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Medovnik Cake

January 11, 2010

 

Medovnik Cake

 

You have not lived until you have tasted Medovnik cake.  The most popular cake in Prague, it is well known in countres like Russia, the Ukraine and Croatia, but is virtually unknown in North America. It’s not dry, but it’s not really moist either. Some have said it’s like eating golden sunshine.

Medovnik is a 10 layer honey cake flavored with cinnamon that has a sweet, unique taste to it, quite unlike anything you will have eaten before. It is not that hard to make, and is a fantastic, unique dessert to make for a special occasion that will have your guests raving about it for days.

The cake recipe below is from Pauline’s handwritten recipe in the cookbook, and the cream filling is from a cookbook that was in her collection from 1914 in Dolny Kubin, Slovakia.  I have also seen the cake called Honey Cake, and Marzipan Cake.  I have modified the recipe slightly for use in today’s kitchen, but I do love the poetry of the original, and have included some of it in the recipe below.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease cake pans (you will need to make 5 layers)

Cake ingredients:

  • 2 cups hot honey
  • 4 cups four
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Stiff meringue from 6 egg whites
  • 2 women’s handfuls of raisins
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • A little bit of cloves
  • 2 tbsp baking soda (seems like a lot)

Steps:

  1. Mix the hot honey together with the flour
  2. When cool, add in the lard, egg yolks, cloves, baking soda and cinnamon
  3. Fold in the beaten egg whites
  4. Pour into a pan the depth of 1 thick finger to the first knuckle (do this 5 times)
  5. Bake each layer for a few minutes (around 3-5 min) – be careful not to over bake (you will find the cake somewhat dry)

In Pauline’s cookbook, the baking instructions are much more poetic: Next to very gently flickering coals, bake for 1 hour.

Once the layers have been baked, follow these steps:

  1. Starting with a cake layer, spread on some of the cream filling liberally
  2. Add another cake, then more cream filling
  3. Repeat these steps until you have spread cream on the 4th layer  of cake
  4. For the fifth cake layer, crumble it in a food processor
  5. Spread the crumbs on top of the cream filling
  6. You can drizzle chocolate (melt chocolate with some butter, a little water together), honey or toasted and chopped walnuts on top
  7. Let the cake sit, covered in the fridge, for at least 6-8 hours so that the cream seeps into the cake,

This cake doesn’t keep very well beyond a day, so make sure it is eaten up!

Cream Filling:

  • 6 tbsp of superfine flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1  & 1/4 cups butter
  • 2 packets vanilla sugar  (1/4 cup)

Cream Steps:

  1. Mix flour with a little bit of milk
  2. Boil the rest of the milk
  3. Add flour mixture to hot milk, then cook until creamy consistency
  4. To hot cream add sugar and vanilla sugar
  5. Whip butter to a “frenzy”
  6. Add cream mixture to the frothy butter, blend

This cake doesn’t keep very well beyond a day, so make sure it is eaten up!

I’ve also seen more recent recipes calling for condensed milk, but this recipe is the original way to make it.

There is one company that makes Medovnik cake for many of the bakeries and supermarkets in Prague, called Medovnik Cake Factory. They make over 20,000 cakes a MONTH! There is a closely related cake called Marlenka, but the filling and topping are different, and it is cut into squares.

You can hear about the Medovnik honey cake craze on Radio Prague, here. One of my favorite foodie bloggers, Monika, who is based in Croatia has written the Croatian version of the recipe, called Honey Pie, and here it is translated to English.  I hope you enjoy this fantastic cake as much as my family does.

 

Pauline's Medovni recipe

Original Medovnik Recipe

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. clatterbach permalink
    January 11, 2010 5:59 pm

    I haven’t looked at this yet, but it looks perfect! I lived in Prague for 2 years, go back regularly and would love to live there again some time. I speak Czech very well and love the idea of this website.

    I have ADHD etc etc (won’t bore you with the details) but for various reasons concerning nutrition, I did not indulge in Medovnik after my first couple of months in Prague, and even then perhaps only once or twice, but I can confirm it is a unique, incredibly tasty cake, and you have, I must say, recreated it wonderfully in a way that takes me back as only food can.

    I would love to cook this (I cook a lot and bake for others, though I should not eat it myself). If you could perhaps also post the original, even if as a photo of the untranslated original, I would be very interested to see it, and to know what changes you have made.

    Altogether though, wow 🙂 I’m going to look over your website and hopefully will point it out to a couple of friends who might be interested.

    Keep it up 🙂

    • January 11, 2010 6:09 pm

      Try scrolling to the end of the Medovnik recipe – the original should be there, yellowed. Let me know if Igot it right!

  2. Lily permalink
    January 11, 2010 6:11 pm

    Recently I was watching a cooking show, can’t remember which one, but they talked about the honey cake from Prague. It certainly becomes a small world. I don’t recall “ma” making this one, do you?
    I sure remember the donuts; we’d come home from school and she would be making them. No sooner were they out of the fry pan, not even cool, and we were devouring them! Can’t believe we don’t all weigh 500 pounds.
    I’m waiting for Aunt Diane to bake all these treats from our past, and I will gladly be the taste tester. May have to taste more than one piece/slice to see if they are as good as ma’s!
    lily

    • January 11, 2010 6:41 pm

      I made the honey cake with Grandma a couple of times. I remember making the cream filling on the stove, and watching it bubble and thicken. And I made the layer cakes with her, filling them eah with the cream.

      I remember most those wafer cookies with filling that she used to store at the bottom of her bed, in tins. What were they called?

  3. Mary Ellen Pilmer permalink
    January 11, 2010 7:22 pm

    I am a friend of your Aunt Lily’s Tonya and have heard glowing reports about you over the years – obviously well deserved! What a wonderful remembrance you are compiling of your Grandma’s baking along with the stories and cultural history of your family. Have enjoyed what you have done so far and looking forward to future postings.

    • January 12, 2010 4:33 pm

      Thank you – I really hope you enjoy this story as it unfolds. I am having a great time researching and writing it. Make sure you subscribe!

  4. January 12, 2010 2:56 am

    Dear Tonya, I’m so glad your project is finally underway. You’re doing a great job with the blog. I know how much time and effort it must take up translating the recipes and collecting the stories about your grandparents and I sincerely hope it will, some day, grow into a cookbook. Since Croatia cuisine is very similar to Slovakian, I am looking forward to your upcoming recipes and hoping to rediscovering some long forgotten recipes of my childhood. Take care and keep up the good work.

    Love,
    Monika

    p.s. I have finally translated my Honey Cake recipe and you can now see it on my blog as well.

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