Tag Archives: honey

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
‘Tis the season for every kind of pumpkin flavoured treat to make an appearance. Great news for everyone but is there really a recipe worth sharing that hasn’t been done before??
I’ve thought long and hard as I love bringing you things new and fresh. Here is the result. Moist and flavourful pumpkin muffins with Cornish toffee and sprinkled with honeycomb pieces. I’ve never baked anything with honeycomb before but when I saw it at a shop I was immediately inspired. Growing up, the only way I ever ate pumpkin was pumpkin roasted with honey. Naturally, combining pumpkin and honey in a muffin just screamed childhood to me! Then I added caramel flavoured toffee…just for fun. Can you see all the toffee bits in there?

I didn’t know what to expect but what I got was a crackled muffin top because honeycomb melted and seeped into the muffins and toffee studded bottom!Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
AMAZING!
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
They are so so so tasty I can’t stop eating them! I said “I” but what is meant is that my kids can’t stop eating them. 😉

Ingredients: ( Makes 3 dozen/36 muffins)

  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • Baking Powder-3 tsp.
  • Baking Soda-2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon-3 tsp.
  • Pumpkin Spice (nutmeg, cloves, ginger)- 1 tsp.
  • Oil-2 cups
  • Demerara Sugar- 2 1/2 cups
  • Eggs- 6 large
  • Pumpkin puree- 28 oz (1 large can or use your own like I did)
  • Cornish Toffee- 1/2 cup/100 gr
  • Honeycomb pieces-1/2 cup/100gr

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325F/150C. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl (remember it’s a very big recipe) combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  Use a stand mixer if you have one or a hand mixer.

3. Add oil, sugar,  eggs, pumpkin puree  and toffee and mix well. Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with honeycomb pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Repeat. Twice.

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
Can you imagine the aroma that wafts through your house while you are baking three batches of muffins? Indescribable.
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

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Lemon Scented Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Figs and Honey

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"Tvorog" Cheesecake
My dear friends, I’ve been holding out on you and for that I am sorry. I made the most delicious cheesecake this past Easter but just posting the recipe today. The good news is that cheesecake is not seasonal, it’s welcome for any occasion. The recipe for this culinary delight was a bit of a gamble-part tradition/part speculation and experiment but the result was nothing short of divine.

As I wrote in one of my previous posts Easter is one of the biggest holidays in Russia and I wanted to keep the traditions alive in my own family. The least I could do was to cook all the Easter treats. Paskha, Kulich and Coloured Easter Eggs are the three musts for every Russian household. Check out the links to Paskha and Kulich from my talented fellow bloggers, the treats are as delicious as they are beautiful!

I coloured eggs with my children this year but ended up buying Kulich or something similar from a Polish shop nearby instead of making my own. I really wanted to make a sweet cheese Paskha but I didn’t have a proper mould so I opted out for a modern day Paskha. Paskha with a twist.

Traditionally Paskha is made from a farmer’s cheese called “Tvorog” in Russian, eggs, sugar, vanilla and dried fruit and candied orange and lemon peel.  I thought it would be fun to try to use the same ingredients but make it into a cheesecake instead. Russian Cheesecake is called “Zapekanka” which translates as “Baked”, it doesn’t have a bottom crust and the cheese is often held together by eggs and semolina. I have vague and not the fondest memories of ‘Zapekanka’, something that was served for school lunches- heavier on semolina rather than cheese yellowish squares with burned top. It tasted far from stellar, so I successfully avoided eating it whenever possible. Needless to say, I set out to create different memories for my children.

My efforts were worthwhile because what they got as a result of my experiment tasted lighter than a cloud and looked… Actually, a picture is worth a thousand words so judge it for yourself!

Lemon Scented Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Figs and Honey
The recipe for this beauty is not too different from a standard cheesecake recipe but includes a couple of Russian twists.
Ingredients:

  • Farmers’s Cheese- 750 gr/24 oz
  • Eggs- 3 large
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Semolina-3 tbsp.
  • Lemon zest- from 1 lemon
  • Vanilla Bean seeds- from 1 bean
  • Digestive biscuits crushed( you can use graham crackers, unfortunately they are not available in England)-125 gr
  • Butter- 1/4 cup

Method:

Preheat your oven to 325 F/160 C

Zest the lemon and set aside…or take a picture like I did.

