This is a Russia travel blog, but I guess it’s also just a Russia blog more generally sometimes. Oh, screw it, there’s no justification. I just made a neat cake and I wanted to share it.
It’s a cake called medovik, or honeycake. It does have honey it in, but not very much. Perhaps a more apt description would be to call this a butter cake because it’s pretty much all butter. It is a layered cake of biscuits and cream.
The first thing you do is make caramel out of condensed milk. You do this by taking two cans of condensed milk, removing the labels, and putting the whole, unopened cans in boiling water for at least two hours. I realize this can seem scary, and the Internet will warn you that there is a small chance of explosion. I’m beginning to think that’s a myth, though. Just keep the level of water above the cans and you’ll be fine. Really.
After the two hours in the water, something magical happens to the condensed milk. It turns dark, gooey, and nearly solid. The longer you boil, the darker it gets. This is today’s version:
After you’ve done this and the cans have cooled, set aside.
Now you make the “biscuit” part of the cake. In an aluminum bowl, mix 3 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of honey, 7 tablespoons of salted butter (see? I said it was buttery) and 2 teaspoons of orange flower water. The orange flower water is not traditional, but I really like its aromatic aftertaste.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Put the aluminum bowl over a pot of boiling water and whisk the ingredients together while the butter melts. It takes less than five minutes. Then whisk in one tablespoon of baking soda. Something really neat happens here– the mixture turns light-colored and increases in volume. I would have taken a photo but I didn’t have the idea to make this a blog post yet. Sorry about that.
Just after the mixture does that neat thing, take it off the heat. Then, gradually, add three cups of flour to the mixture. What you’ll get in the end will be a very sticky dough. Butter your hands and divide the dough into 5 or more balls. This part depends on how high you want your cake to be and the size of your plate. Today I intend to fit my cake into my pie-carrier, so I had to make the balls smaller. Therefore, there were more of them.
Press each ball into a flat circle, like this:
And bake it until it just turns brown, about 5 minutes:
Now, once you’ve got them all baked, trim them into circles such that they are all the same size.
Take the scraps from your trimming and grind them into crumbs.
Now, scoops out the luscious boiled-condensed-milk and blend it with one cup of butter and one-and-a-half teaspoons of orange flower water. I used the Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment. I think you could also use a blender. Assemble the cake by spreading a layer of the condensed-milk cream in between each round biscuit.
Once you’ve layered everything, press the biscuit crumbs into the top and sides of the cake. Now you’re done! This cake is better if it sits overnight– that lets the cream sink into the biscuits– but it’s not like it’s bad to eat the same day.
Recipe for medovik (медовик):
- 2 cans sweetened, condensed milk
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp orange flower water
Boil the unopened cans in water for at least two hours. After cooling, scoop out insides and mix with the butter and the orange flower water.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 7 tbsp salted butter
- 2 tsp orange flower water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 3 cups of white flour
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, honey, and orange flower water in an aluminum bowl. Add in cubed butter. Place bowl over a pot of rapidly boiling water and continue whisking, until all the butter is thoroughly melted. Add the baking soda and continue whisking until the mixture is lighter in color and has increased in volume, about one minute.
Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually add 3 cups of flour. Butter hands and divide the dough into fiver (or more) balls. Using parchment paper, press each ball into a flat round. Bake each round until browned, about 5 minutes. Trim each round, reserving the scraps. Grind the scraps into crumbs and set aside.
Spread cream on each round and layer into cake. Press the crumbs into the top and sides of the cake to disguise the seams. For best results let sit overnight.