Author Tatyana Nesteruk describes this cake is divine. Her cookbook, The European Cake Cookbook, is totally divine. This recipe is not for diabetics. Well, maybe, a small piece. Or two of them.

A honey sponge cake is dotted with pecan pieces and then topped with caramel frosting. If you have never had a Ukrainian cake, this should be your first stop. It is gorgeous and delicious. And, well, just a tad sticky.

Tatyana’s book is proof that the great pastry cakes of the world start in Great Britain and spread east to the Ukraine. The geography changes, the languages shift, and the cake delights are a whirlwind of butter, sugar, and all the other sinful ingredients we all need.


Caramel Honey Cake

Yield: serves 6+

Ingredients:

For the honey cake:

  • 9 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) honey
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (96 g) almond flour
  • 2 tsp (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 cup (125 g) chopped pecans

For the syrup:

  • ½ cup (118 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (14-oz [397-g]) can dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250 g) confectioners’ sugar

For the garnish:

  • 2 cups (250 g) pecans, diced
  • Chocolate or cookies (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.

Prepare the cake layers first. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the eggs are voluminous and pale in color. Pour in the honey and whisk again for 1 minute. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, almond flour and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter in small portions, folding gently but thoroughly after each addition. Fold in the chopped pecans last.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the three pans and level the tops with an offset spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until the tops are completely set. Remove the layers from the oven and run a knife along the side of the pans to release the layers, then cool completely. Once the layers are cooled, use a long, serrated knife to split each layer in half, creating 6 layers.

For the syrup, simply combine the sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream in a small bowl.

Prepare the frosting next: whisk the butter in a large mixing bowl for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl often. Add the dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt. Mix again for a few minutes until well combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix again for a few more minutes until fluffy.

To assemble the cake, first use a pastry brush to soak each cake layer with the cream syrup, then spread on a generous amount of frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake, then press pecans into the sides as garnish. Garnish the top of the cake with chocolate, nuts or cookies, if desired. Keep the cake refrigerated if not serving right away. If refrigerated, allow the cake to stand at room temperature for 1 hour prior to serving.

 Source: The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyan Nesteruk [Page Street, 2018]