For this month’s International Cooking Challenge, Saras @ Saras Yummy Bites is taking us to the world’s largest country in the world, Russia. Russia’s cuisine is very diverse just like the country and she gave us 3 traditional recipes to choose from. I picked this irresistible Russian Honey Cake from the list.
I made it as a part of my Russian meal I did earlier this month. This honey cake is very different from any cake I’ve ever made. The cake part is not a cake after all, it is basically rolled out dough that is baked in the oven to make somewhat like thin pancakes. These thin cakes are then layered with creamy custard filling and then chilled to make a delicious cake.
I halved the original recipe to make a smaller cake and then I made an eggless custard as the filling. But my filling got a little runny instead of thick and creamy, I think I might have to cook it a little longer the next time. My cake layers were also not even and the final cake looks a little sloppy.
Even with all the problems I had with the aesthetics and the texture of the filling, I really liked how the whole cake turned out with the thin cakes soaking up the custard, but still chewy (not mushy at all, as I was expecting) and cut perfectly into a slice. It takes a little bit of effort, actually a lot more when compared to the traditional cake, but it is well worth the time spent.
¼cupsugarWhite Granulated (skip brown and use ½cup white , if desired)
2¼ ~ 2½cupsAll purpose flour
For the Filling:
1½cupsMilk- (I used a combination of whole & 1% milk)
¼ ~ ½cupDulche de Leche
½tspVanillapowder - (or use 1tsp pure vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the Cake: In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, butter and honey; cook till sugar & butter melt, stirring occasionally.
Once the sugar melts remove the pan from heat and when its still hot, add the beaten eggs in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously until all the eggs are incorporated.
Add the baking soda and mix until no lumps remain. Then fold in the flour, ½cup at a time, until the dough comes together into a soft ball and does not stick to the hands.
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and while still warm start rolling.
On a floured surface, roll each piece into a thin circle -- about 6"~7" diameter. Use a 6" round plate to cut out perfect circles. Save the scraps to make crumbs for the cake. Pierce holes on the rounds with a fork to prevent bubbling.
Place the cut rounds on the baking sheets and bake for 4~5 minutes or until golden. Remove onto a wire rack and cool completely before stacking. Repeat with the remaining layers.
For the Bread Crumbs: Finally bake the scraps for 3~4 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely and process in a blender or food processor to make fine bread crumbs.
Make the Custard: In a small bowl, combine ¼cup milk and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the remaining 1¼cups milk and honey. Bring the mixture to a slow boil. Lower the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Increase the flame to medium and cook the mixture until it starts to thicken, about 3~4 minutes.
Add the dulche de leche and cook for 4~5 minutes to thicken up. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla powder or vanilla extract. Cool completely before assembling.
To Assemble: On a cake stand or a serving plate, place 1 cake and top with a generous dollop of the custard filling, then place the 2nd cake and press it down so the filling oozes out a little bit. Repeat with the remaining cakes and filling.
Once all the cakes are assembled, spread out the filling to cover the sides and the top. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly all over the cake.
Refrigerate for 4~6 hours or overnight before cutting.