This cake is to date, the most time consuming thing I have ever attempted. Do not attempt this if you do not have at LEAST 2 hours to spare. I can imagine once I get good at this cake it will only take that long; maybe 2 hours and 20 minutes. Today however, it took me a total of 4 hours from start to finish including a mad dash to the supermarket because I was far to overzealous in my use of sour cream filling. If it is your first time making this cake, also allow for 4 hours.
Having said that, make this cake. It is amazing. Unbelievably amazing. If you can’t be bothered, then keep an eye out for it in some cool little cafe that shares my deep-set feelings on this cake. The honey is not overpowering yet ever present in the consumption of this delight and the sour cream takes off the ‘too-sweet- edge some cakes possess.
The first time I ever had this was at my friends house, most probably for her birthday. Her dad had made it and I instantly fell in love. Her and I proceeded to eat half the cake… To be perfectly honest, I never knew exactly how much effort went into baking such a modest looking cake (for starters I had no idea each layer was ROLLED OUT). Now however, I am a baker changed. I am also very grateful to her father for entertaining my birthday wish of having it as my birthday cake for a few years in a row. I’m surprised he so happily obliged when he never got to have a taste of the end result!
This is actually his recipe that I am using, although I made the instructions slightly more detailed so that others can follow without mishap; rolling out each layer isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Our recipes only differ in that his contains an optional crushed walnut to mix in with the coating. I love it both ways but one of the people who will be eating this cake has incredibly strong nut allergies, better not tempt fate for a fourth time. I might not get to be that friend who ‘remember that time that I almost nearly killed you’ anymore. Yes I have accidentally given her nut infested food three times before, no I am not trying to kill her off.
If you want good pictures of what each stage should look like, go here.
12 Layer Russian Honey Cake
Adapted from littlepetel
For the cake layers:
- 100 grams butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon liquid honey
- 2 cups flour (and a lot extra for rolling out)
For the filling and coating:
- 750 g sour cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 200 grams crushed plain sweet biscuit crumbs, for coating
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and liquid honey and mix until well combined.
Melt the butter in a large pot; take off heat and add the egg mixture mixture.
Put the pot back on a low heat, dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together as a mass, without lumps. It should be very thick and not the easiest thing to stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl add a liberal amount of flour, scrape the dough from the pot and dump on top of the flour in one big blob. Coat the blob with flour, but do not kneed – you only want the outside to be covered in flour for the next step. Divide the mass into 12 smaller blobs and set aside on a well floured section of your bench.
Using a 9-inch round springform pan estimate how long you need to tear off your baking paper. You want to roll the dough out on this as well as putting it into the oven so it needs to be larger than the tin you plan on cutting the rounds with. This would also work with a square tin, or a smaller one. Anything larger than a 9-inch and your cake will not be very tall. Roll each layer out extremely thin (1-2mm).
Bake each round for 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness as well as the strength of your oven so keep an eye on the first couple. It will be a lovely golden brown colour when ready. Repeat with remaining dough and allow to thoroughly cool before assembling.
For the filling, beat sour cream, sugar and honey until the sugar disolves – the mixture will be fairly liquid. Refrigerate for half an hour. Crush the biscuits, using a food processor worked wonderfully (and fast)
Coat each layer with a generous amount of cream (I was too generous and ran out so I estimate using a 1/3 cup with a heaped round on top should stop you from having my problem). Coat the sides and sprinkle the entire cake with a layer of crumbs, for the sides use your hands to press a whole lot on at once. Allow to set at least 6 hours before eating.