After last week’s dumplings recipe, I wasn’t planning on sharing another Ukrainian recipe, but then I saw this cake on Instagram and was immediately drawn to it.

It looked like my favourite kind of “snacking cake” – moist and full of caramelised flavour, but also a bit stodgy (like a banana bread).

I tried out this recipe and I was right – it is all of those things. Not too sweet despite the amount of brown sugar and honey in the recipe and the perfect texture for an afternoon snack – ideal for either tea or coffee.

I found a great recipe from a Canadian food blogger Karlynn Johnston. She is the author of the cookbook The Prairie Table. The Prairie provinces of Canada are home to a large Eastern European population as many ended up settling in the region at the turn of the 20th century.

Her recipe includes a lush-looking cream cheese drizzle, which is a great way to dress this cake up if you want to serve it as dessert. Also, she uses cinnamon and cloves in her recipe, which I left out as my family are spice-averse.

The honey is an important part of this cake, obviously, and the stronger the flavour of the honey, the more enhanced the flavour of the cake will be. I used a jar of buckwheat honey I purchased from our local Polish shop, but feel free to use whichever honey you have on hand.

Like last week’s recipe, this is in honour of the #CookForUkraine movement online. For #CookForUkraine, you are encouraged to cook a Ukrainian recipe, post a picture to social media (with the hashtag) and make a donation to UNICEF.

Medivnyk – Ukrainian honey cake

Serves 10-12

125g softened butter

215g soft brown sugar

200ml honey

4 eggs, room temperature, separated into whites and yolks

1 tsp each cinnamon and cloves (optional)

215g sour cream or full fat Greek-style yoghurt

400g plain flour

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Icing sugar, for dusting

  • 1 Preheat your oven to 150°C and spray a bundt cake pan or rectangular (32x22cm) cake tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • 2 In a large bowl, add the brown sugar and butter. Mix with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, then add the honey and egg yolks. Mix until pale and light, about 3-5 minutes.
  • 3 Add the flour, baking soda, salt and spice (if using). Mix until it just starts to come together, then add the sour cream and mix on high for about a minute, until everything is well-combined. I usually scrape down the bowl and use a spatula to finish mixing at this stage as I don't want to overwork the gluten in the flour.
  • 4 In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are achieved. Add one third of the egg whites into the batter and mix directly until fully incorporated, then add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold into the batter with the spatula.
  • 5 Using a spoon or scoop, add the batter into the prepared cake tin by the spoonful. Wipe any visible drips (if using a bundt pan) and smooth the top of the batter.
  • 6 Bake in the preheated oven for about 55 minutes. I checked on my cake after 40 minutes and needed another 15 minutes for it to bake fully. You’ll know it’s baked when you insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean, without any batter sticking to it.
  • 7 Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool completely.
  • 8 Lightly dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and enjoy. It will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.
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