Medovik is one of my favorite deserts. It is known under different names and considered one of the most popular cakes in Eastern Europe. For a long time, I was looking for a recipe yielding really thin layers of dough. Two years ago, my friend and a talented patisserie chef from Moscow, Natasha Dolgikh, shared a recipe of another celebrity patisserie chef from Moscow, Oleg Ilyin. That recipe was exactly what I was looking for — technologically brilliant and perfect for my taste.
This cake was so popular, I took its existence for granted, never wondering who and how created it. Today I found a legendary story of its origin. According to rumors, the Empress Elizabeth A. did not like honey, so all the court cooks avoided using it as an ingredient. Once, a new cook, who was not familiar yet with the gastronomic tastes of the Empress, created a new cake for her — honey-based layers of cookie-like dough and pastry cream between them. It was too late when he found out about forbidden ingredient. The cook was praying for the Empress not to recognize the flavor of honey. And she did not. Elizabeth liked the cake so much, she demanded the new chef to immediately come from the kitchen and tell her what’s in it. He honestly told her he used honey and prepared to accept his punishment. Contrary to his expectations, the Empress acted quite the opposite — she rewarded him for the cake. Medovik has become a popular dessert among the Russian nobility, and later among the common people.
There are many recipes of Honey Cake. The dough layers vary from thick and soft sponge to thin and delicate cookie layers. Most of today recipes use sour cream-based cream, but it might be flavored with condensed milk or caramel. Some home cooks add chopped prunes and crushed walnuts between layers. There are different ways to decorate Medovik, mostly with just crumbled baked dough.