Russian Honey Cake is a thin layer cake made with raw honey and a sour cream frosting. This honey cake recipe can be made round or rectangular for a party size! My Ukrainian husband loves this Medovik Cake Recipe and this dessert is covered in the simplest cake decoration (leftover cake crumbs!) 

Honey Cake Medovik made with thin sponge cake layers

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Honey cake isn’t the only way to enjoy raw honey. If you love honey try our savory honey recipes including this Honey Mustard Recipe, Honey Glazed Salmon, and Honey Baked Ham for special occasions. Other popular honey cake recipes to try are the Chocolate Spartak Cake and Honey Prune Cake. 

Watch How To Make Honey Cake (Medovik): 

What Is Honey Cake?

“Medovik” is a Russian name for Honey Cake. This honey layer cake is popular in both Russia and Ukraine where we love to eat it paired with a hot cup of tea. It’s not too sweet and the cake layers are completely sugar-free! There are mainly 2 ways to make Russian Honey Cake, which are rolling out the layers (a lengthy preparation), or the sponge cake technique (like this easy recipe.)

Medovik cake (Russian honey Cake) on a cake plate

This sponge cake “Medovik”, soaks up the cream filling very quickly and can be served in just a couple of hours! It turns out to be a melt-in-your-mouth dessert just like the Russian Honey Cakes sold at some Russian Supermarkets! However, the rolled-out layers need to soften longer taking up to 24 hours before serving. To hasten the soaking process always start with thin layers. Thicker layers need more soaking time. 

Ingredients For Honey Cake: 

I like to keep ingredients simple so, my frosting is only sour cream (smetana) and prepared Whipped Topping. You can substitute Cool Whip by making homemade whipped cream and if you want to go 100% sugar-free, make your frosting with unsweetened whipped cream and sour cream. Usually, the sour cream frosting for Medovik is sweetened by adding a can of condensed milk or sugar but Cool whip is already sweetened so it’s easier on the baker. 

ingredients for Honey Cake Medovik

  • Honey- clover honey is popular American honey that is easily available at major grocery stores and is mild in flavor. Local honey or wild honey are great sweet honey choices but can be costly. 
  • Eggs- use large Grade-A eggs for making this honey cake. 
  • Flour- all-purpose flour or bread flour will work for this honey cake recipe. 
  • Leavening- baking soda is a popular Russian or Ukrainian leavening typically quenched in vinegar to avoid any bitter aftertaste. 
  • Cream Filling- we love our honey cake with thick Daisy sour cream and Cool Whip, however, you can beat 1 cup of heavy with 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk instead. 
 

A slice of Medovik Honey Cake

Do You Have To Brown Honey? 

The honey layers naturally caramelize when baking, so you can completely skip the “brown honey” step of browning the butter in some recipes. It’s just a matter of baking the honey layers longer to deepen the color and flavor, only be careful not to overdo it so, it doesn’t turn bitter.  

What Kind Of Honey Should I Use? 

Clover honey is popular American honey that is easily available at major grocery stores and is mild in flavor. Local honey or wild honey are great sweet honey choices but can be costly. You will need raw honey that is running. Avoid sugary honey because that will make the cake batter stiff. If you have no other choice, melt the sugary honey before proceeding with the recipe.  

How To Make Russian Honey Cake: 

To make a cake with honey you’ll want to beat the eggs and honey first before adding the leavening. The longer the cake batter sits the thicker it tends to set, however, the batter will still be spreadable. This method of preparation is so much easier than the stove-top recipes that require melting and rolling out and then baking. 

  1. Make the sponge cake batter. 
  2. Spread the batter thinly over the back of an inverted sheet pan into the shape of a large rectangle. 
  3. Bake the thin cake layers until browned and aromatic (7-8 minutes.) 
  4. Cool completely before peeling off the parchment paper. 
  5. Cut out two round cake layers from each rectangle using an 8-inch salad plate, reserving a cake layer for crumbs. 
  6. Make the cream filling by mixing together the sour cream and whipped topping. Frost each layer including the top and sides.
  7. Garnish with the reserved cake crumbs. 
  8. Soak for at least 1 hour before serving! 
Medovik Torte (Honey Cake) picture with a honey dipper stick

Q&A

Where is Honey Cake Originated?

It is said that the Russian Honey Cake, “Medovik” has gone as far back as the 19th century to impress the empire’s wife through an Imperial kitchen experiment during the Soviet era. If you are from the former Soviet Union, then this cake is likely to resonate in some form. 

