Carolyn Levitt's Russian honey cake

Serves 16 Cakes, Bread and Pastries

WEB Layered honey cake 1


For the pastry layers

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 90g honey
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 600g plain flour, sifted

For the filling

  • 500g cream cheese, at room temperature, chopped
  • 120g icing sugar, sifted
  • 90g honey
  • 500ml whipping cream

To serve

  • 100g roasted hazelnuts, chopped


The Monday Morning Cooking Club sisterhood formed in 2006, intent on collating recipes and stories from the home kitchens of Sydney's Jewish community. Here, we share the member's recipes. Start this recipe at least 1 day before serving.

You will need a large heatproof bowl that will fit snugly over a medium saucepan. Add around 2.5cm of water to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs and honey in the bowl and whisk together to combine (the butter will remain in pieces). Place the bowl on top of the saucepan (make sure the bowl is not touching the water) and reduce the heat to medium, so the water is simmering. Whisk the mixture constantly for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the mixture and stir, then add the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a firm dough. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C F/Gas 6. You will need 2 baking trays and a 20cm-diameter plate or template. Roll out 1 piece of dough onto a piece of baking paper and, using the plate or template, cut out a circle. Remove the scraps of pastry from the outside of the circle and place the baking paper with the pastry circle onto one of the baking trays.

Repeat the rolling out and cutting with the next piece of dough and place either next to the first one on the baking tray (if there is room) or on the second tray. Bake for 5 minutes, or until just slightly puffed and deep golden. It will firm as it cools. Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer to whisk the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and honey and whisk until combined. Add the cream and continue to whisk until it is thick enough to spread.

To assemble the cake, spread 1 round with approximately 3mm of the filling, top with another round and continue to do so until you have used all the layers.

Spread the remaining filling over the top and around the side of the cake, and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Cover with cling film and chill at least overnight and for up to 3 days.

Note: The pastry for this cake can be prepared and baked up to 3 days before assembling if it is kept in an airtight container.

This recipe was taken from the June/July 2020 issue of Food and Travel.

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Recipe and photograph taken from Now for Something Sweet by Lisa Goldberg, Merelyn Frank Chalmers, Natanya Eskin and Jacqui Israel, photography by Alan Benson (HarperCollins, £25)
WEB Layered honey cake 1
Recipe and photograph taken from Now for Something Sweet by Lisa Goldberg, Merelyn Frank Chalmers, Natanya Eskin and Jacqui Israel, photography by Alan Benson (HarperCollins, £25)


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