I want to share with you my all time favorite cake. This cake is crazy popular in Eastern Europe. But not only that my family looooves it too. That’s why every holiday season this particular honey cake decorates our tables.
I am sure this honey cake will turn into one of your favorites too.
Now, there are many different versions of this cake. Most of them include sugar as a sweetener. But I have found a way to substitute sugar for honey to make it richer and healthier. With substituting honey, you have to be careful because it adds extra moisture to the mix, as apposed to dry sugar granules. It is denser, that’s why it weighs more, so you have to be careful about the amount. And most importantly, you have to be careful not to over-bake your dough, because honey causes the layers to brown much quicker.
About 10 years ago I not only switched from sugar to honey, but from all purpose flour to whole grain – gluten free flour. That doesn’t mean I use those gluten free versions that have unpronounceable mix of ingredients. No. I like to use either brown rice flour or almond meal or coconut flour. It adds a perfect flavor to the cake. Its unbelievable. But switching customary cake recipes from regular flour to gluten free is not easy task. It requires a lot of tests and trials. That’s why in the coming posts I will share with you this honey cake recipe that is gluten free with the whole grain flour. Stay tuned 🙂
Here is how you make it.
Ingredients for the dough
Flour – 300-500 gr (3-4 cups)
Sugar – 200 gr (1 cup) OR substitute with 3/4 cup of honey
Butter – 100 gr (1/2 cup)
Honey – 2-3 tbsp.
Eggs – 2
Baking soda – 1 tsp.
Almond flakes (optional) – 0.5 cup
Ingredients for the cream
Butter – 300 gr (2-1/2 cups)
Sweetened milk (unopened can boiled in water for 2 – 2.5 hours to get brown color) – 1 can
Walnuts (grounded) – 100 gr (3/4 cup – 1 cup)
Preparing the dough
- Put a round pan with water on the stove until it steams.
- Place a glass bowl over the steaming water so that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the boiling water.
- Add butter, sugar and honey in the bowl, mix it until you get all ingredients well blended and smooth for about 3-4 minutes. During this process never stop mixing.
- Add baking soda and mix well until the batter gets lighter in color and increases in volume. It will take only 2-3 minutes.
- Take down the bowl from the steamer and continue mixing a little bit longer, for about half a minute, and then start adding eggs one at a time. Each time mix in the egg quickly and well so that the egg doesn’t get cooked in hot mixture. We need to get a smooth batter. This will take 3-4 minutes.
- Start adding flour. Add in 2/3 of the flour, and start kneading the dough by hand. Then add the rest of the flour. Mix well, about 3-4 minutes. If we added all the flour at once, the warm batter would take more flour than we need and the layers would get hard after we baked them. You can add a little more flour until you get a soft and not sticky dough.
- You don’t need to knead dough more that 4-5 minutes it will be breadline. And we don’t want that with this cake. Place dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes to settle.
- Take a dough from fridge and place it on well-floured board and star making thick roll. Cut the roll into 9 pieces and make them into even and round balls.
- On the back side of the baking sheet sprinkle a little bit of flour and place a ball on it. With your hand press to roll out a dough until you get desired size, 21-22 cm (8.5 inches) round circle, and about 2mm thickness (to make the circles you can also use a rolling pin or wax paper as you wish). The edges can be uneven, because we will cut the edges later to make sure all the layers are the same size and roundness anyway.
- To get all the layers the same size you can use a plate by placing it over the rolled layer and with a knife cut a circle around the edge of the plate. Use a plate about 20-21 cm in diameter. Don’t remove the uneven edge. We will use the cut edge for the decoration of the cake.
- Take a fork and poke the dough approximately 30-40 times all over. This will prevent the crusts from getting big bubbles while baking. Place the sheet in the preheated oven at 200⁰C (392 F) for about 3-5 minutes. The layers get baked very quickly, that is why you need to be very careful not to over bake them. You want to see a beautifully golden crust. Notice: if you substituted sugar with honey reduce the temp to 350F to prevent over baking and over browning 🙂
- Remove the cut edges and the circle from the hot sheet quickly. That way the layers will be soft and flexible to handle them without cracking. Put the edges aside into a bowl. Stack the crust layers on a plate or on the board.
- In a food processor grind the edges. Divide it into two smaller bowls. In one of them add ground walnuts.
Now start to prepare the cream.
- Put butter in a bowl and whip it for 2-3 minutes, add sweetened milk gradually for 3-4 minutes until well blended.
It is time to build up our honey cake.
- Take a serving plate or a cake stand. Spread a little bit of the cream in the middle of the serving plate in order to help the layers from moving (slipping) while we work on them.
Note: You can also cut wide strips (10cm/3.5 inches) of wax paper and place them under the first layer all around the edge of the plate. This way, at the end of your work, you will remove the wax paper and get clean plate around your cake.
Stack up the cake as such: It goes a layer of crust, a layer of cream and a layer of ground walnut mix.
- Add cream and sprinkle with ground walnut on each layer.
- The remaining cream spread evenly on the sides and the top of the cake.
- Now cover the cake on the sides and top with the earlier prepared edge crumbs. You could also decorate the top with almond flakes if you have them.
Enjoy your honey cake!