There are many recipes out there for Russian Honey Cake, but we chose this one because we love Chef John from Food Wishes and his friendly style of presenting his recipes.
We thank the honeybees for all the rich wildflower honey that sweetens this decadent and luscious cake.
Putting this culinary masterpiece together is time consuming but well worth it.
MAKING THE CAKE
Add wildflower honey to a small pan and turn it up to medium heat – stir and let the honey darken a shade to resemble caramel. This takes about 10 minutes. It’ll smell like caramelized sugar.
Turn off the heat and whisk in a little cold fresh water to thin it. Set it to the back of the stove.
Put a large metal bowl over very low heat and melt butter in it.
Add white sugar, some of the cooked honey and some fresh honey.
Let it all sit while the butter melts.
Add salt and cinnamon to baking soda and stir.
Once the butter melts whisk it and leave it over the heat once it is warm to the touch.
Add 6 cold eggs and whisk them into the butter mixture. Keep whisking until it gets warm.
Stir the baking soda mixture into the butter mixture and keep whisking as it lightens and gets foamy.
Remove it from the heat and sift in some all-purpose flour. This is the first of three siftings of flour. As you stir it in a little more each time, it thickens but you end up with a fairly runny dough.
Get a lined baking tray – Chef John uses a French SILPAT lined baking tray. Drop ½ cup of batter/dough onto the surface in the center and form it into an 8-9-inch circle with an off-set spatula. He uses a rubber spatula. Shake it slightly to remove any air bubbles that may rise to the surface.
Put it into the oven at 375 F for 6-7 minutes.
REPEAT 7 more times with 7 more cake layers for a total of 8!
Slide each layer off the pan onto the counter-top to cool better (still on the cloth).
Stack the first 3 layers with parchment paper in between, then pull each off onto the cool tabletop. Use the outside of a paper plate to see if they are all about the same size. Trim if necessary.
After you have done your 8 layers you should have enough left over to put on your baking sheet and bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes to make cake “croutons”. Take it out of the oven, slice and chop like croutons, then put it back into the oven for another 7-10 minutes until it is browned when it comes out.
Put these croutons and any scraps from the outside of the cake layers into a zip bag and use a rolling pin to reduce them to cake crumbs.
Here is the 12:40-minute video where he makes the cake from scratch. The full recipe can be found at his links below the Youtube video:
Get a very cold metal bowl and a whisk that you have kept cold in the fridge.
Pour in 2 pints of very cold heavy cream.
Hand whisk the cream into a floppy whipped cream.
Add the rest of the hot honey mixture as well as several spoons of sour cream.
Chef John used 4 parts cream to 1-part sour cream but adjust to your preferences.
Whisk until it is fairly stiff because it will have to hold up all the 8 cake layers but don’t whisk so long it turns to butter.
Position the bottom layer of cake on parchment on a plate, then add a generous amount of whipped cream mixture and smooth it out almost to the edge.
Add the next cake layer UPSIDE DOWN so any air bubbles will fill with cream. Press each layer down gently on top of the previous one.
Put the final cake layer nice side up.
Frost the top with the whipped cream and you should have enough left to go around the sides too. Spread the cream all over and around the cake.
Cover the cake with crumbs, sides first, using a piece of paper to “ricochet” the crumbs with a bounce of the finger onto the sides where it sticks to the cream. Cover the entire top with crumbs, so it looks totally golden.
The cake must be refrigerated overnight, so cover it in plastic wrap. All the cream soaks into the layers.
Next day, transfer it with 2 spatulas to a cake stand. Slice and enjoy not just the cake but the crumbs because they help accentuate the caramel flavor of the cake!
The cake is light but with a deep, deep honey flavor. The slightly bitter ‘burnt’ honey taste is the real secret, and then the tangy whipped cream frosting is perfect for the cake.
If you enjoy recipes like this, go to Chef John’s Youtube channel and subscribe so you can collect his recipes.