For our recent Teddy Bear Picnic, there was one show-stopping feature on the table that already has readers begging for the recipe! Our Honey Layer Cake is a unique and delicious dessert to add to your kids’ kitchen repertoire.
Miss G wanted to make a honey cake for the teddy bear picnic because of Winnie the Pooh’s influence. We looked online and discovered that many cultures have some sort of honey cake recipe, but the Russian layer cake version was especially exciting to her!
I read and compared a lot of recipes before we came up with this hybrid, so I won’t vouch for our honey cake being at all traditional or authentic. I knew we would want a slightly sweet cake with a soft texture and I knew we would want to drizzle some real honey overtop of the finished cake (like we did with caramel and our Cream Egg Cake) so I wanted to balance that sweetness with a more tart frosting – lending more towards the original creme fraiche topping instead of a more modern version with sweetened, condensed milk. From the descriptions I’ve read, Russian cakes can range from a sponge cake (like we made) to a crunchier, torte-style cake. (I’d love to hear from any readers who might be more knowledgable about this cake!)
Our recipe is for a soft, slightly sweet cake that doesn’t overpower and instead allows the delicious taste of honey to truly shine. The sour cream frosting gives a nice sweet-tart contrast to the honey drizzled over top and ensures the 13 layers of honey sponge are soft and not dry.
Depending on your comfort level, the entire recipe may not be completely kid-friendly, but there are definitely stages that any kitchen helpers can help with and the final product is very kid-friendly.
The dough starts off on the stove, melting the honey-sugar-butter mixture, and then whisking the hot mixture into three beaten eggs. I did this stage while Miss G wiped down our work area and spread flour on it for us to roll out our dough.
After the stove stage, however, this cake is super easy and fun for kids. You simply stir in the flour, knead the dough, roll it out, cut it into shapes (large circles for a layer cake like this) and bake each layer for 3-5 minutes.
How to Make a Russian Honey Cake
First, preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment.
Assemble your ingredients:
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
Place the honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, melt the mixture until sugar is dissolved.
Pour the honey mixture into the beaten eggs and stir quickly until blended. Add the bakings soda to help break up any eggs that may have started cooking from the heat of the honey mixture.
(Now, when we made this cake, we added the eggs to the saucepan which I would not recommend. You need to whisk the eggs quickly and constantly to prevent them from cooking.)
Add the egg mixture to the flour and mix well.
Prepare a surface with flour and pour the dough onto the surface. Knead with a bit of flour just until the dough is no longer sticky. (You don’t want to over-knead the dough, which would lead to a tough cake.)
Cut the dough into several hand-sized pieces to start.
Roll the dough out to 1/2″ thickness and cut into desired shape. We used an overturned cake pan to cut out our cake rounds.
Place two rounds of dough on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, about 5 minutes.
Repeat with remaining dough. We got 13 layers out of our dough, but you may get more or less depending on the size of your layers.
For the frosting – you can substitute out another frosting recipe if you’d prefer, but we made a Sour Cream Frosting since we didn’t have Creme Fraiche at home:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup liquid honey
- Berries, for garnish
Whip the heavy whipping cream with a mixer for 4 minutes until light, frothy peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream and powdered sugar.
Fold the sour cream mixture into the whipping cream, being careful to stop when just incorporated – do not over beat.
Allow the cakes to cool slightly before layering them, adding a generous tablespoon or two of the frosting in between each cake layer.
Because our cake had so many layers, the decorative skewers helped keep it sturdy as the frosting set. If you would prefer to leave those out, try to allow the frosting to set every few layers – or make two separate cakes and layer them just before serving.
When ready to serve, drizzle honey over top of the whole cake and garnish with berries, cinnamon sticks, or some chocolate shavings.
Here is your free printable version of this Honey Layer Cake recipe:
What’s the most ambitious dessert you’ve ever made? Would you give this surprisingly easy honey layer cake recipe a try?