This Russian honey cake recipe, aka medovik, is a gravity-defying layered cake with notes of honey & dulce de leche. It is decadent, beautiful & absolutely delicious.
Honey cake is made up of crispy and thin cake layers that are separated by a thick cream cheese and dulce de leche frosting. The end result is an eye-catching dessert that is sure to impress. Whip it up for your next get-together and watch your guests’ eyes widen as you slice in!
Are you obsessed with honey cake? Try your hand at making another Momsdish favorite – Jam Layered Honey Cake.
What is Russian Honey Cake (Medovik)?
Medovik hails straight from Russia and translates directly into “honey”. It is a popular dessert throughout all Slavic countries and it’s reserved for special occasions. Here you’ll find an overview of the flavor, texture, and time it takes to whip up our version.
- Flavor: The flavor of this cake is sweet overload! It doesn’t hold back at all and features strong notes of honey and dulce de leche.
- Texture: The crispy, thin cake layers are soaked in the cake cream overnight, making each slice ridiculously moist.
- Time: Reserve a little patience for this cake, as it takes about 3 hours to make. Trust us, it’s well worth the wait!
Making Honey Cake Recipe from Scratch
The most tedious part about making medovik is baking each individual layer separately. After that, all you need to do is some simple assembly!
Make the Cake Layers
- Create a Steam Bath: First, bring a pot of water to boil and place a heat-safe bowl on top.
- Make the Cake Batter: Next, pour the butter, honey and sugar inside the bowl over the steam bath and allow them to melt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and baking soda until smooth. Slowly add in the egg mixture, stirring until well-combined.
- Cook the Batter: Allow the batter to cook for around 30 minutes over the steam bath. Remove it from heat and add in the teaspoon vanilla extract and all-purpose flour.
- Shape the Cake Layers: Next, preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, divide the dough into 12-14 even pieces and roll out one of them into a thin, flat disc.
- Bake & Trim the Cake Layers: Bake a single cake layer for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Using a plate, cut out a perfect circle from the cake layer. Repeat the process until all you layers are baked, trimmed, and cooled to room temperature (note: save the cake trimmings for decorating!).
Make the Cake Cream & Assemble the Cake
- Make the Cake Cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and dulce de leche together. Add in the heavy whipping cream and whip until you get stiff peaks.
- Assemble the Cake: Next, frost a cake layer with the cake cream and stack a layer on top. Repeat until the cake is fully assembled. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining cake cream.
- Decorate the Cake: Blend the leftover cake pieces and use the crumbs to decorate the sides of the cake:
- Refrigerate the Cake: Allow the cake to set in the fridge overnight to develop its flavors. Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Bon appetit!
Hot Tip: This honey cake calls for dulce de leche. If you’re feeling up to it, make our Instant Pot dulce de leche.
5 Tips for Making the Best Honey Cake
A couple of handy tips will help you make the best honey cake recipe possible.
- Make the layers in advance. This cake is awesome because you can make the layers up to a week in advance. Just make sure to cover them tightly with plastic wrap and store them in a plastic bag until you are ready to assemble.
- Use room temperature butter and cream cheese and extra cold heavy whipping cream. Bring your butter and cream cheese to room temperature and keep your heavy cream very cold. This makes the whipping process much easier, while also creating an awesome texture.
- Don’t over mix the cake cream. Once you add the heavy cream to your cream cheese and butter, pay extra mind to not over mix your frosting. Over mixing the heavy cream can cause it to curdle and turn into butter. Once you see stiff peaks begin to form, immediately stop mixing the frosting.
- Give the cake time to set. After you assemble your cake, allow it to set it in the fridge for at least 12 hours. This will not only help with the cake’s overall stability, but it will also make it much more moist and flavorful.
- Tailor the cake cream to your taste buds. If you want to skip out on the cream cheese or butter, feel free. If you remove the butter, compensate by adding more cream cheese and vice versa.
Storing & Freezing this Honey Cake Recipe
Whether you’re prepping your cake ahead of time or need to store some leftover slices, find all you need to know here.
