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Russian Honey Cakes

Thin layers of delectable honey cakes made moist by honey, sour cream frosting.  Each 4-5 inch stack can serve 1-3 people.  I was able to make 4 cake-stacks total.  Make it at least 6 hours ahead so the cakes can soak up the frosting.  Overnight in the fridge is even better.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

The Cakes

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose white flour or cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried lavender flower

The Frosting

  • 1 14 ounce container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Elderflower liquor (such as St. Germaine)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • dried lavender flower for garnish

Instructions

To make the Mini-Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with plenty of parchment paper.

  2. In a large pot, mix the honey, sugar, vanilla, and butter, and cook on a medium heat until all the ingredients are melted, bubbling, and fragrant.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.

  3. Add the baking soda and continue stirring, and turn off the heat.  The mixture will get bubbly from the baking soda.  Do not be alarmed when the mixture emits a curious smell. 

  4. Add salt and flour, a little bit at a time, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until all of the flour is incorporated into the honey/sugar/butter/baking soda mixture.  The dough-batter at this point will have the consistency of something between caramel candy and pie dough. 

  5. Lay out a layer of parchment paper on the counter, lightly dust it with white flour, and pour/spoon the dough-batter into the center of the parchment paper.  Lightly dust the top of the dough-batter with flour and cover the top of it with another sheet of parchment paper.

  6. Starting in the center and working your way outward with a good rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough circle until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  You may wish to insert more parchment paper under and over the edges if it begins to spill out the sides. 

  7. Gently peel off the top layer of parchment paper.  Now, you will cut the individual cakes.  Dip a small bowl, glass, or biscuit cutter into some of the surplus flour that has probably spilled onto your counter.  Use this lightly floured cutter to cut individual cakes out of the dough-batter.   Use a metal spatula to gently pick up each circle cut-out and place it on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  You should be able to fit about 4-5 4-inch dough circles onto a standard cookie sheet.

  8. Bake the cut-outs for 6-7 min.  (they should be lightly golden and firmish when you take them out of the oven) and place them upon cooling racks.  Then, cycle through cooking the next 2-3 batches of dough-batter cut-outs in the same way.  You can re-use the parchment paper for all cycles.  I was able to get about 14 little 4-inch cakes (pre-cooked) out of this batch.  SAVE the SCRAPS of the dough-batter.

  9. As each batch is cooking, let the finished cakes cool for a couple of minutes.  Then, using the same cutter, press down in the center of the individual cakes to make them uniform circles.  SAVE THE SCRAPS.

  10. After the last batch of circle cut-outs is finished baking, cook the unbaked scraps in the same way.  You'll use these to make cookie crumbs to spread over  the sour-cream frosting.

  11. Place all of the cooked scraps in a food processor on high and make crumbs.  Any left-over crumbs that you have can be stored in the fridge or freezer for the next time you want to make a cookie/graham cracker crust.

Make the frosting

  1. Once the little cakes are made and shaped, it's time to make the frosting.

  2. Mix all of the frosting ingredients with a Kitchen Aid or mixer.  The frosting will be slightly more pour-able than standard frosting.  You want it to be a bit more liquid than standard frostings so that the cakes, which are thin and have the consistency of cakey cookies, soak up some of the frosting and become more moist.

Assemble the cakes

  1. Place a large piece of parchment paper (or, re-use from the rolling) onto your cooled baking sheet.  Place 4 healthy dolops of the sour cream frosting onto the parchment, with a good 6 inches between them.  Place one cake onto each dolop.   Gently press each cake into the dolop of frosting.

  2. Spoon healthy dolops of frosting into the center of each cake.  Don't be stingy.  Then place on another cake on top of the frosting, press the cake slightly, and continue to layer until all cakes have been used.  Each stack will have 3-4 cakes.  If the cakes have baked slightly unevenly, you can place the thick part of one cake on top of the thin part of the cake below it, and in this way keep the stacks fairly even in size all the way round them.

  3. Spoon a generous dolop of frosting onto the top of each stack and allow the frosting to pour over the sides of the cake.  Place the whole baking tray in the fridge for at least 6 hours to allow the cakes to soak up the moisture from the frosting.    Save (refrigerate) the remainder of the frosting--you'll need it for the next step.

  4. Just before you are ready to serve, take the cookie sheet out of the fridge.  Touch up the sides and tops of the stacks with the remaining frosting.  Sprinkle cookie crumbs all around the frosting of the cake-stacks. 

  5. For garnish, drizzle with honey, lavender flowers, and a strawberry or two. 

  6. Using a clean metal spatula, gently and carefully lift each stack onto your serving platter. Each stack can be cut into thirds, halves, or served whole. If you wish to cut the stacks, it's best to use a sharp knife that has been wet with hot water.