Russian Honey Cake Recipe - NYT Cooking

Cooking by the Book: Beorn’s Honey Cake

I fell in love with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth when I read The Fellowship of the Ring. Admittedly, I was only introduced to Tolkien when the movie came out (cringe, cringe). My childhood didn’t offer much opportunity to explore literature as much as I wanted and I had to scrape together my meager allowance to buy used books. Forget about libraries; the only ones that I had access to were school libraries and I made sure to spend most of my free time there. But enough of the sob story. Today’s all about Beorn’s Honey Cake.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that this is the fourth challenge in the Cooking by the Book series.  I haven’t had the time to write about the others (madeleines, pumpkin pasties, and treacle tarts) but I’ll hopefully get to them soon.

For those who aren’t familiar with The Lord of the Rings, Beorn was a skinchanger who helped Thorin and the dwarves in The Hobbit. He takes on the form of a huge bear, and true to stereotypical bear behavior, he was fond of honey. In fact, honey was added to most of the food he made.

Honey cakes, though, were the Beornings’ specialty. They were renowned for being one of the best bakers around and Gimli probably loved their honey cakes.

“Indeed it is,” said Gimli. “Why it is better than the honey-cakes of the Beorning, and that is great praise, for the Beornings are the best bakers that I know of;”

In the book, the honey cakes were twice baked to keep them fresh for a long time, making them perfect for traveling around the Middle Earth for weeks. In the real world (aka our world), these cakes taste much better fresh out of the oven but can be kept for 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

This is a very simple recipe but I upped the appeal factor by using this specialty pan from Nordic Ware. I’ve had my eye on this for a few months, but they were too expensive to buy from the shop. Luckily I found a seller on Carousell (it’s like Ebay) who was selling it at a cheaper price.

Honeycomb pan + honey cakes? Sold. Oh did I mention that it makes an adorable pull-apart cake? The pan has these cute bee designs with ridges that make it easy to separate each section.

If you don’t have this honeycomb pan, don’t fret. You can use a 9-inch cake pan as well.

For my version of Beorn’s Honey Cake, I used a combination of cornmeal and flour. The cornmeal, not to be confused with corn starch or corn flour, added an interesting texture to the cake. The cake came out tender but with a hint of grittiness on the tongue. It’s not rough or coarse per se, but the cornmeal lent a je ne se quois (oh, snooty) to the cake.

If cornmeal isn’t available, you can use all purpose flour instead. While I haven’t tried baking this cake using all flour, I think it will turn out just as good too. It will probably taste like honey sponge cakes. Drool.

I also tried infusing the milk with cardamom and cinnamon. Following a quick simmer to melt the butter, I let the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick steep for 30 minutes in the warm milk and butter mixture. I love how the milk smelled like cardamom. It’s seriously my new favorite spice. Haha.

Serve it warm for tea and top it with butter and honey. Delicious!

Ready to try this Middle Earth treat for yourself?

beorn’s honey cake

Honey cakes were the Beorning’s specialty in the Lord of the Rings. This tender and sweet cake is easy enough to replicate and perfect to top with butter and honey!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 1 9-inch
Calories 123 kcal


  • 138 grams 1 cup cornmeal
  • 120 grams 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 110 grams 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 240 ml 1 cup milk
  • 60 ml 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 57 grams 1/4 cup butter


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, milk, honey, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick to a simmer. Stir occasionally to ensure that butter is melted. Remove from heat and let the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick steep for 10 minutes or more.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick from the milk mixture. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter onto the prepared 9-inch cake pan.
  • Bake at a preheated 350F/180C oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the toothpick comes up clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting on to a serving plate.



You can use a non-stick spray or melted butter to prep the pan before putting in the batter.
If you don’t have cardamom pods, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom. However, add it in with the dry ingredients rather than steeping it in the milk.
I love cardamom but if you haven’t tried or don’t like it, you can try to lessen the amount used. Or you can more for a stronger taste!
If cornmeal is unavailable, use all purpose flour instead.
Keyword cake

How to Make a Honey Cake

Russian Honey Cake Recipe - NYT Cooking

Have you ever made a Honey Cake? If you’ve never made one before, it can be intimidating. But don’t worry, because we’re going to walk you through the process step-by-step. Read on to learn more about the ingredients, baking method, and what to do with the leftovers. Here’s the recipe! Enjoy! And don’t forget to share it with your friends! We’ll talk about storage in a moment.


The Most Amazing Russian Honey Cake | Cleobuttera

If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy dessert that you can make at home, try the Recipe for Honey Cake. This moist, light, and delicious cake is a healthy, no-bake dessert that won’t break the bank. The best part is that it doesn’t require expert baking skills, and it’s easy to make in less than an hour! Listed below are some tips for making the perfect honey cake:

Mix egg whites and sugar until well combined. Stir in honey. Set aside the whites for another time. Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients in three batches. Then, fold in egg whites. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes. Tent with foil while baking. Cool the cakes on a wire rack before removing them. Once cool, remove the cakes from their pans with a butter knife.

Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment or cooking spray. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small saucepan, combine the honey and sugar. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes before pouring into the pan. Combine the egg mixture with the honey mixture. Stir until well combined and smooth. Bake the cake for thirty minutes, until done. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.

Baking method

Russian Honey Cake Medovik (8 Layer Cake)

The baking method for honey cake depends on the type of honey you choose. The type of honey used in the cake will affect its flavor, but whichever you choose, the end result will be moist and delicious. If you don’t want to use too much honey, you can replace it with a lighter variety. Regardless of the type of honey, this cake is a delicious treat for any occasion. In addition to being delicious, honey cake can be vegan, which means you can omit the jam glaze and desiccated coconut.

The first step in baking honey cake is to prepare the ingredients. First, prepare the cake pan by lining it with parchment paper and sprinkling cooking spray. Next, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and beat well to combine. Once combined, add the honey, yogurt, and flour. Blend the batter until it’s smooth and lump-free. Once the cake is done, drizzle it with honey, or simply serve as is.

Once the honey cake is baked, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. However, if you want to make it ahead of time, you can freeze it. Just make sure to take it out an hour before serving so that it doesn’t get soggy. The cake keeps well for at least a week if refrigerated. A few pieces can be frozen for later consumption. This way, you can enjoy the delicious sweet treat any time of the year.

Storage of leftovers

After you have baked and served your Honey Cake, you’re probably wondering how to store the leftovers. Fortunately, leftover honey cake slices will keep in the fridge for about three days. The cake layers, wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container, can also be frozen for up to one month. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. When serving honey cakes, keep in mind that the honey should be liquid at room temperature and that the layers should not contain any honeycomb.

The cake should be allowed to cool completely before inverting onto a rack to cool completely. To serve, you can drizzle with honey glaze and garnish with honey-glazed walnuts. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If you plan to make a batch ahead of time, it’s possible to double the recipe, allowing the cake to sit at room temperature for several days. Alternatively, you can make the cake separately, freeze it, and serve it at a later date.

You can also store leftover Honey Cake in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator. The flavor of Honey Cake is at its peak the day after it has been assembled, so store leftover slices in a container that can keep its shape and be stored. It will be more flavorful and tender on the second day, so don’t worry if you end up with some left-over slices. Storage of leftovers from Honey Cake

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