Last week I boiled a can of condensed milk for a few hours and it helped me make this wonderful looking thing. Medovnik, or honey cake, is a traditional Czech cake, with variations across other European countries.Around the time that I was starting this project, I came across a recipe for Russian Honey Cake on Smitten Kitchen and I thought ‘man, I’ve got to make that, but maybe after all this Europe stuff is done’. As it turns out, Czech medovnik is a similar sort of cake to the Russian version, except for the most important and delicious part, which is that it is sandwiched and covered with caramel instead of sour cream.
The Czech Republic is known for its beer, and has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. It also has a lot of castles (2000), including the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The further I get into this project the more I want to go to all these countries I’m baking from. There are a lot I haven’t visited, but the Czech Republic is probably up there on my ‘to go’ list. Who doesn’t love castles and beer?!
Back to the cake though. If you want to make this one, make sure you’ve got some spare time on your hands (this seems to be the requirement for making any cake that has more than two layers). The ‘cake’ is essentially giant cookies, and one day I will make it again but just as cookies. I’ve never seen a more delicious looking unbaked dough than this one. I used pistachios between the layers and to sprinkle on top, but it should be walnuts, I just thought the pistachios looked nicer with their green colour (and I forgot to buy walnuts).
Finally, in Brexit news, each UK household is already £900 worse off because of Brexit, and my favourite climate denier and Brexit lover, Nigel Lawson has applied for French residency. It’s all going swimmingly.
This post is part of a series called ‘Brexit Baking’, where I bake my way around all 28 EU Member States. You can read more about it here.
Medovnik (recipe from here)
180g icing sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
6 tbsp honey
4 tbsp cream
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 can caramel
70g chopped walnuts (I used pistachios, which add a nice bit of colour, but walnuts are the real deal)
1 ½ tbsp sugar
- Boil a can of condensed milk for 2-3 hours. Place the can in a saucepan and cover completely with water, then bring to the boil and leave on a low simmer. After 2-3 hours, remove the can from the saucepan and leave to cool completely before opening the can to use.
- In a double boiler mix the butter, sugar, egg, honey and cream for about 5 minutes. I melted the butter first, and then added the other ingredients, but you can just put it all in together.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and let it sit for about 10 mins. It should become a nice cookie dough consistency and you should be able to roll it out onto parchment paper without it sticking. If it’s too sticky then let sit another 5-10 minutes or use a little bit of flour to keep from sticking.
- On baking paper draw an 8 inch circle and roll out approximately 140g of dough into a circle onto the paper to bake. Roll out 8 same sized circles and bake each one for 6 to 7 minutes at 180C.
- The amount of dough will not be exact for the cookies, bake the extra amount and later grind it up with the nuts to coat the outside of the cake.
- Once they are baked set aside and cool on wire rack. These can be baked ahead of time and kept in fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to a month.
- Blend the can of condensed milk (now caramel) with the butter until creamy.
- Mix the rum, sugar and water in a bowl and reserve.
- Lay the first cookie on a plate, and brush the rum water on the top of the cookie then cover with caramel and sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Brush both sides of the second and subsequent cookies with the rum water and cover with the caramel butter and nuts until all the cookies have been layered.
- Cover the whole cake with the caramel cream and then with the cookie crumbs and nuts. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight to set and allow the cream to soak into the cookies to ensure that it isn’t crunchy. Once the cream soaks into the cake and it has had a chance to sit, it will remain moist and perfect for over a week in the fridge.