Recipes

Lucky Number Cake

This traditional Ukrainian honey cake, with its cookie-like layers, helped Nataliia win the title of Star Baker on Cake Week.

This traditional honey cake, with its cookie-like layers, helped Nataliia win Star Baker on Cake Week

Eight really was Nataliia's lucky number during Season 3's Cake Week. (Geoff George)

Traditional Eastern European honey cake consists of many thin layers of a dense batter that rolls out and bakes up like cookies. The cake is built with a cream or buttercream filling, and as the cake sits the moisture from the filling helps to soften the cookie-like layers, turning it into a moist, delicious cake. You can make a stencil out of any number you like, or just cut the batter into 8-inch circles and be creative with your cream and fruit fillings!

This cake helped Nataliia win Star Baker on The Great Canadian Baking Show's Cake Week

Ingredients

Honey Cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 ½ cups flour

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • Gel food colouring

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • ½ cup finely chopped white chocolate
  • 1 cup 35% cream, divided
  • 1 ½ cups cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Decoration:

  • 2 cups raspberries

Preparation

Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Sketch desired number onto a piece of parchment paper and cut number out to form a stencil. The overall number shape should be approximately 12x7-inches, the strokes of the number about 2 ½ inches wide. 

Cut twenty-four 1 ½-inch parchment squares for the roses.  

Cake: 

Combine the sugar, butter, honey and eggs in a large heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda.

Add flour and stir together to form a clay-like dough. Divide the dough in three, wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Heat oven to 350F degrees. 

Turn out one dough onto a lightly floured pre-cut parchment. Roll to a scant ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired number using stencil. Keep stencil on parchment and place on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Bake in batches until dough is firm and edges have begun to brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Roses:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, over gently simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt until sugar is completely dissolved; about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high until mixture is glossy, thick and cooled to room temperature. 

With mixer on low, add butter one tablespoon at a time; incorporate completely before adding more. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk on high for 1 minute. Divide the buttercream into bowls depending on desired number of colours. Colour as desired and transfer each into piping bags fitted with a petal tip. 

To pipe roses, squeeze a small dollop of coloured buttercream onto flower nail. Place a parchment square overtop. Turning flower nail, angle tip 45 degrees toward centre of parchment with the thin edge of tip facing up. Pipe a small bud. Pipe three petals around bud, arching up above bud and overlapping buds halfway, still angling toward centre. Repeat layers once more. Remove parchment onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares and buttercream. Chill the flowers in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes. 

[Tip: Search online for videos that can help you to learn to pipe different flowers using different tips, they will work with this buttercream recipe]

Cream Cheese Icing:

Place the chocolate in small heatproof bowl. Bring ¼ cup cream just to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes before stirring until melted. Set aside to cool. 

Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the icing sugar and vanilla.

Beat the remaining cream in a medium bowl with a hand mixer until stiff peaks. Stir the cooled chocolate mixture into cream cheese until combined. Gently fold in whipped cream. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip.  

Pipe a few small dollops of icing on a serving platter to anchor the first layer of cake and press to secure. Pipe ½-inch round dollops around outer edge of number, about the size of the raspberries. Place a line of raspberries along the inside edge of the icing dollops. Finish with an inner border of icing dollops. Top with second cake layer. Repeat piping and raspberries. Finish with final cake and cover top with cream cheese icing dollops. Finish with buttercream roses.  

The texture of the cake layers are at their best chilled 3 to 4 hours before serving, but can be served immediately.

Yield: Makes 10-12 servings (1 cake)

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