Chocolate Honey Layer Cake – Торт “Спартак”

Spartak - Chocolate Honey Layer Cake 2 copyThis is one of my favorite cakes. It’s a chocolate-honey layer cake with pastry cream. The thin layers of cake are so soft and tender and paired with the pastry cream, make this a very delicate and tender cake. The topping has a caramel taste and a mousse like textuer. I got the idea to decorate it to look like a honeycomb from a Russian recipe forum and made the bees from the book The Pie and Pastry Bible.


For the cake:

1/2 cup milk

3 Tablespoons honey

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons baking soda

4-5 Tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour

Pastry cream:

4 Tablespoons flour

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups milk

1/4-1/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup heavy cream

For the top of the cake:

1/2 can of cooked condensed milk, dulche de leche

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons water

2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin

For the chocolate-almond bees:

3 oz. semisweet chocolate

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon honey

slivered almonds

1 oz. white chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat up the milk, honey, sugar, butter, baking soda and cocoa, just until butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Whisk the egg and add a little bit of the heated batter, while whisking. This is called tempering and will keep the egg from curdling. Add the temppered mixture to the rest of the batter. Add the flour and mix until combined. Allow the dough to cool slightly, just enough that you can handle it, however, you need to work quickly because it won’t roll out properly if it’s too cold. Roll the dough out very thinly and cut it out into an 8-10 inch circle. I use a lid or the bottom of a springform pan to trace and cut it out with a paring knife. If you have a tart pan, that works the best, actually. Use a fork to poke some holes across the surface of the cake layer. A tip about rolling out the dough. This dough is pretty sticky, but if you add too much flour it will have too much gluten and will keep shrinking back when you roll it out. I use a spoon to take out a handful of dough and scrape it off with another spoon right onto a generously floured surface, sprinkle more flour on top and start rolling, adding more flour as needed.

You will have 10-15 layers of cake, depending on the size of your circles. They are very hard, but will soften when topped with pastry cream.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you’re using a tart pan, sprinkle it with flour. Bake for 4-6 minutes. Take off the baking sheet or tart pan right away. They bake really quickly, so it really doesn’t take very long to do all the cake layers. Brush off the flour with a pastry brush. To make the pastry cream, whisk the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Heat up the milk in a sauce pan just until it is starting to foam. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and then add the flour, cornstarch. Add a little bit of milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly and gradually adding the rest of the milk. There you go, tempering again, to make sure the eggs don’t curdle. Twice in the same recipe. This doesn’t happen very often. Return to the saucepan and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly again until the pastry cream has thickened. Add the salt, butter and vanilla, stirring until the butter is melted. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, laying right on top of the pastry cream. This will prevent the pastry cream from forming a skin. Refrigerate until completely cool. In a cold bowl and a cold whisk attachment, whip up the cream. Fold gently into the pastry cream. To assemble the cake, top each cake layer with pastry cream, about 1/3 cup. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

You will need bubble wrap to create the honeycomb look. Cut out enough bubble wrap to cover the surface of the cake and cut out another strip of bubble wrap to cover the sides of the cake.

When the cake is cool and ready to decorate, mix the condensed milk, butter and sour cream until smooth. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water and allow to stand for about 5 minutes. Heat in the microwave or on the stovetop until dissolved, but do NOT bring to a boil. Pour into the prepared cream and mix to combine. Since it’s so hot, it will make the cream very thin in consistency. Working quickly, pour over the cake and spread evenly on the top and the sides. It will thicken within minutes, so you have to work fast. In fact, both Sergi and I were working on this together and we didn’t even have time to take a picture. Place the bubble wrap on top of the cake, pressing gently so it adheres completely, forming the little pockets for the honeycombs. Sometimes, I put the bubble wrap only on top of the cake and not the sides. Make crumbs out of some of the cake layer scraps and press it into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until cool. For the bees, make the ganache. Cut the chocolate. In a saucepan, cook the cream, honey and chocolate until melted. Cool. Form little bees with the chocolate. It’s very easy to work with. Press two slivers of almond to each side for wings and pipe out white chocolate on top to create stripes. Peel off the bubble wrap from the cake.  Add the bees to the top of the cake. You can pipe a border around the outside of the cake from buttercream. (Recipe not included. I think this post is long enough.) You can bake the cake layers ahead of time and store until you’re ready to assemble the cake. You can also make the pastry cream and refrigerate it, just don’t add the whipped cream.Instead of the honeycomb topping, you can cover the cake with more pastry cream and decorate it with chocolate shavings or use one of the cake layers, crush it and sprinkle over the cake. Another option is to cover the cake with a chocolate ganache.Spartak - Chocolate Honey Layer Cake copy

