250g (9 oz) honey
65g (2¼oz) burnt honey (see recipe)
250g (9 oz) honey
225g (8 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
200g (7 oz) unsalted butter
6 eggs
2½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
450g (1 lb) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
125g (4½ oz) burnt honey (see recipe)
400g (14 oz) dulce de leche (see recipe)
600ml (21 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
450g (1 lb) sour cream
pinch of salt
DULCE DE LECHE makes 400g (14 oz)
400g (14 oz) tin sweetened condensed milk

The Russian honey cake has made the rounds of the local bakeries here in Melbourne and if you’ve been lucky enough to sink your teeth into one, you’ll know why. It’s traditionally made with sour cream between the honey cake layers, but I tasted one made with dulce de leche cream – game changer! This cake is visually stunning, incredibly flavoursome and texturally perfect. Although it looks difficult to make, it really isn’t. It is a bit of a long process, but it yields incredible results. Please make it (and if you don’t, please find it and buy it!).


While you can readily buy dulce de leche at the supermarket, it’s easy to make at home. It just requires a tin of sweetened condensed milk and a few spare hours. You can cook multiple tins at a time and store them in the pantry for later use.

View the recipe collection here


1.Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
2.Trace a 23cm (9 inch) circle onto 12 sheets of baking paper.
3.Place each sheet on a baking tray with the circle side facing down (use as many baking trays as you have – you will cook the cake layers in batches).
4.For the cake batter, combine 65g (2¼ oz) of the burnt honey with the honey, sugar and butter in a medium or large saucepan and cook over low heat until the butter has melted.
5.Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs and bicarbonate of soda (the mixture will fizz up).
6.Finally, add the flour, cinnamon and salt and mix until smooth.
7.To make each cake layer, spoon 80ml (2½ fl oz) of the batter into the centre of one of the circles on the baking paper and spread it out with an offset spatula to fill the circle.
8.Bake the layers – as many as you can fit into the oven at a time – for 8–10 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown. You will end up with between 9 and 13 layers of cake.
9.Slide the cakes with the baking paper onto the bench and set aside to cool – don’t attempt to remove the cakes from the baking paper until they have completely cooled.
10.Using a 23cm (9 inch) cake ring – or cut out a 23 cm (9 inch) circle of baking paper – mark the cakes into perfect circles and use kitchen scissors to trim them to size.
11.Place the cake trimmings on a baking tray in the cooling oven to dry out in the residual heat.
12.Once the trimmings are cool, use a food processor to blitz them into crumbs to garnish the cake.
13.For the honey cream, combine 125g (4½ oz) of the burnt honey and the dulce de leche in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer.
14.Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the bowl isn’t touching the water) and cook until the honey has melted (it will have hardened by this stage), then remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
15.Add the cream, sour cream and salt to the honey mixture and whisk using the whisk attachment of the mixer until stiff peaks form.
16.To assemble the cake, spread some of the honey cream onto your plate or cake board to secure the cake. Add the first cake layer, then spoon 185ml (6 fl oz) of the honey cream on top and spread it out with an offset spatula.
17.Repeat until all of the cake layers have been added. Spread any excess honey cream around the side.
18.Place the cake in the fridge overnight – a necessity to allow the layers to soften and absorb all of that dulce de leche and honey goodness!
19.Cover the side of the cake with the cake crumbs and bring to room temperature before serving.
21.Pour the honey into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the honey caramelises into a dark amber colour, about 7–10 minutes.
22.Carefully add 50ml (1¾ fl oz) water – it will bubble up, so be careful not to burn yourself.
23.Remove the pan from the heat and mix to ensure the honey has completely dissolved into the water. Set aside.
25.Place the unopened tin of condensed milk in a large saucepan and completely cover it with water.
26.Cover the pan with a lid, bring to the boil and cook for a minimum of 4 hours for a deep caramel colour.
27.Ensure the water stays at boiling point and top up the water if it drops below the top of the tin.

Images and text from
First, Cream the Butter
and Sugar by Emelia
Jackson, photography
by Armelle Habib.
Murdoch Books
RRP $69.99.