Lemon Crush the biscuits (I equipped my children with a rolling pin and a large bowl and told them to “go nuts” on those biscuits, they happily obliged.) then mix the crumbs with melted butter. Line the bottom of a 21″ springform pan with the crumbs and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, set aside and cool.

Separate your egg yolks from the egg whites. Mix together farmer’s cheese, egg yolks, sugar, semolina, lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds with an electric mixer until well blended. In a separate bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold them into the cheese mixture.

Pour the mixture into your springform pan and set it inside a larger roasting pan filled with 1″ water. This technique called “bain marie” helps to evenly distribute heat when cooking delicate foods like cheesecakes and custards. I find it produces much lighter texture in cheesecakes as it infuses them with additional moisture which also helps with preventing cracks.

Bake at 320 F/160C  for 60-65 minutes until the edges are lightly browned and the centre is nearly set. Turn the heat off and leave in the oven for additional 20-30 minutes. If your cheesecake still cracks, don’t worry and cover it up with something pretty! Cool completely in the refrigerator.

I used fresh figs instead of dried fruits that are traditionally used in Easter Paskha and drizzled them with a touch of  dark and deep flavoured chestnut honey I brought from my last trip to Italy. An experiment that turned out to be a true winner. I couldn’t be happier with the end result. 🙂

Lemon Vanilla Cheesecake with Figs and Honey

Lemon Scented Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Figs and Honey

My Honey Valentine, Russian Honey and Cream Cake “Medovik” or Fire and Ice

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Follow my blog with BloglovinHoney and Mascarpone Cream Cake "Medovik" with Caramel Flames

It’s Sunday and Valentine’s Day is long gone, but the leftover cake is still in my fridge and tastes better than ever. I love Valentine’s Day so much and I could care less that it’s been commercialised and turned into a sappy holiday with poorly written cards and tasteless teddies all over the place. I love the day that could be unashamedly ALL about my love for the most amazing man I know. We usually don’t go out on Valentine’s day, we made this pact on a V Day many years ago when we were still students living in Minneapolis and unable to get into any restaurants because of the reservations and waiting and pre-set menus…all the stuff that makes the day uncool. After being turned down by so many restaurants we wound up at the Olive Garden close to 10 pm too tired to enjoy the food, we agreed to never go out on the Valentine’s Day but stay in and still make the day completely out of the ordinary.

This year I decided to re-create our 10th anniversary celebration in France. Everything on the menu was a replica of our dinner in a tiny restaurant in Paris tucked away from the tourist area. We sat outside for hours while the rain kept pounding on the roof of the awning, there was not one person speaking English in view, the food was exquisite, the night was decidedly perfect.

How does my Russian cake fit into this? It doesn’t really but it’s an incredibly tasty treat that I never made for Brad, so there was my chance to rectify the situation.

I am starting with the dessert but there will be more posts, so come back if you like to know what kind of food you get served in France!

Back to the Honey Cake. The Russian name for it is “Medovik” and the first time I made it I was 13 or 14 when this cake was the “it cake”  in Russia. The recipe was being passed on from one household to another. It was impossible to have any sort of celebration without Medovik crowning the meal. It was so common that after a while it didn’t seem special anymore. I am glad I re-discovered this treasure because despite it’s simplicity of ingredients and the method of preparation the end result is far from plain.

Honey and Cream Cake "Medovik"

8 layers of honey goodness with creamy filling in between and adorned with caramel flames, this cake was a perfect finish to our romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day! Caramel flames is not the traditional decor for this cake but I wanted to add a little pizzazz to the special occasion cake and also  try my hand at making caramel. It turned out to be such a fun process, needless to say I was very pleased with the result.

