Medovik, a popular Russian treat, is a honey cake beloved for its delicate texture and incredibly subtle flavor. Medovik blends layers of honey cake with a tart sour cream filling.

The classic medovik is created with just a few simple components — flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and honey — but modern varieties include dark and white chocolate, almonds, fresh or dried fruits, and a variety of additional flavorings.

Contemporary variations often substitute yogurt, whipped cream, condensed milk, buttercream, or custard for the sour cream, and the layers are frequently scented with cinnamon and ginger powder.

Although creating medovik appears to be a time-consuming and arduous operation, it only takes around two hours on average. Having said that, the cake should be refrigerated for a few hours.

Ingredients for the cake:

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 24.7 oz (700g) sour cream
  • 7 oz (200g) sugar
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Method of preparing Medovnik

  1. Prepare a bain-marie basin and pan. The bowl should fit inside the pan without touching the bottom.
  2. Whisk the eggs and 14.6 oz (415g) sugar in a mixing dish for about three minutes, or until pale and foamy. Next, whisk in the honey and baking powder. Also in this step, you can add ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add 13.2oz (375g) of flour next.
  3. Fill the pan with water until it’s 1 12-inch (3-4cm) high, then set the bowl in it.
  4. Place the bain-marie on the burner and bring it to a boil. Cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes over boiling water, stirring regularly. Remove the bowl containing the mixture from the pan, then add the remaining flour and whisk to blend.
  5. Flour your work surface, then turn the dough lump into the floured surface and knead until the dough is homogeneous.
  6. Make a roll-out of the dough. Then, cut it into 8 or 12 equal-sized pieces — 8 pieces for a 30cm (12″) cake, and 12 pieces for a 23cm (9″) cake. Roll each piece into a ball at the end.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  8. Generously dust your work surface with flour.
  9. Knead the dough pieces on the floured work surface again, flattening them into balls and covering each well with flour. With a moist cloth, wipe them down.
  10. Put a ball on parchment paper and roll it out into a circle of the required size (12″/30cm or 9″/23cm), taking care to roll it 12-inch (10-20mm) larger than the intended size. If it’s too sticky, add some flour.
  11. Trace a template (or a cake ring) onto the rolled-out dough with a knife, but do not slice the parchment paper. Then take the trimmings from the dough circle but leave them on the side. Using a fork, prick the dough all over.
  12. Bake the parchment paper with the rolled-out dough for 5-8 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and then take away the parchment paper.
  13. Continue steps 10, 11, and 12 until all of the cake layers have been cooked.
  14. Layer the cooked layers one on top of the other, and set aside the trimmings. Let them cool fully before grinding or crushing the trimmings in a food processor.
  15. In a separate basin, combine the sour cream and sugar, whisking for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. By whipping the cream for too long, it will create a buttery consistency.
  16. Place the first layer on a tray and top it with 4-8 tablespoons of cream, lightly and evenly spread it over the entire surface.
  17. Put the next cake on top of the cream layer, but do not push it down.
  18. Continue until all of the layers are piled and topped with the sour cream frosting.
  19. Spread the frosting on the edges of the cake.
  20. To finish, sprinkle the cake with the ground (or crushed) cake trimmings on both sides.
  21. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving, then refrigerate for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.

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Preparation time

The time to prepare Medovnik varies depending on your level of experience and the size of your kitchen, but typically it takes around 1-2 hours to prepare the dough and bake the cake layers, and an additional 30-40 minutes to prepare and assemble the filling. The cake also needs to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Is the recipe nut-free?

The traditional recipe for Medovnik does not include nuts, so it is typically a nut-free dessert. However, if you’re using a recipe that includes variations or substitutions, be sure to check the ingredients to ensure it is nut-free. Also, if you have a severe nut allergy or are serving the cake to someone with a nut allergy, it’s always best to double-check the ingredients and preparation methods to avoid any cross-contamination.

The history of Medovnik

The history of Medovnik dates back to the 19th century, when it first began to appear in Hungary and later spread to other parts of Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic and Russia.

The cake was originally made with simple ingredients such as honey, flour, and eggs, and was often served as a sweet treat during special occasions and holidays.

Over time, variations of the recipe began to emerge, with some bakers adding spices like cinnamon and cloves, while others experimented with different types of fillings and toppings.

Today, Medovnik is a beloved dessert in many parts of Eastern Europe and can be found in bakeries and cafes throughout the region. While the recipe has evolved over time, it remains a delicious and unique treat that is enjoyed by many people around the world.

Medovnik is often served during special occasions and holidays, such as Christmas or Easter. It is also popular in cafes and bakeries throughout the Czech Republic and Russia.

Fun facts about Medovnik:

  • The origins of Medovnik are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been inspired by a similar cake from Hungary called “Mézes Krémes.”
  • Medovnik is typically made with 7-9 layers of cake, although some variations can have as many as 15 layers.
  • In Russia, Medovnik is often made with buckwheat honey, which has a rich, intense flavor.
  • Medovnik can be quite time-consuming to make, as each layer of cake needs to be rolled out and baked separately before being layered with the filling.
  • Some variations of Medovnik include additional ingredients in the filling, such as chopped nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate.
  • Medovnik is known for its distinctive honey flavor, which comes from the use of honey in both the cake and the filling.
  • Medovnik is often served with a cup of tea or coffee and makes a delicious dessert or sweet treat any time of day.