Spartak - Chocolate Honey Layer Cake 2 copy


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  1. says

    Wow, this looks amazing! A lot of work for such a beautiful creation, I may be scared to eat it! :) I think this is the cake I will make for the weekend, just sounds too devine… thanks for the recipe.

  2. Tatyana V says

    Olga, where did you find terpenie:)? This is so beautiful, and good job Sergey for helping Olga, I am sure this cake required team work… :)

    • olgak7 says

      Hi Tatyana!
      Patience is something I come up very short on. However, this cake is easier to make than it looks. I baked the layers on one day, made the pastry cream another day and assembled it on yet another day. It will definitely be much longer if you do it all in one day, though.

  3. Natalia says

    this cake is super cute!! Wonder how it would come out without cocoa…dont like chocolate pastries :(

    • says

      Actually, I think the cocoa gives the cake more color than taste. It doesn’t taste very chocolaty to me. It’s very similar in taste to Medovik.

  4. Tatyana says

    Karina made this cake few days ago and it is so delicious!!! It was gone in few hours!!!!!
    Thank you Olechka !!!!!

  5. Marina says

    Hi Olga!

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I am almost done making this cake and have a question. I made the ganache and it is so thin. 1/3 cup of cream seems too much for the 3 oz of chocolate. It wouln’t solidify. I added 2 more squares of chocolate (1 oz each) and hoping it’ll get more solid now. Can you please check the recipe to make sure you posted it right? Thank you again for sharing this wonderful recipe and all the pictures to go along. God bless you,

  6. Marina says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for this wonderful recipe! I kept the cake in the fridge for only about 4-5 hours before serving it and it was sooooooo good, moist, and delicious. My husband said I’ve outdone myself. Our guests really liked it and had seconds. All thanks to you. I couldn’t make the bees: I ended up using 5 squares of bakers semi-sweet chocolate (1oz each) with 1/3 cup of heavy cream and one tbsp of honey and it didn’t set. It got thicker, but nothing I could roll or shape. Anyone has any ideas or suggestions? Although I did figure that I love this recipe for ganache to decorate the other cakes – it would be perfect consistency to pour over Birds Milk cake! so thank you! I love your cake recipes! Keep posting and God bless you!

    • olgak7 says

      I’m so glad to hear that you liked the cake, Marina. I’m sorry the bees didn’t turn out; I really can’t think of why that would happen.

  7. Luda says

    Oh my.. This is definitely the cutest cake I’ve ever seen! You are so creative! Btw, I just happened to stumble upon your site and have been stuck browsing your recipes for at least an hour! Everything looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try some of your recipes! Thanks for sharing and God bless!!

    • olgak7 says

      Hi Alla, I’ve never personally made them more than 24 hours in advance, but I’m pretty sure that you can make them a few days in advance.

  8. Valentin Goncharenko Jr says

    Thank you SOOO SOOOO MUCH for posting this cake Olga!!! Every time I think of this cake my mouth waters uncontrollably!! Its like Pavlov with the dogs :) Definately one of my all time favorite cakes. Just the texture of the outside layer mixed with the melting in your mouth inner part:) Like a perfect girl this cake has a perfect inside which compliments the spectacular outside!!!!

  9. elina says

    this cake is so so good!!!! literally had to hide it to make sure I could have a 2nd piece! olga, you are the best!

  10. Nadia says

    I love Spartak! I would really love to make this for my son’s 4th Birthday party this weekend, but I am afraid i wont come out as good :( Is it hard to bake the actual layers? is it easy to roll out?