- Refrigerate: Keep your cake in a sealed cake container for up to a week. This cake tends to absorb the smells of the fridge, so you want to make sure it’s stored airtight!
- Freezing: You can make this cake in advance and freeze it for up to a month. Fresh cake is always supreme, but this definitely is a viable option. Pull out the cake from the freezer and allow it to thaw overnight.
Can you make honey cake with just sugar?
It’s best to use honey for traditional honey cake instead of just pure sugar. The deep, earthy honey flavor is the signature ingredients for the cake and really make it what it is.
Is cooked condensed milk the same thing as dulce de leche?
Yes, cooked sweetened condense milk is the same exact thing as dulce de leche. You can easily make it yourself or just buy a premade can of dulce de leche.
What kind of flour should you use to make honey cake?
Regular, old-fashioned all-purpose flour is all you need to make a traditional medovik cake. You want to stay away from cake flours, as they are much too fine to yield the crispy cake layers.
How far in advance can you prepare the cake layers for honey cake?
You can prepare the cake layers for medovik cake up to 5 days in advance and store them in the refrigerator. If you want them to last even longer, freeze them for up to a month.
A Few More Russian Cakes to Try
- Dulce De Leche Cake (Golden Key Cake) – Luscious caramel cake
- 5 Ingredient “Sharlotka” Apple Cake – Rustic apple cake
- Chocolate Layer Cake (Spartak Cake) – Thin, chocolate cake layers separated by a thick cream
- Chocolate-Honey Layer Cake Recipe – Irish creme liqueur chocolate honey cake
- 70 g Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 200 g Unsalted Butter
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 16 oz heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz dulce de leche
- Bring a pot of water to boil and place a heat-safe bowl on top (this is called a "steam bath"). Place the butter, honey, and sugar inside the bowl and allow the mixture to melt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with baking soda until smooth in consistency. Slowly, add the egg mixture into the honey mixture in the steam bath, continuing to stir as you combine.
- Cook the batter for about 30-40 minutes until the color deepens. Take the batter off the steam bath and add in the vanilla extract. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. Add in the flour (the batter will be sticky and that's OK). Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Flour a work surface generously to help you work with the sticky dough. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal-sized pieces (you can use a scale to make this super exact). Roll out each dough piece into a large round circle (you'll want it big enough so you can shape it into a perfect circle later). Roll the circle back onto the rolling pin and unroll it onto the lined baking sheet.
- Bake each cake layer for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. While one cake is baking, roll out another layer to speed up the process. Once the cake layer comes out of the oven, use a plate as a stencil to cut out a perfect circle. Repeat the process until all your cake layers are baked and cut out with a stencil. Save the cake trimmings for decorating.
- Allow all the cake layers to cool at room temperature in a single layer – do not stack them while they're hot!
Making the Cake Cream & Assembling the Cake
- Whip the butter with the cream cheese and dulce de leche until smooth in consistency. Add in the heavy whipping cream and whip until you get stiff peaks (note: don't over mix, or the heavy whipping cream will turn into butter).
- Frost a cake layer and stack another on top. Repeat the process until all the layers are stacked. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining cake cream.
- Shred the leftover cake pieces in a blender and use it to decorate the sides of the cake. Allow the cake to set in the fridge overnight. Before serving, allow the cake to sit at room temperature to develop the moisture. Slice and enjoy!
I made this cake two days ago for a Russian friend's birthday.
One word Amazing! There was another Russian guest and both agreed that it reminded them of home!
In SA we only get normal and caramel (cooked) condensed milk.
The cream did not want to stiffen with the cooked version, but the ordinary condensed milk worked perfectly.... and apparently gave the correct taste. (I also learnt that the recipe differs from region to region) - but I got it right!
Again thank you... this recipe goes into my tested and delicious file!
Will definitely make it again!
Cape Town, South Africa.
