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Ukrainian Honey Cake (Medovik)

Ukrainian Honey Cake (Medovik) is not your average cake! This cake is comprised of 16 thin layers of honey-infused dough that transforms into a softened cake as it sets. In between each layer is a vanilla-studded sour cream frosting with the perfect amount of sweetness to contrast its inherent tartness. While this recipe is a bit time consuming, this delicious Ukrainian specialty is much easier than it looks!

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Ukrainian Honey Cake topped with blueberries

The Honey

For this recipe, I use buckwheat honey for its deep, concentrated flavor. The honey is caramelized on the stovetop and pairs perfectly with the dark brown sugar to make golden-brown cake layers.

The Honey Cake

This dough-based honey cake is made by dividing the prepared dough into equal parts and rolling them into thin discs that harden once baked. The key is to place the chilled dough in between two sheets of parchment, then roll it as thin as possible. While rolling out the dough is time consuming, the ultimate consistency of these ultra-thin layers (and picture-perfect result) is well worth it!

The Vanilla Sour Cream Frosting

With 5 simple ingredients and a 10-minute prep time, this sour cream frosting couldn’t be easier to make! This frosting purposely lacks traditional thickness and stability in order to seep through and soften the solid cake layers once stacked.

Making the cake crumble and assembling the Ukrainian Honey Cake

After cutting the cake dough into round discs, reserve the leftover scraps in order to create a decorative cake crumble! If you don’t own a food processor, crush the baked scraps of dough in a sealed plastic bag, then pass the crumbs through a fine mesh strainer to remove any large pieces.

To assemble the Ukranian Honey Cake, each cake layer is frosted individually before being stacked. This prevents the cake from becoming lopsided or tilting. The sour cream frosting will begin to “set” and stick to the cake layers after about 20 minutes and will be fully set and softened after 24 hours.

Equipment needed for Ukrainian Honey Cake

  • Required equipment
    • A baking scale is necessary for this recipe for two reasons. Firstly, not all of the ingredient quantities are standard measurements. Secondly, the cake dough must be divided into equal parts to ensure the layers can be rolled into equal parts.
    • A rolling pin, preferably Joseph Joseph’s Adjustable Rolling Pin since it allows the precise measuring of dough thickness. The ideal thickness for rolling out this cake dough is 2mm which is about 1/16th of an inch or the height of 3 quarters stacked on top of each other.
    • Parchment paper is crucial when rolling out the dough for this cake! Each layer must be rolled in between two layers of parchment paper to avoid sticking/adding unnecessary flour.
  • Optional equipment
    • A candy thermometer is recommended to achieve the perfect caramelization of the honey without burning it! If you don’t own a candy thermometer, heat the honey on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • A food processor if you choose to cover the cake in the honey cake crumble.
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Ukrainian Honey Cake

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  • Author: Amy @ The Pastry Blog
  • Total Time: 4 hours (active), 25 hours (inactive)
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


The quantities of this recipe will make a 16-layer cake that measures 6-inches in diameter. The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is rolling out and baking the cake layers. For a 16 -layer cake, this step takes approximately 2.5-3 hours. To make this cake in a lot less time, cut the recipe in half to make an 8-layer cake.

For a 16-layer cake, the amount of time each step takes is as follows:

  • Making the dough: 30 minutes
  • Chilling the dough: 1 hour
  • Rolling out and baking the dough: 2.5-3 hours
  • Making the sour cream frosting: 10 minutes
  • Assembling the cake: 30 minutes
  • Chilling the cake prior to serving: 24 hours

For a 16-layer cake: Total active time: 4 hours / Total inactive time: 25 hours

For an 8-layer cake (reduce the ingredient quantities by half): Total active time: 2.5 hours / Total inactive time: 25 hours


Units Scale

For the honey cake:

  • 663 g unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 10 tbsp honey (210 g), preferably buckwheat honey
  • 10 tbsp (g) unsalted butter
  • 5 tsp water (25 ml)
  • 2 jumbo or 3 large eggs (125 g)
  • 175 g dark brown sugar

For the sour cream frosting:

  • 350 ml heavy cream
  • 180 g confectioner’s sugar
  • 720 g full-fat sour cream
  • 3 tbsp honey (63 g), preferably buckwheat honey
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 3 vanilla beans)


