Monday, November 26, 2012

Winnie the Pooh Cake


Yes, I am aware that this is a pretty goofy name for the cake that is not even shaped as the character it is named after. But what can I do - this is exactly the name it has been known under, recipe passed around from home baker to home baker in Russia. It is obvious that the name is a nod to the honey that is used in the cake layers.

In fact, "honey cakes" were all the rage in the 1990s in the former Soviet Union. Again, honey is one of those ingredients that is easily available and relatively cheap, but when used in the cake dough that is cooked over double boiler before being baked, it gives the cake a distinct, strong but pleasant flavor.



I have tested this recipe on various Americans in my life and, unlike some Russian recipes (ahem, pickled herring with boiled beets, anyone?) it translates well to American tastes. There are countless variations of the "honey cake" recipe. This particular version uses only a small amount of honey, unlike some, and has more filling (whipped cream + sour cream) than most.

The resulting cake is moist, soft and creamy. It is important to let it sit in the refrigerator at least overnight to allow the cake layers, which become dry and brittle once they cool, to absorb the moisture from the filling and become tender.


I have added cream cheese frosting to the recipe because it is firm enough to give the cake an attractive outside layer but it is really optional. If you do not care too much about the appearances, you can simply reserve some of the cream filling and use that to frost the sides and top of the cake.



Winnie the Pooh Cake

Serves 10

For cake layers
4 tablespoons (50 gram) butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour

For filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cups sugar
3 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For frosting
1 8-oz (226 gram) package cream cheese, softened but cool
2 tablespoons butter, softened but cool
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a 9-inch bottom from a tart pan or spring form pan to use as a template.

I do not have a proper double boiler so I use an improvised one: I find a large pot and a metal bowl that matches in diameter to be placed on top of the pot. I bring water to boil in the pot and cook the cake dough in the bowl on top.

Melt butter in the double boiler. Add sugar, eggs, honey, soda, vodka and salt. Whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs (I use an electric hand mixer) heat the mixture 5 minutes. Add 2 cups flour, heat 4 more minutes, stirring. The dough will become elastic and "stretchy." Remove from heat, mix in the remaining 1 cup flour (be careful as the dough will be hot). Knead a few times until dough is smooth, then shape into 8 balls.

Roll each ball into a circle that is a little larger in diameter than the 9-in template. Fold into quarters or drape over rolling pin to transfer to baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Watch closely as the cake layers burn quickly.

While the first layer is baking, roll out the second and transfer to baking sheet.

Remove the baked cake layer from the oven and, while it is still warm, use the template and a sharp knife to cut a circle. Be careful with the hot baking sheet. Transfer the cut layer to rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining layers, reserving the cut off pieces. After all the layers are baked, bake the cut off pieces on baking sheet about 5 minutes, cool completely and crush. Use the crumbs for decorating the cake if desired.

Make filling: whip cream with sugar to stiff peaks, mix in vanilla and sour cream until combined. Use filling to layer between the cake layers. Refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.

Make cream cheese frosting: whip cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with reserved crumbs if desired.


30 comments:

  1. You made that cake,that is not essentially beautiful :-), look absolutely gorgeous! I am really inspired to make it now!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stunning, as always. Pooh would love it :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such an elegant looking cake! What does the vodka do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I never was able to figure out the vodka part. I use it, because I usually have vodka in the freezer :). I'm hoping one of my readers will explain the science behind it (if there is any!) as it often happens.

      Delete
    2. I learned about vodka in baking from americas test kitchen; they say that you can use it as a way to add moisture for easier mixing but then due to its high alcohol content it simply bakes off and you are left with a tender result. Its a great way to make pie dough and one of my favorite tricks.

      Delete
    3. I knew somebody would know! Do you use all vodka instead of the water? Usually pie crusts call for a couple of tablespoons water.

      Delete
    4. I think you can but I just use a touch of both.

      Delete
  4. Absolutely wonderful! each recipe nicer than the previous ... wanna do them all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you sweetie. You are always so nice Bea.

      Delete
  5. I'm SO glad you featured this recipe. It's my all time favourite cake. I only recently came across it in a cafe. Why didn't I ask for this recipe before when you asked for requests?! I think I convinced myself that with all that cream I didn't need it. I DO need it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. You must have it. Kidding :). That 's one of my favorite cakes as well.

      Delete
  6. Such a pretty cake, and the name seems quite perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh yeah, we do love this cake in lithuania as well :) and true, it's best when rested for 1-2 days in the fridge.

    p.s. i'd looove pickled herring with beetroots. yes, please :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jugita,

      Suuure, I'll write about the "herring in a fur coat," why not :))

      Delete
  8. Beautiful cake - looks super tasty. I'm pretty sure I'd eat the whole thing in one sitting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah. I am, too, concerned that I might eat the whole thing if allowed. I've frozen a few slices, we'll see how they fare.

      Delete
  9. The cake looks awesome and I am sure the taste will be superb. I liked the name, its catchy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love that cake :)) Even though I don't have a sweet tooth, this one remains my fav )

    (not to mention pickled herring with boiled beets - give me more!) :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well lucky you - no sweet tooth! I wish I was the same :))

      Delete
  11. your photos always amaze me ! <3

    ReplyDelete
  12. so beautiful. love your photos. deliciuos looking cake and beautiful accesorries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Kristina. I now enjoy antique shopping :).

      Delete
  13. Спасибо! Буду делать - завтра приходит сестра. Позже напишу...

    ReplyDelete

I greatly appreciate your comments. There is nothing I like more than the two-way communication with my readers. Because I hate word verification I won't make you look at those squiggly letters... but I do have to moderate to protect from spam :).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...