Picture on Instagram "Sweet Petals Cape Town"
Hi there Andries, I am so delighted to hear that the recipe was a success! Sounds like you are a pro! Thank you so much for sharing your process. Enjoy!
Hi Dana, can you tell me please the quantity of sour cream used, 8 oz or more? Thank you
I originally from Russia and made this cake back home decade ago. I made the cake again. Accurate recipe all the way except the cream. I used condensed milk, which I bought in Russian food store and cooked it for 3 hours in the can. Then I mixed with butter, just like we cooked in Russia. Thank you for this recipe, my American family was impressed.
Hi Marina, I would like to try this method. Do you only add the cooked condensed milk and butter? No cream or sour cream? And how much of each ingredient do you use? Thank you
Hi Marina, I am so glad to hear the cake turned out well! I like that you were able to adjust the recipe to your liking. Thank you for sharing, Happy thanksgiving!
I'm excited to find this recipe after discovering honey cake at a local Russian restaurant! QUESTION: Would you know how to adjust the cake batter recipe to incorporate pumpkin puree? I think this would be incredible to make for Thanksgiving!!! Thanks again!
Hi Jill, That is such a great idea!! I have not tried adding anything to this recipe, but you have absolutely peaked my interest! I would LOVE to know how this recipe turns out if you decide to try it!
My husband’s friend is bringing his girlfriend from Georgia over for thanksgiving. I wanted to make a dessert for her that will give her a taste of home. Will attempt this! Thank you!
How did it go?
It will be great Christy! She will love it! Good luck!
Thanks a lot for the recipe! It was my favorite cake when I was a child. The friend of mine used to make the honey cake and I just was watching her how she magically made it. I thought then I might never be able to make it(for several reasons, one of them we didn’t have honey:))
I have one question as one of the tip says to storage layers in a plastic bag. Should I refrigerate it or no?
Hi Olga, Yes, I recommend you store them in the fridge or if you want to store them for longer, You can even freeze them! Good luck and enjoy!
Thank you for sharing this great recipe !
I just have one question, how do you keep the dough playable until the end, as mine got very hard to roll and I struggled to warm it up and soften it with my hands ?
Place a slightly dampened cloth over remaining dough while working on another piece to prevent dough from drying out and getting hard.
Hi Hermina- a quick hack would be to microwave the dough for a few seconds to warm it up, and when working on the dough try to keep it in a warmer place. If it's really cold in your home the dough will stiffen up faster.
This is a good recipe! Just a few tips- I add a bit more flour to the batter so that it rolls out easily. I also roll between two sheets of parchment paper with generous sprinkle of flour so it doesn't stick.
The cream is traditionally made from sour cream- I whip heavy cream, add a container of sour cream and plain condensed milk and a touch of sugar. Each cake layer should have a very generous portion of cream so it becomes moist!
Hi Dana- these are great tips, thank you for sharing! You sound like an expert with this cake 😀
Witch container of sour cream please, 8 oz?
One more question, would it be okay to whip the heavy cream on its own until a peak forms then just fold it into the cream cheese, butter, and dulce de Leche afterwards to prevent that over mixing issue you mention?
Ty in advance 🙂
Hi Elizabeth- Yes, that should work! Enjoy! 😀
I did it and it worked splendidly! However, the steam bath for 40min made the batter lose a lot of water and when I added the 3 cups of flour and thoroughly mixed it it was just a bunch of cake batter crumbles, so added about 1/4 cup of milk and it turned in to the consistency we were looking for.
The amount of cream was also too litttle and had to run to the store to back 1/3 of another batch to make it sufficient enough to cover the sides with frosting.
Hope this helps anyone else that ran into this issue. Thank you for the recipe 😊 i have to wait until Saturday to cut it for my nephew and I’m 100% we will love it because we couldn’t stop eating crumbs and frosting 😂 thank you
Hi Elizabeth- thank you for the feedback, it is appreciated. So the steam bath may need to be shortened to 30 minutes in that case. I'm glad that the cake turned out otherwise and you didn't have any issues with the cream separating.
