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Monday, 13 October 2014

Medovnik. A Czech Honey Cake made with Charlecote Honey

Earlier this year I had a wonderful experience with the volunteer Bee Keepers at Charlecote Park and I was able to see inside the hives and how the honey was made.

It seemed only right that once the honey had been collected from the hives that I made something very special with it. I decided on a very old recipe and it all went so well together.

I had had a few requests for this layered honey cake recipe since posting a photo on both twitter and Facebook so I thought I better write it down. The cake is made from a very old Czech recipe and is called 'Medovnik'.
Medovnik translates as 'Honey Cake' and is one of the oldest cakes in Europe. It is very popular through Central, Northern and Eastern Europe and I have found that each area has it's own twist on the recipe. This cake is not a quick cake to make as it takes tree days from start to end but don't let this put you off making it. It is well worth the effort. Plus, the second to the third day is the hardest as all you have to do is wait to eat it :) This recipe can be cut down to two days if, instead of making your own caramel, you buy some ready made but I will explain this as I go along.

Medovnik is a really lovely cake with many layers and with the beautiful fresh yummy honey from Charlecote Park, how could I go wrong? :)
This recipe can be halved to make a smaller cake.

For the 9 inch cake,6-8 layers, ingredients below. To make a smaller 7 inch cake with 6-7 layers, half the recipe.                                 

For the Cake:                                                                                       
60g of unsalted butter
5 tbs of honey
200g of icing sugar
500g of plain flour
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder

For the filling and covering
475g of unsalted softened butter
2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (or you can buy the condensed milk which has already been made into caramel to save a day.)
300ml of double cream
A bag of whole walnuts.

You will also need:
A small cup of strong coffee.
Tuzemsky (optional)
 If you are using Tuzemsky, it works out equal to a 3rd of the amount of coffee you use.

Day 1-Making the Caramel

If you are making the caramel yourself, my advice is to do it the day before you make this cake. To make the caramel you will need a large saucepan of water brought to the boil but then left on a low simmer in which you carefully pop a couple of cans of sweetened condensed milk into. You will need to cook the cans for around two and a half hours, making sure the water does not dry out. I like the water to be at the same high as the cans. If you wish for the caramel to be richer and darker, simmer for three hours. A little tip here. You can do a few cans at once and store them in your cupboard for whenever you need them. Alternately you can buy the caramel ready made and just jump straight to day 2.

Day 2 -The Cake

Firstly make a small cup of strong coffee and put aside to cool.

This cake is actually really easy to make, it just sounds complicated which is why I have shared the step by step photos. The hardest part is waiting for it to set before you can cut it and try a piece. It doesn't take long to make even thought it says 3 days. It is more the waiting between stages that takes the time. On day 3 when you do slice the cake and you see all the lovely layers and you taste the cake, that makes the effort and waiting all worth while.

As promised , a little more about Tuzemsky.
Tuzemsky is known as a Czech/Slovak domestic rum but these days it is not allowed to be called rum as it  is brewed very differently and to be honest tastes different too. It is something that I have in my kitchen all the time as it is that secret ingredient in so many sweet dishes. A few drops can make a lovely cake into a very special cake and you would never know what it was just by tasting the finished product. I use it it many things including sweet pastries.

 Tuzemsky added to this honey cake brings out the taste of the honey so much. The two go so well together. There are many brands to pick from but my favourite has to be Boskov Tuzemsky.The others do come very close and are perfectly fine to use. It is so smooth and smells amazing, just like rum and raisin together and is fantastic in my truffles.

I normally buy my Tuzemsky on-line but I have also been able to find it  locally in the European/Continental shops. If you go on holiday to Prague like so many people do these days, bring some back with you and try it. 
My lovely jar of Charlecote Park honey is going down. I must get some more.

Honey buns next time I think :)

Thanks for reading this blog. hope you liked it even though it was very different from my normal blogs.


  1. This is such an impressive looking cake! Simply stunning.

  2. Hi there

    2cans of condensed milk.. How big are they actually? Thanks..

    1. Sorry. I thought I answered this, not sure what happened. The cans are around 390-400grams. Only small tins.

    2. what is a double cream and Tuzemsky?

    3. Double cream is thick full fat cream and Tuzemsky is a sort of dark rum.

  3. HI, what is the oven temperature please?

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I have just come back from Prague, having tried the honey cake, decided it is the best cake in the world and want to make it myself! Your recipe seems excellent, love the beautiful photos and clear
    instructions, so will try it soon. Thank you :)