Make Ahead

Russian Honey Cake

March  6, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

Russian Honey Cake is light, sweet, and perfectly moist. It’s traditionally baked in a standard round pan, but I always love the way bundt pans make everything just a little fancier. It’s perfect with tea, with coffee, or with a cocktail. —Vicky | Things I Made Today

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Vicky | Things I Made Today runs a productivity, time management, and process improvement consulting company in Madison, WI.
WHAT: A spongy and fragrant cake for when the 3 PM doldrums set in.
HOW: In one bowl, beat egg whites into stiff peaks. In another, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Add honey, baking soda, and sour cream, followed by flour and nuts. The last step is to fold in the egg whites and bake the batter in a fancy bundt pan.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Just as morning coffee is better with a bagel or a croissant, afternoon coffee is optimized with a piece of cake. This one looks fancy and sophisticated because of the bundt pan, but it’s made with ingredients you already have in your pantry. —The Editors

  • Serves 8 to 12
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • Butter for pan
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Beat egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture is almost white. Add in honey, baking soda, and sour cream. Mixing at low speed, gradually add flour and nuts, and mix until batter is uniform.
  4. Gently fold in egg whites.
  5. Generously butter a bundt cake pan (or a 9-inch round pan) and pour in batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenny
  • Wendall
  • Swetha Chellappa
    Swetha Chellappa
  • kzmccaff
  • Nina

30 Reviews

lindajean July 18, 2020
This cake is a dream to make, easy enough but elegant for any occasion.
Not too sweet and delightfully moist, the walnuts add another dimension entirely. I am off to the kitchen to bake one right now!
Lisa April 28, 2020
This is a keeper. It is easy to make. It is simple: no complicated ingredients. It is versatile: when I run out of flour, I replace part of the flour with almond flour or mix of rice flour. All came out delicious! Thank you!
Jenny August 20, 2016
Has anyone tried glazing it? or soaking it in some syrup while it was still hot?
naomi W. April 16, 2016
I just made this totally yummy cake with what I had to hand - half yogurt, half creme fraiche, brandy soaked raisins and a bit of the brandy, almonds and walnuts....perfect
Wendall March 6, 2016
Fabulous recipe - I made it using creme fraiche as I couldn't get sour cream and it was perfect. My only complaint? I barely got any, as everyone else went wild for it with cups of tea!
mick November 18, 2015
My coffie tasts fabulous with this cake. Nice recipe.
mick November 18, 2015
I mean my coffee tastes fabulous.
Swetha C. January 4, 2015
Could I substitute the sour cream with something else?
Author Comment
Vicky |. January 5, 2015
You could try Greek Yogurt but it may change the consistency a little as it is thicker, but shouldn't change the flavor drastically.
Swetha C. January 5, 2015
Thank you! Should I use the same quantity as the sour cream?
Author Comment
Vicky |. January 12, 2015
Yes, I would use the same amount.
kzmccaff January 4, 2015
Also--I should say, I sprayed and floured the pan and it came RIGHT out. Quite easily.
kzmccaff January 4, 2015
Just made this cake and it's great! The consistency is a little spongey and it's lightly sweet, but not overpowering. Perfect with tea (and a new episode of Downton... :)) I added about 1/3 C of walnuts and liked having more of them!
Nina January 4, 2015
It has nothing in common with "Russian Honey Cake"!!!!
And with russian backing traditions also. Because adding honey and sauar cream doesn't automatically make cakes "russian".
Kendra February 11, 2016
Doesn't change the fact that it's AMAZING! :)
majority L. November 16, 2014
Just made this and it's my favorite cake of all time. Neither bready like a muffin nor sweet like a birthday cake. Just right. Great consistency. I want to break off pieces and eat it out of my hand. A couple notes - I used Mexican sour cream rather than American because the Mexican is runnier. I am under the impression that most Eastern European/Russian 'sour creams' are much runnier than the thick standard goop. I suspect it really added a lot of moistness and texture to the cake. I also soaked the walnuts in some almond extract for a minute. I bet some brandy or other flavored liqueur would have added a lot too. Next I'm trying it with different fruits and nuts.
Author Comment
Vicky |. January 5, 2015
Lovely! I like the idea of adding some dried fruits to the recipe. Thanks for the comments!
nkem A. October 14, 2014
I love the recipe, its easy to reach with-out any difficulties am preparing it right away.
Tobiwan October 6, 2014
Tasted better today..but probably won't make it again.
Tobiwan October 5, 2014
Just made mine...not super loving it...very moist...but a bit too spongy and bland flavor...?
Markella B. October 6, 2014
I couldn't agree with you more Tobiwan. Made it for Sunday afternoon coffee but I was a bit disappointed with the flavor. Like you said, spongy and bland, eventhough I sprinkled some cinnamon on top.
Awads October 5, 2014
I baked a second one. Still having issues getting the right color. It came out with raw spots on the top and more amber hued on the bottom. I have a convection thermador oven that has never failed me. Having said that, the cake is super moist and not too sweet. It was a crowd-pleaser. I'd make again.
Tobiwan October 5, 2014
Other than Awads..has anyone baked this yet? I know the eggs and sourcream will help..but no other fats? Strange...maybe I'll give it a try anyway
Awads October 4, 2014
Ugh...followed direction but it quickly over baked. A dark amber color. Tastes fine, but not pretty. Will try again.
bonheurcuisine October 2, 2014
Amazingly simple, awfully good! Saving it!
Markella B. October 2, 2014
There isn't any butter or oil in the recipe. This is definitely low fat.
ellemmbee October 5, 2014
Um, there's a cup of sour cream in this recipe so not exactly low fat, but truly delicious!
Markella B. October 5, 2014
You could always substitute the sour cream with low fat Greek yogurt. It'll give the same texture to the cake without a lot of calories.
aargersi October 2, 2014
Congratulations! You had me at honey ...