Easy Russian Honey Cake Recipe

When it comes to dessert, there's nothing better than a cake. Cake comes in all shapes and sizes, and this recipe for an easy Russian Honey cake is just what its title suggests — easy and sweet. According to Russia Beyond, the honey cake dates all the way back to the 19th century. The chef for Emperor Alexander and his wife, Empress Elizabeth, made a cake for the pair without realizing that the Empress didn't like honey ... major oops. But as it turns out, the cake was a hit and the Empress absolutely loved what she tasted, proving that sometimes mistakes are good. Nowadays, there are plenty of variations made by people across the globe, and we can all thank the Emperor and Empress's chef for this wonderful cake.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating is the brains behind this wonderful recipe, perfect for any occasion. "This rich and decadent cake is full of flavor," Brookes raves. "I love how switching to the rectangular shape means way less baking time, yet it still looks really impressive with those six golden layers!" 

Keep reading to find out how to make this yummy cake.

Gather the ingredients for this cake

Once you are ready to start this recipe, make a list of ingredients that you will need to put it together. For the cake, you will need some honey and sugar to start. Then, grab a little bit of baking soda and butter. Next, add a few large eggs and all-purpose flour to your cart.

The second set of ingredients are for the frosting. For starters, you will need some sour cream or crème fraîche. You will also need a little more honey and powdered sugar. Last but not least, purchase vanilla extract and heavy cream. That's all you will need.

Preheat the oven, and start mixing the honey and sugar

Now it's time to get to work. Start by preheating the oven to 350 F. That way, it has time to get nice and hot before the cake goes in. In the meantime, grab two 12x9-inch baking sheets and grease them. As another layer of protection, add a layer of parchment paper to both sheets.

Then, take out a large saucepan and place it on your stove. Turn the heat to low and toss in the honey and sugar. Once the sugar dissolves and starts bubbling, add the baking soda. Be sure to whisk the mixture continuously until it turns a caramel color. This should take 30 to 50 seconds.

Add the butter and eggs to the saucepan

Once the mixture turns a nice caramel color, it's time to add the butter to the mix. Hopefully, you kept your whisk out because you will need it again for this step. Continue whisking the mixture until the butter melts. Then, remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside. Let it cool for about five minutes or so.

Once the mixture has cooled down a bit, pour in the eggs little by little. Remember that you should have beaten these ahead of time. As you add in the eggs, continue whisking until everything is well-combined.

Add the flour to the mixture, and bake the cake

There's still one more thing to add to the mix, so let's keep going. Grab the flour and gradually sift it in, using a wooden spoon to stir and combine everything. Then, circle back to the two baking sheets you lined ahead of time. You'll want to distribute the mixture between the two as evenly as possible. They don't need to be perfect, but try to keep it close so that both trays bake evenly.

Then, pop the sheets into the oven and bake for eight minutes. You can test that the cake is done by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool, then cut it

Once you take the cake out of the oven, set the two baking sheets in a safe place to cool for about 15 minutes. Using a knife, trim the sides of each rectangle to make neat and straight edges. You'll want to remove about 1 centimeter from each side of the cake.

Then, blitz the cake trimmings in a food processor until they break down into crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, you can also use your hands. Set the crumbs aside for later. Lastly, cut each cake sheet into three to make six even rectangles. Brookes recommends using a large sharp knife for best results. She adds, "Then you might want to use a spatula or cake slice to lift each piece onto a plate." 

Make the cake frosting

We're done with the cake for now so it's time to move on to the frosting. Take out a large mixing bowl and add the sour cream or crème fraîche and honey. Then, throw in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Mix everything to combine. 

In a separate bowl, add the cream cheese and beat it with an electric hand whisk. Continue beating until it's slightly thickened but not fully whipped. It will take two to three minutes. Next, combine the two mixes. Gradually pour the cream cheese into the other bowl and beat with an electric whisk as you go. Whisk until the frosting holds its shape.

Assemble the cake

Here comes the fun part — assembling the cake. For this step, you will need both the cake and the frosting. Take the first cake rectangle and spoon an even layer of frosting across the surface. Then, add another rectangle on top of the frosting. Repeat this process until all six layers are stacked on top of one another, with frosting in between each. Then, smooth more frosting over the top and sides of the cake. There's no such thing as too much frosting! 

Now, get out the crumbs that you set aside earlier and sprinkle or press them all over the cake.

Enjoy this delicious Russian honey cake

Voilà, you are all finished. That was pretty easy, right? Now there's only one thing left to do — serve the cake. This cake is great on its own, but there are plenty of extras that you can add. "You could serve [it] with ice cream or fresh fruit," Brookes suggests. We also think that it would be great with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. 

Make sure that you don't toss the leftovers as they will be good for a few days. Brookes notes that it is "best kept covered in the fridge as the frosting has cream in it. [It] should last for up to three days."

Easy Russian Honey Cake Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
If you're looking for a simple cake idea that is sure to impress, try this easy Russian honey cake recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cake on a plate
Total time: 53 minutes
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon honey, divided
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • ⅔ cup butter (cut into chunks)
  • 5 large eggs (beaten)
  • 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sour cream or crème fraîche (cold)
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream (cold)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and line two 12x9-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the honey and sugar to a large saucepan and heat on a low setting, stirring frequently.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved and begins to bubble, add the baking soda.
  4. Whisk continuously until the mixture becomes a caramel color (about 20 to 30 seconds).
  5. Add the butter and whisk until melted, then remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in the beaten egg little by little, whisking constantly until combined.
  7. Gradually sift in the flour, folding with a wooden spoon after each addition.
  8. Evenly distribute the mixture between your two lined baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  9. Leave the two sheets of cake to cool for about 15 minutes, then trim the sides of each rectangle with a knife to create neat, straight edges. You'll want to remove about 1 centimeter from each side.
  10. Blitz the cake trimmings in a food processor until they are broken down into crumbs (or use your hands to crumble) and set them aside for later.
  11. Cut each cake sheet into three to create six even rectangles.
  12. For the frosting, beat the sour cream/crème fraîche, honey, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined.
  13. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric hand whisk until slightly thickened but not fully whipped (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  14. Gradually pour the cream into the bowl with the other ingredients, beating with the electric whisk as you go. Whisk until the frosting holds its shape.
  15. Next, to assemble the cake take the first cake rectangle and spoon an even layer of the frosting across the surface.
  16. Add another rectangle on top and repeat until all six layers are stacked on top of each other with frosting in between.
  17. Smooth more frosting over the top and sides of the cake so that it's completely covered.
  18. Take your cake crumbs from earlier and sprinkle or press them all over the cake.
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