Aaand our next stop is Ukraine!
For this country’s baked good, I went to a friend and former coworker of mine, Anna, who is Ukrainian born, but now living here in Chicago. She directed me to her own fantastic cooking blog Blondie’s Cakes & Things, where she has a recipe for a Ukrainian honey cake. As far as authenticity, I don’t have a good sense on it. Anna said she was trying to replicate a Ukranian honey cake that her mother used to like, and while she said it wasn’t perfect, it was close, though probably wouldn’t have had as many spices in it. However, other recipes I found also had spices in the ingredients. And yet others did not. I also saw versions of this cake that were made in a tube pan or bundt pan, and others were made in thin layers, similarly to the Hungarian Dobos Torte I made a while ago. So really, I have no idea what is authentic and what’s not. So I said “Whatever!” and made Anna’s recipe. And it was delicious, so I’m satisfied. 😉
I was intrigued by the idea of a cake sweetened with honey, I’ve never had anything like that in cake form. It was a pretty unique flavor for me, and I really liked it. Unsurprisingly, you can definitely taste the honey. The ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg are nice flavor additions to the honey, and the lemon glaze is nicely reminiscent of like lemon-honey tea. Its nicely moist cake, and with the flavors, it would be a nice holiday dessert.
These honey cakes, if not made in layers, seem to ususally be made in tube pan and sometimes a bundt pan. I only have one bundt pan, but I feel like I need to get a new one, or a different kind…cuz I have used this one so much it makes for lots of repetition on this blog ha!…But alas. It’s what I got! But I should also get another one that is easier to grease and flour because only ONCE, despite my best attempts to grease it up, has the cake (or whatever I was making) come out cleanly! I never have good luck with bundt pans! Bah.
This recipe also requires a bit of coffee, but my problem was that no one in my house are coffee drinkers (but we have a “tea station” in our dining room because tea is awesome), so we don’t have a coffee maker. Luckily though, I have been fortunate enough to have met a close friend who is a coffee connoisseur, and had an extra mini stove top moka pot that he gave me, so I used it twice, which gave me just the right amount of coffee!
And since its the holiday season, I had to put on some festive music as I baked. 🙂 There’s this radio station back home in south east Iowa that I always used to listen to, 104.5 KDAT, and they played 24/7 Christmas music from Thanksgiving til Christmas. Since I’m one of the people who loves that, and has nostalgic attachment to that radio station, I had to stream it as my source of holiday music 🙂
Alright, here are some pictures of the process!
Some Ukrainian current events as of December 2016!
-On the 17th of this month, a monument to the victims of the Holodomor was raised in Cagliari, a city in Italy. This is the first monument in western Europe dedicated to the Holodmor victims of Ukraine. It is a sculpture of five women, sculpted out of stone, made by an Italian artist. More on that here..
-A Ukrainian teacher Hanna Dudich is up for a prestigious, world-wide teaching award, the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize . More than 20,000 teachers from 179 countries were nominated, and Dudich has made it to the top 50. The prize is 1 million USD. Here’s a quote from the article “The award was set up three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.” The top ten candidates will be announced in Feb 2017. Good job to Hannah Dudich for being a good teacher! Teachers are soooo underappreciated. More on this here.
–HERE is a page on CNN with some basic facts about Ukraine, and a simple timeline of Ukraine’s history, which I found helpful due to my lack of solid knowledge on the nation’s history.
-This isn’t current I guess, but I remember seeing this video of a contestant on Ukraine’s Got Talent in 2009, who did a sand-drawing as her act. I don’t even know Ukraine’s history very well, and even I found it moving, as it goes through and illustrates Ukraine’s troubled past. It’s really well done and fascinating, watch it here.
-Some fun facts about Ukraine! 1. Not counting Russia, Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe! 2. The McDonalds by the train station in Kiev is claimed to be the 3rd busiest in the world. 3. Arsenalna, a metro station in Kiev, is the deepest in the world at 105.5 meters underground. and you can read more of these facts here!
Again, I got this recipe from my friend Anna at Blondie’s Cakes, here’s the page: HERE. Be sure to check out that original post, with a bit more on this recipe. Also check out the other delectable recipes she has on her blog!!
Ukrainian Honey Cake
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour, soda, baking powder, spices, and salt together into a bowl. Whip the eggs until thick and light, about 5 minutes, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in honey, coffee, and oil. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low until combined. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake ~ 30min, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes and unmold.
Mix together all the icing ingredients until it forms a thin paste and drizzle over the cake to give it that honey tea with lemon flavor.