    BTW it looks Amazing :) the first time I saw it I fell in love with it. Great Job! :)

  11. Viktoriya Montik says

    Hey Olga,

    I made this cake yesterday for Romka’s Birthday, he absolutely loved it:) One quick question, can I use whip cream instead of the homemade, whipped-up heavy cream? Also, my cornstarch didn’t want to thicken the cream… any suggestions?

    Thank you so much for your recipes and ideas:)

    • says

      That’s wonderful, Viktoriya!Happy Birthday to Roman.
      You can use Cool Whip instead of whipping heavy cream yourself.
      You may have not cooked the pastry cream long enough or the heat was too low. If the pastry cream isn’t thickening, I increase the temperature gradually.

  12. diana says

    Hi i was wondering how long does rhis cake need to stand before serving in order for the layers to soften. The spartak i make now must sit for 2 days in order for the laters to soften.

    • says

      No, it doesn’t need 2 days for sure, Diana. If you let if stand for a couple hours it should be fine. I usually do it overnight, or assemble it in the morning when I plan to serve it, but it only needs a few hours to soften.

  13. Dina says

    Hi Olga, I love your blog and used many of your recipes. I esp. like the step by step pictures. One thing though, (my opinion only) I would really like to see the pictures on the dishes you’re describing on the home page instead of just the headings. You know they say you eat with your eyes, same thing I want to quickly skim throught the newest recipes without having to take the time to open each one or read through them.

    • says

      Thank you Dina.
      What exactly do you mean? The most recent recipes are on the home page. They are below the slider, so maybe you didn’t notice it? You need yo scroll underneath the slider to see them. Hope that helps.

      • Dina says

        What I meant was on the main page under the slider you have the newest recipes with the headings and descriptions but no pictures of the recipes, it would be nice to have the picture too for us visual people.

  14. Dina says

    Olga, I baked my layers but they are not too hard. How hard do they need to be? Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  15. mila says

    How long am I supposed to cook the chocolate for the bees? It took about a minute for everything to melt so took it off stove right away, its been cooling for 30 mins already and still very runny.

    • Irina says

      Mine haven’t thickened either. I guess I should of boiled it until it thickens or something. So I just used tootsie rolls instead.

  16. Francesca Spalluto says

    Hi Olga, this cake is very pretty! I want to bake it for my girl Birthday, she is turning 3. I think you need to let rest the cake for some time to get the pastry layers to soften, right? The party is going to be in the afternoon. It is better I assemble it in the morning or the day before and keep refrigerate?

    Thank a lot for the recipe and suggestions!


  17. Tony says

    Hi Olga: This is a great looking cake I think I will try to make it this weekend. How long does it take to bake 1 layer in the oven?.
    I love your blog I love to bake. I Bake lots of different type of bread . Just started to really get into baking cakes. More of a bread and tart man. Thanks again.

  18. SONA says


    • says

      Thank you, Sona.
      I’m glad you stopped by. I hope you’ll find many recipes that your family can enjoy:).
      Don’t be afraid to try making Russian cakes; it’s much easier than it looks. Hopefully the step by step recipes with photos will be a help for you.
      God bless you too.

  19. Elona says

    I tried making this cake. Top cream never completely set. Bee mixture was so runny it’s impossible to make bees out of it. :(

  20. Regina says

    Have you ever used this honeycomb gelatin mixture ontop of another kind of cake? i’m just curious if it would work for a softer cake like spice cake

  21. HB says

    Hi Olga. Congrats on your little treasure. I wish you all the best!
    I finally made the spartak cake and i am in love. I doubled the recipe and had 10 layer birthday cake. Replaced the cream with sour crem-condensed milk- whipped cream combination to make it a bit lighter. I was wondering if you ever tried reducing the sugar in the batter. I know you are always trying to do that where possible.

    • says

      Thank you, HB. We are loving every minute with our precious baby boy.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake. The recipes I have posted here on my blog already have less sugar than normal. I have just enough sugar in the recipe that I like. Of course, you can adjust it to how you like it though.

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