With multiple, thin honey layers and a tangy sour cream frosting, this cake is so tender it just melts in your mouth. It’s a classic Russian recipe that has been loved for generations.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 package of cream cheese (4 oz total)
- 1/2 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 16 oz sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Sugared rosemary and currants: (Optional)
- Fresh rosemary
- Red currants or cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
Making the cake layers:
- Place the butter and sugar in a large nonstick pot. If you don’t have a nonstick pot, or your pot burns easily, you may wish to use a double boiler. (Just place a metal or glass bowl on top of a pot with about an inch or water in it and keep it simmering, but make sure the bottom on the bowl never touches the simmering water. Add more water if it evaporates.
- Cook it just until the butter melts but is still barely warm, NOT HOT.
- Take it off the heat. Add the eggs, baking soda and honey and mix to combine.
- Cook the mixture on medium low heat for about 7 minutes, longer if you’re using a double boiler. The batter will almost double in size and will turn a deep caramel color. Take it off the heat.
- Add the flour and mix quickly with a wooden spoon. I always add less flour than I need and add more when I’m rolling out the cake layers. If you add too much flour, it will be really hard to roll out.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cake layers.
- Take approximately 1/4 cup of batter and knead it on your work surface. If it’s sticking to your hands and the counter, add more flour. Roll it out thinly into somewhat of a circle.
- Use the bottom of a cake pan or the bottom of a tart pan to cut a perfect circle. You can save all the scraps just the way you cut them and place them on a baking sheet and then bake. Later, you can crush them into crumbs and sprinkle the sides and top of the cake. I usually just take the scraps and knead them into the batter as I roll out each new cake layer.
- I use 2 (9 incround tart pans to bake the cake layers. If you don’t have a tart pan, use a rimmed baking sheet., sprinkled with flour or lined with parchment paper.
- 1Sprinkle the bottom of the tart pan with flour and bake the cake layers for about 4 minutes each.
- Take them off the tart pan right away. As the cake layers cool, they will become pretty hard.
- Working quickly, repeat with the rest of the cake batter. You can roll out the cake layers and set them aside, waiting to be baked. You want to roll them all out while the batter is still warm. As the batter cools, it becomes harder and harder to roll out. You should have approximately 10-12 cake layers.
Making the frosting:
- Cream the softened cream cheese and condensed milk in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until it’s well combined.
- Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine.
- In another chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar.
- Gently fold it into the rest of the frosting.
Assembling the Cake:
- Dust off any excess flour from the cake layers.
- Line your serving plate edges with aluminum foil.
- Place a dollop of frosting into the center of the plate, just to keep the cake from sliding around.
- Top each cake layer with about 1/4 cup of frosting and spread it around evenly.
- Repeat with all the cake layers. As you place the layers on top of each other, some of the frosting will ooze out of the sides. Spread it out evenly over the sides.
- Grate some white chocolate on top of the cake and chopped nuts or crushed cake layer scraps over the sides of the cake.
- Gently remove the aluminum foil.
- Heat 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan just until the sugar dissolves. Pour it into a shallow dish.
- Place about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of sugar in another shallow dish.
- Dip the rosemary and the red currants in the sugar syrup and dip it in the sugar.
- Place on a parchment paper to dry and then place it on the cake. Now you have a beautiful winter masterpiece.