Ingredients for cake:

  • Butter- 5 tbsp./70 gr
  • Sugar 1 cup
  • Honey- 2 tbsp. ( I prefer dark honey as it has richer taste. I used chestnut honey for my cake)
  • Eggs-3 large
  • Vanilla- 2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1tsp.
  • Vodka (although optional you wouldn’t believe me the cake was Russian if it didn’t call for vodka ;-))- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt-1/2 tsp.
  • Flour- 3 cups

Ingredients for the filling:

  • Creme fraiche- 2 cups
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla bean (seeds scraped out) or vanilla essence-1

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • Mascarpone cheese (cold)-1 cup/250 gr
  • Whipping cream/Double Cream-1/2 cup
  • Icing Sugar- 1 cup
  • Vanilla Bean or essence

Ingredients for the Caramel Flames:

  • Sugar ( I used half brown and half white)-1 cup
  • Lemon Juice- 1/2 tsp.

Method for the cake:

This cake preparation method is quite different from what you might be used to but don’t let it deter you from giving it a go because the result is stunning and you will be able to brag about making this authentic Russian cake to all your friends.

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Set your double boiler or a large pot filled 2/3 with water and a glass or metal bowl over it on the medium heat. Melt butter, sugar and honey in the bowl. In a separate bowl beat eggs and vanilla and pour the mixture in the double boiler while mixing the whole time (I use electric mixer) to avoid ending up with scrambled egg! Then add vodka, baking soda, salt and 2 cups of flour, continue mixing for a few minutes until the dough starts to thicken and come away from the edges of the bowl. Take it off the heat and add the last cup of flour, mix well. Be careful as the dough will be hot. Allow it to cool for a couple of minutes and then knead it with your hands until your get smooth, pasta like dough. What you are looking for is a cookie dough rather than a cake batter.

Divide into 8 equal parts and cover with a kitchen towel to avoid drying out. The cake layers will be baked separately on baking trays and then cut into neat circles using a 7″ cake pan, tart pan or, in my case, a pan lid as a template.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out a thin circle slightly larger than 7″, transfer on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 4-5 min. Watch closely as the cake layers burn quickly. Roll out the next layer while the previous one is baking. That is why you need to have 2 baking trays on the go. Remove from the over when golden brown and cut out a circle while still hot as the layers will turn into crisp biscuits in a couple of minutes. (Traditionally the scraps from the cake are turned into crumbs and pressed into cake sides and the top for the decoration. However, I decided to go the different route and use a stunning caramel piece for the top of my cake.) Cool on the cooling rack. Repeat the process until all 8 layers are done.

Filling:

Beat creme fraiche (can be substituted with sour cream) with whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved and it’s doubled in volume. Fill all 8 cake layers except for the top and the sides.

Frosting: 

Once again I’ve changed the frosting as in the original cake the above filling is used for the outside of the cake as well and later reinforced with the cake crumbs. Since I decided to go crumb free and wanted my cake to look a dinner date worthy, I’ve used a mascarpone frosting similar to the one I’ve used for Meringue Mascarpone Cake.

Beat cold mascarpone with icing sugar, vanilla and whip cream until stiff. Decorate the sides and the top of the cake with mascarpone frosting.

It needs to be noted that the cake is best served 24 hours after it’s made which is perfect when you are making a big meal as your dessert is already taken care of! A full day in the fridge allows all of those crisp layers to soften and soak all the wonderful flavours from the filling and the frosting.

Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"

Caramel Flames:

Mix sugar with lemon juice in a saucepan, set the saucepan on medium heat and don’t stir until the edges start to bubble up, then start stirring until all the crystals melted, sugar looks clear and deep amber colour. Take it off the heat and put the bottom of the pan in ice cold water to stop it from cooking immediately but don’t keep it there for too long or the caramel will harden before you have a chance to work with it.

Drizzle caramel with a spoon on parchment paper  that was previously sprayed with an oil spray, let it set. Then break up the hardened caramel and decorate your cake in any way you like.

Caramel

Caramel flames are best to be set on the top of the cake right before serving. You can have them made beforehand and pop them on top as you get ready to serve dessert. Russian Honey Cake "Medovik"