Chocolate Honey Layer Cake – Торт “Спартак”

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For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 45 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Pastry cream:

  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/41/3 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, dulce 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat up the milk, honey, sugar, butter, baking soda, and cocoa, just until butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the tempered 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. To make the pastry cream, whisk the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Heat up the milk in a saucepan just until it is starting to foam. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and then add the flour, cornstarch.
  10. 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. Return to the saucepan and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly again until the pastry cream has thickened.
  11. 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.
  12. In a cold bowl and a cold whisk attachment, whip up the cream. Fold gently into the pastry cream.
  13. To assemble the cake, top each cake layer with pastry cream, about 1/3 cup. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  14. 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.
  15. When the cake is cool and ready to decorate, mix the condensed milk, butter, and sour cream until smooth.
  16. Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water and allow to stand for about 5 minutes.
  17. Heat in the microwave or on the stovetop until dissolved, but do NOT bring to a boil.
  18. 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.
  19. For the bees, make the ganache. Cut the chocolate.
  20. 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.
  21. Peel off the bubble wrap from the cake.
  22. 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.