There are many recipe variations for making a honey cake, which is mainly to make thin hardened layers that will easily be softened with a soft cream filling. The thinner layers of a sponge cake tend to harden too but soak up cream much quicker than a rolled-out version. 

Best Decoration Ideas: 

The easiest way to decorate a honey cake from scratch is to reserve a cake layer and crumble it, then use it as a garnish. You could also use honey bee molds that resemble a honeycomb by simply pouring melted white chocolate into the molds and chilling. Then all you have to do is peel and place the solid chocolate anywhere on the Russian Honey Cake. 

Where To Buy Russian Honey Cakes? 

Being Ukrainian this honey cake is clearly identified as the cake made from honey as that is the main ingredient that brings this cake together. You can find, a round-shaped “Medovik” Cake at European grocery markets for around $30. However, Slavic weddings typically serve this in rectangular form. 

You should give this recipe for honey cake a try, it will be so much more frugal to feed the family or crowd! 

Can You Freeze Honey Cake?

This honey cake freezes fantastically! You can assemble the honey cake with the cream filling and place the cake into a cake container and freeze it. 

I do not recommend freezing the sponge cake layers as they form a sticky top after baking. This can easily destroy the layers unless you use freezer paper to avoid sticking. 

To Freeze Honey Cake: place assembled and frosted honey cake into a food container and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Is Honey Cake Healthy? 

This honey cake recipe can be made completely sugar-free if you substitute the Cool Whip with homemade whipped cream (unsweetened.) Sugar-free desserts make healthy snacks to fill in those sweet tooth cravings and honey benefits as a sugar substitute. 

Can I make my Cake Layers Thicker?

This honey cake makes 8 thin sponge layers that is about 2-inches high once assembled. To make a taller honey cake you will need to double the recipe and make slightly thicker cake layers. However, it’s important to note that parchment paper works great for the thinner layers, but thicker cake layers tend to stick.

How to make cake layers with a Silpat mat: draw 9-inch circles onto parchment paper and place them under Silpat mats. Spread 1/3 cup of cake batter over each circle and bake to a deep caramel color (7 minutes.)

How To Make a Party-Sized Honey Cake?

Honey Cakes (Medovik Torte) can easily feed a crowd! Simply double the recipe and leave rectangular. Assemble as instructed reserving a layer for crumbs.

Step-By-Step Photo Tutorial:

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a honey cake like the Russian version! This Russian Honey Cake Recipe is the sponge cake version that is melt-in-your-mouth! 

PREP: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Then, cut out 4 pieces of parchment paper enough to cover an 18×13″ baking sheet.

1. Beat together the eggs and honey until light brown and frothy (about 2 min.)

tutorial on how to make a Russian honey cake

2. Dissolve the baking soda in vinegar and add to the egg mixture, along with the flour.

Russian honey cake tutorial

3. Beat all together just until combined.

Russian Honey Cake sponge Batter

4. Place 1/2 cup of the sponge cake batter onto an inverted baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the mixture as thin as possible reaching the corners of the baking sheet and then bake for 7 minutes (batter should be spread out to the size of a 16″ by 11-inch rectangle.) Repeat with remaining layers.

Russian honey cake batter image
Russian honey cake sponge cake image
Russian Honey cake batter image
Russian honey cake image

(TIP: For a quicker process, use two same-sized baking sheets. One for spreading out the batter and the other for baking. Parchment paper helps with transferring layers from place to place. The batter tends to get slightly thicker the longer it sits, so working quickly is the key.) 

5.  Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the cake layers.

Russian honey cake image

6. Cut out 2 circles from each cake layer using a plate (about 7 1/2″ in diameter.) You should have a total of 8 circles.

Russian honey cake image
Russian honey cake image
Russian honey cake layers image
(Tip: Keep layers in a plastic bag until needed, to prevent them from drying out.) 

7. Take the leftover cake pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes at 275°F for the crumbs to dry out. (This makes the crushing process a breeze.)

Russian honey cake scraps image

 

8. Place dried left-overs into a zip-lock bag and crush them into fine crumbs using a rolling pin.

honey crumbs image
honey cake crumbs image
crushed honey cake crumbs image

10. How To Make a Sour Cream Frosting:

Mix together the cool whip and sour cream.