For the honey cake:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cardamom and set aside.
  2. Place the honey in a high-rimmed, stainless-steel saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 160°C/320°F on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook the honey for about 15 minutes in total). Turn off the heat and add the water followed by the butter, stirring for an additional minute until the butter has fully melted. Remove the pan from the stovetop to cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat the eggs until thick and pale in color. Add the sugar and mix until combined.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually pour the hot honey down the side of the bowl to slowly temper the eggs. Continue to mix on medium-low until fully combined.
  5. Add in the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until a cohesive dough is formed. Do not overmix!
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  7. In the meantime, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. On a large, flat surface, set aside three large sheets of parchment paper. Two sheets will be used to roll out the dough and one will be reserved for the leftover scraps.
  8. Once an hour has passed and the dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 300°F.
  9. Using a kitchen scale, measure the chilled dough into 16 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh about 80 g. Transfer two of the dough balls to the prepared parchment paper to roll out. Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator to keep cold. Keeping the dough chilled for as long as possible will help ensure it doesn’t stick when rolling!
  10. Start by placing one ball of dough between the 2 layers of parchment paper and roll into a circle, rotating the parchment as needed to maintain as circular of a shape as possible. Each portion of rolled dough should span about 8 inches in diameter and measure 2mm thick (1/16th of an inch or the height of 3 quarters stacked on top of each other). Try to keep the parchment as flat as possible as you roll the dough to avoid creases (replace the parchment with a new sheet if this happens!)
  11. Using a 6-inch round cake pan (or a circle of parchment paper measuring 6-inches in diameter), cut each portion of dough into round discs, keeping the scraps intact and placing them on the remaining sheet of parchment paper.
  12. Since the dough will be very thin and fragile after rolling, avoid handling the discs of dough with your hands. Instead, peel off the top layer of parchment after rolling, then invert the discs upside down onto the lined baking sheet. Carefully peel the top layer of parchment off of the dough.
  13. Each baking sheet will fit (3) 6-inch round discs of dough. Once the baking sheet is full, “dock” the dough by pricking it all over with a fork to allow ventilation.
  14. Bake the dough at 300°F for 12-14 minutes or until the edges start to brown. While one baking sheet is in the oven, continue to roll out the additional balls of dough by repeating steps 10-13 above.
  15. Once baked, cool each sheet on a wire rack.
  16. To make all 16 layers, you’ll need to bake (5) baking sheets containing (3) discs each, plus one final baking sheet with the last disc of dough. Transfer as many of the reserved scraps as you can onto the final sheet before baking. 
  17. Once cool, store the layers in an airtight container for up to 2 days prior to assembling, noting that this cake takes 24 hours to “set” once frosted.

For the sour cream frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla bean paste and honey until combined.
  3. Add the sour cream mixture into the whipped cream and mix on medium-high until incorporated.
  4. Store the sour cream frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator until use.

To assemble the Ukrainian Honey Cake:

  • Measure about 320 g of the sour cream frosting and place it in the refrigerator to chill until use (this will be used to cover the cake once the layers have been filled).
  • Holding a cake layer in the palm of one hand, spoon some frosting onto the cake, spreading it evenly to cover the entire surface. The amount of frosting (once spread) should measure about the same thickness of the cake layer.
  • Repeat this process for each layer, being sure to frost each layer individually in palm of your hand before stacking them. Since the filling is very soft, the cake layers should be moved very minimally once stacked to avoid becoming lopsided or imbalanced. If you notice the cake tilting as you stack the layers, stop to gently straighten it out before stacking more. Once stacked, the sour cream frosting will begin to “set” and stick to the cake layers after about 20 minutes. Once the cake starts to set, you will no longer be able to shift the layers, so ensure the cake stays balanced as you stack each layer.
  • Once all of the cake layers have been stacked, refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes to allow all layers to partially set before frosting the outside of the cake.
  • In the meantime, place baked scraps of dough into a food processor and grind as finely as possible.
  • Once the cake has been chilled, cover the cake with the remaining sour cream frosting.
  • Gently toss the cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake until enough of the crumbs stick to the frosting. Sprinkle any remaining cake crumbs on top of the cake. 
  • Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to serving.
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Inactive time: 25 hours

One response to “Ukrainian Honey Cake (Medovik)”

  1. Mike Ike

    So incredible and unique !

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