These Mini Gingerbread Honey Layer Cakes are a very festive Christmas dessert. The combination of molasses, spices, and honey is utterly delicious, warming, and a bit nostalgic.
Mini Gingerbread Honey Layer Cakes
Hello, my friends! As I promised in my previous post, I am sharing a dessert today (If you skipped it, in a nutshell: I will be focusing on savory festive food more this season. At least I am saying this now. There’s a chance that I might lose control and bake all the cookies in one day.)
Anyways, today is a good day to celebrate with a scrumptious dessert, specifically these Mini Gingerbread Honey Layer Cakes. Are you excited as much as I am? Good. There’s another great reason to be happy: I am going to keep things short and sweet (But please don’t demonstrate that you’re super excited. That’s rude.)
This year I have introduced some staples from Russian cuisine this year to you including a Medovik cake and two twists on it. I also wanted to come up with another, festive, version. I had been thinking, and thinking, and thinking. Then I realized one thing. Every time I talked about Medovik, I would describe the dough to be very elastic and pleasant to work with, like gingerbread. Eureka! A Christmas twist on Medovik to be! Honey works well with ginger. Cinnamon and other earthy spices work beautifully with honey. Honey and molasses are pretty good friends. I mean this is a perfect twist of two classics.
There are obviously many reasons to try this cake from its taste and flavours to its festive look. But you can see (imagine) that yourself. I’d rather mention two challenging things (Nope I am not trying to convince you not to bake this cake. But I always try to talk about both sides of my recipes). First of all, this is a time-consuming recipe, so I won’t recommend making it during the Christmas weekend. You will need at least two hours of active cooking time plus assembling and waiting (Which is the hardest part for all of us, right?) Not to mention the cleaning part (The worst part ever!) So you can enjoy it these weeks (or bookmark the recipe for January and February), and make something easy like Gingerbread fudge or Cardamom Snickerdoodle Cookies for your Christmas celebration. Keep in mind that you can easily opt for making a regular cake which would save quite some time!
The second drawback is that the dough is pretty hard to work with, and I blame molasses for this extream stickiness. But please don’t be tempted to add more flour than suggested. The dough will gladly absorb all the flour, but the baked layers will turn rough. You can do two things instead: rolling out the dough on parchment and dusting the paper and the rolling pin. You can also omit the molasses in the dough…but wait: that’s not the option at all!
And the last piece of advice: don’t worry about star-shaped cakes. While they look festive, they’re a little bit of pain to make; round cakes will look equally stunning.
Well, I hope I didn’t scare you with my warnings; these are just things to keep in mind. And I certainly hope you’re not to be easily scared, so you’ll make and enjoy these Mini Gingerbread Honey Layer Cakes one day.
Cheers for now,
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned brown sugar
- 2/3 cup fancy molasses
- 60 gr. butter
- 5 large eggs, only yolks
- 15 gr. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. ginger (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp.cinnamon
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- a pinch of gloves
- a pinch of white pepper
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 5-6 cups pastry flour (sifted) + more for dusting
- 2 x 225 gr.cream cheese, soften
- 200 gr. salted butter, soften
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup fancy molasses (If you're using 2/3 cup, you should take only 1/2 cup of honey)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey (If you're using 2/3 cup, you should take only 1/2 cup of molasses)
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbs. cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. all spice
- pinch of nutmeg
- In a large pan combine the honey (1/2 cup), molasses (2/3 cup), sugar, and butter. Cook over medium heat whisking until the butter is melted. Once it's melted, do not whisk the mixture (shake the pan occasionally instead). When the mixture starts to slowly boil, you can let it caramelize for 2-4 minutes (for a deeper flavor; recommended) or proceed to the next step.
- Add the soda whisking. The mixture will start foaming. It will also change the color (and even flavor), and will increase in volume.
- Off heat and let cool few minutes.
- Add the egg yolks constantly whisking with a whisk.
- Stir in the spices and let the mixture stay 10-12 minutes.
- Start adding the sifted flour. You will need between 5 and 6 cups. Add 4 cups at once and then gradually add more. Don't mix it too long. The dough will be soft and elastic, but quite sticky. 6 cups of flour must be enough; however, if you feel the dough is way to sticky, you can add 1/4 cup of flour more. Avoid adding more than this; instead dust the surface and rolling pin well.
- On the dusted surface (I strictly recommend doing it on parchment paper) roll out a piece of dough that can fit the baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to about 175 degrees C.
- Pierce the layer with a fork. Transfer onto a baking sheet and bake between 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness and your oven. Don't let the layers get too brown.
- Remove the baking sheet and immediately, while the layer is still hot, cut as many circles as possible using a cookie cutter (diameter of your choice). Reserve the trimmings. Certainly you can opt for making one large cake.
- Proceed with the remaining dough.
- To make the frosting, beat the softened cream cheese with the condensed milk and honey at low speed.
- Add the molasses and spices and beat until smooth. Try and add more spices/honey if desired.
- To assemble the cake, place the first layer (find the thickest one) and spread some (about 2 tbsp) of the cream. Let it stand 15 seconds to moisten then place the second layer gently pressing it with your hands, and spread the cream frosting. Repeat all layers. I had 8-10 layers in each cake (not all the layers had equal thickness).
- Spread some of the cream over the edges as well.
- Let the cake stand about one hour at room temperature to stabilize the cream.
- In a meanwhile, using processor, finely grind the trimmings (You will need about 4-5 cups of them).
- Generously cover the cake with the crumbles gently pressing them into the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least overnight.
- If you have any of trimmings and cream left (and you will likely have!), combine them in glass or a bowl - that would be a bonus dessert!