How much would you recommend bringing down the sugar if you don’t like cake to be overly sweet?
Also, all I have is the dulce de Leche which isn’t the brown caramel one like you linked. Is okay to use that one?
Hello Elizabeth- regarding the dulce de leche you have, as long as it's canned and called "dulce de leche" I think it should work just fine..as for reducing the overall sweetness, you can reduce the sugar from 1 cup to 2/3 cups. It's not a good idea to reduce the sugar by too much because I don't want the final texture of the cake layers to be affected. Enjoy!
hi there, hope you are doing good, I am doing a research on desserts especially Russian honey cakes, therefore, I am kindly requesting from you guys to provide your answers,
A general answers of my below questions?
1.why it is called honey cakes?
2.why desserts is important, in general? Especially honey cakes?
3.How does people feel when they eat honey cake?
4.who eats honey cakes?
5.when do people eat honey cakes?
6. In your opinion, where does honey cakes usually served ?
This will help me a lot to complete my assignment.
Hi Badria- thank you for reaching out. You will find many of these answers in the text above. This cake is eaten on special occasions or just because, just like any other cake 🙂
Thank yo s much, got it.
Thank you, too. Appreciate the support for my recipes and hope you are enjoying this honey cake, friend.
Hi Natasha. I’m wanting to make this recipe but I’m very pressed for time due to errands etc.
Is it possible to make the layers in steps.
Meaning can I make the dough as instructed on the stove- and then leave it to rest for a few hours (covered in cling film)
And then roll and bake the layers a few hours later?
Is this advisable?
Hi Naadhira - Thanks for the question. This should be totally fine. Just make sure it's resting at room temperature and not over any source of heat. Let me know how it turns out!
I tried this cake on my son's birthday. And it is the best cake I could ever make. I loved the flavours of caramel, dulce leche , honey. Super yummy fragrance. Super yummy taste.
I baked my layers for 5 mins that I observed is too much then decreased to 4 mins and some were baked for 3 mins. Next time I will bake all layers for 3-4 mins.
Only thing is that bothered me is that it's very sweet as mentioned in the post. Though I decreased amount of sugar and filling. And it took me quite a long long time(I am home cook and did 16 layers). But it was all worth it. Thank you so much for great recipe. I will definitely make it again
Amazing! I'm so happy that you loved the turn out. It can be a long process, but it's so worth it - especially for an occassion as special as your son's birthday! I hope he loved it too and that you guys have a great weekend.
Hello, I just made it for Easter and it’s delicious. I’m from Europe so I’m familiar with this cake and it’s always been my favorite one. Turned out exactly how it should taste. I just didn’t use 3 cups of flour but only 2 and a little bit. The dough started to get too hard. But it was easy to work with it. It wasn’t sticky. Otherwise I followed the steps.
Hi Jana - So happy to hear that this cake was part of your holiday celebration! This is super helpful feedback. The kind of flour you use can make a big difference. Thanks so much for the kind words.
Hi! I’ve tried to make this cake twice but every time I roll out the dough it sticks to everything and it dries out and cracks and I can’t use the dough 🙁 I’ve followed the recipe exact, what am I doing wrong?
Hey Emma- are you flouring your work surface and rolling pin enough before rolling out the dough? Don't be afraid to use a bit more flour when rolling it out if it seems too sticky! I hope this helps. I'm sorry it keeps cracking, I know how frustrating that can be when you are following all the steps.
Is cooked condensed milk pretty much dulce de leche ?
Hi Mirza- correct! I have a recipe on how to make it at home if you'd like: https://momsdish.com/easy-ins…
Hi you do not mention what the oven temperature should be to bake the honey cake layers.
Hi there- the cake layers should be baked at 350°, it's mentioned in step 3. Enjoy!
Hi Natalya! Do you have a picture of what it should look like when it’s done cooking?
Hi Natasha - You can find pictures of each finished step within the recipe post itself. That should be really helpful for you to "see" how each component should turn out! Thanks for the note and Happy New Year!