11. How To Assemble The Honey Cake:

Place an inverted cake layer onto a cake plate. Spread some cream over each layer and then frost the sides and top. Generously dust the sides and top with the cake crumbs and refrigerate overnight.

Russian honey cake frosting with sour cream image
assembling a Russian honey cake image

 

Tips:

  1. Need a quick and easy dessert? Make this honey cake with honey graham crackers instead! 
  2. Dry out the reserved cake layer in the oven over 275°F for 5-10 minutes until crisp. Then crumble for the decoration. 
  3. Honey Sponge cake can be served in an hour after assembling! 
  4. Double the honey cake recipe to make a party-sized sheet cake.
  5. Switch out the cream filling and make a buttercream custard by using sweetened condensed milk. 
  6. The longer you bake the sponge cake layers the more it will crisp up and deepen in honey flavor. Hardened cake layers are easier to peel off the parchment paper and will soak up in the cream filling later. 

P.S If anyone ever makes this cake from gluten-free flour, please let me and our readers know by submitting a comment. That would mean a lot:) 

More Russian Cakes to Try:

Russian Honey Cake Recipe (Medovik)

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
Russian Honey Cake is a thin layer cake made with raw honey and a sour cream frosting. This honey cake recipe can be made round or rectangular for a party size! My Ukrainian husband loves this Medovik Cake Recipe and this dessert is covered in the simplest cake decoration (leftover cake crumbs!) 

Equipment

  • 1 18x13" sheet pan
  • 4 pieces of parchment paper

Ingredients

Sponge Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup clover honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar

Sour Cream Frosting:

  • 8 oz Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 1 cup sour cream (Daisy brand)

Instructions

How to make Honey Cake (Medovik):

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, overhanging an inverted 18" by 13" baking sheet.
  • russian honey cake batter beaten from eggs, honey, flour, baking soda, and vinegar
    Beat the eggs and honey for 2 minutes. Add the baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp vinegar and flour. Mix well.
  • thin honey cake batter spread over a sheet pan
    Spread 1/2 cup of the sponge cake batter onto an inverted baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the mixture as thin as possible reaching the corners of the baking sheet. Bake each layer for 7 minutes (makes 4 layers total.)
  • Russian honey cake layers cut out with a plate to make a round honey cake
    Cool completely then peel off the parchment paper and cut out 2 circles from each cake layer using a 7-8" plate (makes 8 round cake layers total.) Reserve all the scraps.
  • honey cake crumbs being crushed with a rolling pin after they have been dried
    Place the scrap pieces into a baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes at 275°F for the crumbs to dry out. Transfer to a zip-lock bag and crush the crumbs finely.
  • Russian honey cake being assembled on a cake plate with crumbs
    To make the cream; mix together the cool whip and sour cream. Spread over each layer and frost the sides and top. Garnish cake with crumbs and refrigerate overnight or at least 1 hour before serving.

Notes

  • Party Size: to make a honey cake for a crowd simply double the recipe and don't cut out the cake layers, but rather layer atop each other. This makes a sheet pan Honey Cake. 
  • The cream filling should be on the softer side in order to soak each cake layer. Add an additional tablespoon of sour cream to make a runnier cream. 
  • Use any raw honey that is smooth (avoid sugary honey.) 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 192mgPotassium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg

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77 comments

    • Tamara

    Thank you for this great recipe for Honey Medovik Cake! I made it the other day and think that the flavor just kept getting better on day 2,3 and 4. It is a bit quicker to make than the original version of Medovik that I have previously made but still very delicious. I used Thickened Cream and Icing Sugar for the cream as we do not have Cool Whip available in Australia. I will definitely be making this again!

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      I’m so glad you like this version of Medovik! It’s also good to know it worked with a Cool Whip substitute. Thank you for taking the time to leave a feedback:)

    • T

    Hi… I wana try this cake. Is there a substitute for sour cream? We don’t get it in our town Thanks

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi, you could try yogurt.

    • Kayla

    Can I make this the day before and it still taste good…refrigerated of course?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Kayla, it’s actually best made in advance!

    • Colleen

    How soon in advance do you recommend making this cake so the frosting has time to sink into the cake layers? I also want to avoid it getting soggy.
    Thank you!

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Colleen, if you make it in the morning it should be ready for dinner, so a minimum of 6 hours. It shouldn’t get soggy it will just be super tender but not wet at all.

    • Oza

    Perfect cake! Thank you!

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Wonderful, Oza!

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