture I also add vanilla extract and whipped heavy cream.

Step by step instructions

Step 1: Make the Medovik dough. The 10 layers of Medovik are thin honey-flavored cakes with an almost cookie-like texture.

Heat the honey, sugar, butter and salt in a small saucepan just until the butter melts. Transfer the liquid mixture to a heatsafe bowl and add in the remaining ingredients: baking soda, eggs and flour.

Dough consistency: The dough should be quite soft, but not sticky so you can add a few more tablespoons of flour if needed. If you’re still having trouble with the dough sticking to your hands it might just be too warm — let it rest for 10 minutes and come back to it.

Step 2: Roll and cut out the layers. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. I always use a kitchen scale to make sure my pieces are mostly even, but if they’re a little off it won’t hurt the cake.

Roll out each piece of dough, bake it and then cut out the circle post-baking (see photos below). Cut out the rounds as soon as they come out of the oven. The layers will harden a bit over time, which makes it more likely for them to crack.

Don’t toss the baked scraps! Pulse them in a food processor until you have fine crumbs — we’ll be using them to decorate the outside of our Medovik!

Step 3: Make the frosting. Whisk the powdered sugar, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl. Next, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Then, fold the whipped cream into the sour cream mixture until fully incorporated — easy!

Step 4: Frost and assemble the cake. Start by placing a bit of frosting on your serving platter or cake stand to hold the Medovik in place. Add the first layer and plop a few heaping spoonfuls of frosting on top. Spread it over the cake evenly and repeat. After the final layer, cover the sides of the cake in frosting as well.

At this point you could definitely call it good. You’ve been in the kitchen for hours — we wouldn’t blame you! The other option is to remember all of those leftover cake layer scraps that you turned into crumbs and make one last decorative endeavour. You can sprinkle the crumbs all over the cake or just spoon them onto the sides (my personal preference). Either way your Medovik is beautiful and ready to enjoy… almost.

Step 5: Wait (im)patiently. We’ve now come to the most difficult part of making Medovik: placing it in the refrigerator and waiting at least eight hours (preferably overnight) until we can dig in. Is this step necessary? Unfortunately, yes. The frosting needs time to soften the layers and form a cohesive cake. Trust me — it’s worth the wait!

slice of medovik on a plate

Storage

Leftover Medovik will keep covered in the fridge for up to four days.

Medovik can also be frozen for up to two months. To freeze, I like to place slices of Medovik in the freezer until frozen solid. I then wrap with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Expert tips and tricks

  • Roll out the dough on parchment paper so it can be easily transferred to a baking sheet. I don’t usually need extra flour at all for this step, but you can dust your rolling pin if needed.
  • As for the size of your Medovik, I cut out rounds 7.5 inches (19 cm) in diameter. You can use a lid, plate or really anything round to cut out your layers.
  • The dough will be very thin, but puff up a bit in the oven. To make sure it doesn’t puff up too much in certain spots you can use a fork to poke holes all over the dough before baking.
  • Keep a close eye on the layers in the oven — they only need about 5-6 minutes and can go from golden-brown to burnt in seconds.

FAQs

What is Medovik?

Medovik is a layer cake popular in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The cake gets its name from the Russian word med (мёд), which means honey. The main ingredients are honey and smetana (сметана), which is Russian sour cream.

What is Medovik made of?

Medovik consists of thin layers of a crispy honey-flavored cake that are softened by a light sour cream-based frosting.

How long does Medovik have to chill before eating?

Medovik needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. This period allows the frosting to soften the layers, resulting in a cohesive cake.

Print
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slice of medovik on a plate

Medovik Recipe (Russian Honey Cake)


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16
    • Prep Time: 2 hours
    • Cook Time: 1 hour
    • Category: Dessert
    • Method: Baking
    • Cuisine: Russian

Ingredients

Medovik Layers

  • ⅓ cup (110 grams) honey
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 cups (630 grams) all purpose flour, spooned and leveled*

Sour Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
  • 32 ounces (900 grams) sour cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

Instructions

Medovik Layers

  1. Combine the honey, sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the baking soda. Whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Let the mixture cool slightly (about 5 minutes) and then add the eggs, whisking between each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour, stirring between each cup (125 grams). The dough should be quite soft, but shouldn’t be sticking to your hands too much. You may need about ¼ cup more or less flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). 
  7. On parchment paper, roll out the dough so that it will be large enough to cut out a 7-8 inch (18-20 cm) circle – the dough will be very thin. Use a fork to poke holes all over the dough. Transfer the parchment paper and dough to a baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. When the dough comes out of the oven, immediately use a plate or rim of a cake pan to cut out a 7-8 inch (18-20 cm) circle. Save the scraps – we’ll need these for decorating the cake! Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
  9. Transfer the layers to a wire rack to cool completely before stacking.

Sour Cream Frosting

  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, sour cream and vanilla until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the sour cream mixture until fully incorporated. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Place a dollop of frosting on your serving platter to hold the Medovik in place.
  2. Add the first layer and spread about ¾ cup of frosting on top. Stack the second layer on top and repeat with the remaining layers.
  3. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
  4. Crush the cake layer scraps (using a food processor or by hand) and use them to decorate the sides (and top if desired) of the cake.
  5. Refrigerate the cake for 8 hours or overnight before serving. This allows time for the frosting to soften the layers and the cake to set.

Notes

Spooned and leveled: Scooping a measuring cup into a flour container can result in much more flour than intended, which can affect the success of your dough. To get a more accurate measurement, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour into the measuring cup until it’s completely full. Then run the back of a knife over the cup to gently scrape off any excess.

Storage: Medovik can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

And if you loved this Medovik recipe, make sure to check out our other favorite Russian and Ukrainian dishes:

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