I made this cake a couple of days ago. The cake layers were thin and crispy, so I really didn't think it was going to be good. I put the cake together and put it in the fridge overnight anyway. I was upset because I followed the directions to a tea. Something magical must have happened that night, because everyone raved about how good it was. I was shocked at what it had become! It was delicious! Super grateful for this recipe!
Hi, I am so glad you loved the end results. The cake takes some time to set and allowing it to set it in the fridge for at least 12 hours not only helps with the cake’s overall stability, it will also make it much more moist. This cake needs some sitting time. Thank you for taking the time to comment your feedback!
One extra tip alow cake to come back to room temperature before serving and see the magic. It will melt in your mouth
Love this, Sidrah!
This is seriously the BEST honey cake ever. I have always been a honey cake lover but this one is THE ONE to make. I won't ever use another recipe. Love it and thank you for sharing this recipe with us.
Awwww, that's amazing Olesya! So nice to hear that. This recipe has been in my family for years, so I'm really glad we can pass it on to you to create some sweet memories with. Thank you!
My granddaughter wants this Cake for her birthday. Do I have to use plain flour or can I substitute with self rising flour? Can I put a can of condensed milk in the oven and cook it myself to have the cooked condensed milk and if so how long do I cook it? Also I need to know how to convert my grams of butter into tablespoons or cups. I am an experienced baker and I am looking forward to the challenge of making this cake but these are just a few things I need answers to I would appreciate your feedback
Cooked condensed milk is simply “dulce de leche.” You can find it in most U.S. grocery stores by the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and it is canned as well.
It would probably be helpful to add a recipe note as I had never heard it called “cooked condensed milk” milk either and had to do some research.
Hey Judith, I would follow the recipe closely for success. In this recipe, you need all-purpose flour. I have never used a method of baking condensed milk, sorry can't give you much help there. As far as conversions go, you can use google to convert the measurements. Hope this helps. Enjoy the cake and Happy Birthday to your granddaughter.
Hi I have tried to make the cream following the recipe but the kitchen aid mixer just curdles the cream
I put in the butter, cream cheese and can of condensed milk mixed it up then added in the whipping cream and them it started to curdle
What am I doing wrong??
Hey Zaiga, that happens when you overmix the cream. When you add heavy whipping cream, keep an eye on the cream and turn it off as soon as you see stiff peaks. Sorry, you didn't have the best experience the first time.
I have baked this recipe twice and both times it was amazing. If I were to double the recipe, do I need to cook it on the double boiler for longer?
Hey Irene, this is so good to hear. You may need to cook slightly longer, just pay attention to the color and remove it when the color changes. Enjoy
Hi Natasha ,
I'm trying to make the cake . Everything was good but the cream was not . I added half tsp of lemon juice and the cream curdled a little bit . Is there any chance to save it ? 😔
Hey Amel, unfortunately, lemon will make this cream curl up. You may need to start over. Sorry cant help.
How many days in advance are the layers able to be made without creaming? Thank you for the recipe, I made it before and it's delicious!
Hi Nancy, you can store it in an airtight container for up to a week and you can freeze it for a few months.
Hi, currently making the honey cake now. But realised that the recipe says cooked condensed milk. Can we just use condensed milk instead? If yes, do I need to adjust the quantity?
Looking forward to eating the cake?
Hey Anna, I would do 1/2 of condensed milk. The flavor of the cream would be different. Hope you still love it.
If I want the cake to be bigger can I double the recipe? Or make it a rectangle shape instead?
Hey Laura, yes for sure, you can make it any shape, and welcome to double up the recipe. Enjoy
How wide are the layers supposed to be after you cut extra off?
We usually go with 9 inches wide and get 12 layers. Enjoy
Is there an alternative for honey
You can use corn syrup it just won't taste exactly the same, just as good though.
Ahhh interesting! But true, it definitely won't taste the same or have that creamy milkiness.
This is a honey cake, I am afraid not. We have other cakes on the blog that you can try.