CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan Recipe

Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Recipe

CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan Recipe

Delicious and culturally significant Medovik Tort, a honey cake all the way from Russia, is a perfect way to add a little bit of culture to your holiday party or any special occasion.

The story of this Russian honey cake starts in the 19th century when Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia between 1801-1825. With his wife Elizabeth, they lived in the Imperial Palace, where every servant knew how Empress didn’t like the taste of popular Russian sweetener – honey. However, when a new young patisserie came to work here, for some reason he wasn’t warned on this fact and the first cake he served was a layered cake with a touch of honey in the biscuits. Not only did the Empress surprisingly enjoyed the honey cake, but she generously bestowed this young man for such a culinary pleasure. The recipe then quickly spread among the people and became one of the most favorite desserts in Russia – Medovik Tort.

Our friend Maria Dokshina shares the story behind this delicious Russian honey cake and a recipe that is sure to be a big hit especially around the holidays.CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan RecipeFrom Maria,

Interestingly, Russian Emperor Alexander I’s greatest achievement was his victory over Napoleon Bonaparte, who had attacked Russia in 1812, and nowadays the Russians’ two most popular cakes are Medovik tort and Napoleon cake. The history of the second one is directly linked with the victory against the French army, but this is a whole other story. I personally find it fascinating that today’s Russians’ favorite desserts come from almost the exact same time in history.

The history of honey in the Rus’ (the old name of Russia) goes far beyond the history of sugar.  Honey was employed in many traditional preparations such as mead (this name comes from the word “honey” in Russian language – “mead”) or kvass (both are beverages), as a sweetener in baking cakes and gingerbreads, and even as medicine. Modern manufacturers try to fake the honey with sugar syrups and other additives to make it cheaper, but many Russians know how to distinguish the real bee-made honey. Did you know that your overall body temperature will rise a bit from high-quality natural honey? Along with a great nutrient profile that is the primary reason why many people here use honey as the first cold and flu remedy.

When visiting Russia, you will find Medovik on the menu of any cafe and restaurant. Every babushka (grandmother) has her own preferred recipe for this honey cake to treat her grandchildren on occasion, as this cake is a perfect representation of the sweet fluffy caramel-y feeling that they want to express to their little loved ones.CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan RecipeMy own mother used to bake this cake for a whole family on New Year’s Eve along with many delicious handmade pies as a Russian Holiday tradition.

Medovik Tort – Russian Honey Cake Recipe (Vegan version)

The actual process to make this Russian honey cake does requires a lot of patience and many steps before you can finally try the result. But let me assure you, it is well worth it.

It all starts with preparing boiled condensed milk, which was fairly popular in the Soviet Union times and still can be found in most of the food stores around the country. The process is both fascinating and terrifying – you need to put a few cans of white condensed milk in a pot, cover with water and cook for 2-4 hours depending on how light or dark-caramel you want your final product to be. The life-saving trick is to always keep an eye on the cans and add water when the cans start to touch the air – if the water will eventually completely evaporate, the cans filled with a hot sticky sauce can explode under the heat. There are many stories of this happening in the kitchens around the country that our grannies love to tell giggling, but I personally find these stories absolutely frightening.

As I found out, this boiled condensed milk is also known around the world as dulce de leche –  a confection from Latin America. So, finding this product premade in your Russian or Latin American store will make this recipe a bit less time-consuming. Still, it requires a few days in advance of a New Year’s party, so plan ahead.

The recipe below is egg and dairy-free, but that is not to say that the original recipe doesn’t contain some. That is my attempt to make our traditional cake recipe available to anyone – eating dairy or not. In the ingredient section, the original ingredients that I substituted are also provided.

Ingredients for the honey biscuits

  • 40g of flaxseeds + 200ml of water (or 4 eggs)
  • 110ml of applesauce
  • 375g of dark brown sugar
  • 80g wildflower or buckwheat honey
  • 2,5 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 700g of wheat flour + about 50g for rolling

Ingredients for the cream filling

  • 700 gr of soy/oat cream cheese (or cow’s cream cheese)
  • 200g of vegan butter (or cow’s butter)
  • 300g of boiled condensed soy milk (or the original one)

Ingredients for the soak mixture

  • 50 ml of cognac
  • 300 ml of almond milk (or cow’s milk)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of honey


  1. In a high-speed blender combine flaxseeds with water and blend for 20-30 sec until the thick egg-like paste is achieved.
  2. Put flax-egg in a pot along with applesauce, brown sugar, honey, baking soda and powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, let the mixture bubble and remove from the heat.
  3. Using a whisk, stir and add the flour at the same time to avoid any flour clumps. When it is too hard to mix with a whisk, grab a wooden spoon and continue until no flour is left and a shiny brown ball of dough is created.
  4. Transfer in on a table and cover with a towel.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the baking tray with a parchment paper.
  6. Place a tennis-ball sized piece of dough on a parchment paper and roll it out about 3-5 mm thick with a wooden roller using some extra wheat flour as needed. Bake for about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Place on a plate and cover it with a towel. Bake the rest of the biscuits and stick them over each other under the towel. When done, using the sharp knife trim the edges to create perfectly round biscuits.
  8. Keep the crumbs as they will be used for decoration. Pulse the trims in a food processor until crumbs achieved.
  9. Place the biscuits each on a separate plate and with a pastry brush apply the soak mixture all over them, then flip and do the same on the other side. This will add an extra rich taste to them and prevent the biscuits to soak all the cream.
  10. In a big bowl with a hand mixer (using the whisk attachment) whisk cream cheese and butter (both soft and room-temperature) until soft peaks. Add room-temperature boiled condensed milk and whisk again.
  11. Build the cake. Start with a soaked biscuit, add a generous portion of cream on top (about 2-3 Tbsp), spread evenly and cover with the next biscuit. Continue until no more biscuits are left. With the left cream cover the outside of the cake. Then cover the cake with biscuit crumbs.
  12. Place in the fridge for 1-2 days for a softer creamier result.

This cake always reminds me of a perfect Russian winter scene. It is best enjoyed with a cup of black tea in a cozy countryside house warmed by burning birch logs in a house-furnace, surrounded by spruce trees and neighbor houses on a beautiful winter evening with all your loved ones just a few hours prior the new year will begin.

CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan Recipe CulturallyOurs Medovik Tort Russian Honey Cake Vegan RecipeThank you so much Maria. What a fascinating story about this cake. The cultural and historical significance makes it so much more special and we can almost smell the crisp winter air surrounded by spruce trees as we sit down virtually to enjoy this Russian Honey Cake with a cup of tea.

{Words and images by Maria Dokshina; Website: Planty_; Instagram: @planty_ }

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