A while back, I shared my family’s Polish plain honey cake recipe. It’s a delicious yet simple honey cake that I serve each year for Christmas and New Year’s. It seems to be atypical as far as honey cake recipes go because there are no spices added to it. More recently, I’ve found that a little bit of orange zest provides a nice dimension to the flavor, so I’ve added that bit to the recipe since first posting it. While doing some additional research on honey cakes–what I’ve always called in Polish, miodownik–I discovered that my family’s miodownik looks to be a close descendant of the Ukrainian medivnyk. I should have known! The family baker who passed down the honey cake tradition is both Ukrainian and Polish.
The typical Polish-style miodownik that I’ve found on the internet is a spiced honey layer cake filled with a “semolina cream” (whip butter into a Cream of Wheat®, milk, and sugar mixture) and topped with a chocolate glaze. I’ve made a similar cake before, but have called it “Stefanka.” It looks like it’s the same thing as the blog Finding Feasts describes so well. Sheesh! Well, I’m sticking to my family traditions and that’s that. But, I will now call my favorite honey cake miodownik, and add on medivnyk to the name too. That should do it. I’m re-posting the recipe for this cake not just to tell you all about the results from my research, which I’m sure are incredibly intriguing, but also because my original post was designed to feed a lot of people. Some would say that it went a little overboard in the quantity department. This time around, I’m posting a scaled down version that makes a simple Bundt cake. Hope you give it a try!
This version, as in the original version, does not contain spices (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), but feel free to add in spices. I’ve come across medivnyk recipes that do include spices, but my family tradition is to save the spices for a different Polish honey-based cake, called piernik, which is the Polish version of gingerbread. Traditions are sometimes so confusing . . . .
Perhaps because of its simplicity, miodownik/medivnyk is a great treat for kids and not just around Christmas or New Year’s. It’s also not too shabby for adults to nibble on either! Below is the printable recipe, and afterwards is a step-by-step illustrated guide to making this delightful cake!
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
First thing is first: preheat the oven. It should be a slow oven, at 300°F/150°C. Grease and flour a large Bundt pan, or spray with baking spray. I like to prepare the flour mixture first, so sift together 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt and, if you’d like a slightly darker color cake, then also add 1 tablespoon cocoa. [If you want to add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (1/2 teaspoon each), now would be the time. Sift the spices with the flour and other ingredients.]
I used my standing mixer to beat 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of canola oil, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract until well combined, about 30 seconds.
Then I mixed in 1 cup of honey until the mixture is smooth.
I mixed in the zest from 1/2 an orange (optional ingredient, but highly recommended). With the mixer running on low speed, I gradually mixed in the flour mixture, alternating with 1 cup of milk.