Eastern European Honey Cake

Popular all over the former Soviet Union states, honey cake is traditionally layers of cake and sweetened sour cream filling. The cake layers are more cookie-like and after the cake is assembled, it must sit for at least 12 hours to let the cake layers absorb the syrup and soften to a cake-like consistency. This version is a spin on the traditional, using whipped cream and fresh ginger.  


  • Cake  
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter 
  • 1/3 cup honey 
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar 
  • ¼ cup sugar 
  • 1 egg  
  • 2 Tbsp heavy or whipping cream 
  • 3 ¼ cups All Purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • Ginger Syrup 
  • ½ cup sugar  
  • ½ cup water  
  • 2 oz ginger, peeled, cut in 1-inch chunks 
  • Lemon Cream Filling 
  • 1 large lemon  
  • 1/8 cup heavy or whipping cream 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 


Cake Layers 

Melt butter and honey in a large bowl over a simmering pot of water, stirring continuously until the butter melts. Take off heat and stir in sugars to cool down.  

In a separate bowl, whisk egg and cream and add to cooled butter-honey mixture. 

Sift flour and baking powder into liquid mixture and using your hands knead just enough to bring it together to a cohesive dough, cut it and roll into 9 even balls and wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

Roll each piece of dough into a thin layer. Take a round 6” plate and cut each into a disk. Bake each disk for about 8-10 minutes on sheet pans lined with parchment. You may need to do it in 2-4 batches depending on how much oven space you have. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake. Bake any rolled dough offcuts along with your disks. 

Ginger Syrup 

While your dough is chilling, heat syrup ingredients until they come to a simmer and let sit. When ready to use, remove ginger. Let cool.  

Lemon Cream 

Zest and juice the lemon. Beat cream, adding powdered sugar, until medium peaks, then whisk in lemon zest and juice, continuing to whip until peaks are stiff.  


Pulverize 2 of the disks and the baked scraps with a food processor into crumbs.  

Brush disks heavily with syrup. Let it absorb, then brush again to absorb. Place one disk on a plate. Spread 3 Tbsp of the cream on top – about 1/4”. Place the next disk on top and press down slightly, continuing with all seven disks. Drizzle the top with tea, then spread the cream. Repeat until you used seven biscuit discs. Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top and all around the sides of the cake. 

Pat the cake crumbs all over the top and the sides of the cake so they stick. Most important! Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before cutting into the cake so the layers have time to soften.