Торт Медовик (Russian Honey Cake)

To ring in the new year, I decided to make a recipe that I’d been wanting to try out for ages, but had never had enough courage to try. This particular recipe is for Торт Медовик, or Russian Honey Cake, and the only recipe I could find was in Russian. My Russian’s sketchy at best, but after being run through a machine translator, it’s surprisingly comprehensible. To save everyone the confusion of a machine-translated, recipe, I’ll just provide a link to the original recipe and then post my translation (and general thoughts on the recipe).

Tort Medovik


Cake Dough:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (or 125 g) butter or margarine
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 300 g (about 2⅓ sticks) softened butter
  • 1½ cups (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • about ¾ a lemon’s worth of lemon juice
  • (optional) walnuts


Preheat your oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

In a double boiler, heat the butter/margarine and stir in the sugar and honey, stirring until smooth. Add in the baking powder and continue stirring; once the baking powder is mixed in, remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool.

After the mixture has cooled, mix two eggs in a separate bowl and then mix them in. Add the first three cups of flour in and stir to mix the dough; the last half cup will probably need to be kneaded in by hand. If you need a little more flour to keep it from sticking to your hands, go for it; it’ll make the next steps easier.

The recipe says to divide the dough into 6-8 pieces, though 5 worked fine for me. Then flatten each piece of dough onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 6–12 minutes. My method was to stagger baking the dough: after 6 minutes with the first one in the oven, I’d put the second one in, and so forth. This worked relatively well and allowed me to only use two baking sheets.

If you’d like to have a more uniform cake, I’d recommend taking a cake pan and using it as a guide to cut off the edges of these pieces. If you do this, do it right after they come out of the oven: they’re soft then, but they get kind of brittle as they cool and don’t soften until they’ve been soaked with the custard.

For the custard, put the enormous mass of softened butter (seriously, we’re talking in like, Paula Deen quantities here) in a bowl and blend it with an electric mixer. Pour in the condensed milk slowly so that it doesn’t splatter all over the place, and then add lemon juice to taste. If you like the custard without lemon juice, more power to you: that’s how the original recipe is written … but personally it was a little too simple and sweet for me when made that way.

After the custard is made, interlayer the cake pieces with custard and frost the top (and edges) with some custard as well. Take the broken pieces from the edges that you trimmed/broke off and crumble them up, and top with the crumbs and walnuts, if you’d like (I didn’t). Put it in the fridge for a while and let the custard soak in a bit to soften the layers, and you’re done!

Personally, I’m a little wary about making a recipe with this much butter a second time, because I kind of like my arteries to permit some flow through them. I was thinking about trying it again but with the custard replaced with whipped egg whites or a cream-cheese based frosting, but I’m not sure how well it would work in terms of soaking into the pastry. If I give that a go, I’ll post the results on here.

Oh, and happy new year!