i almost can’t believe i’ve already baked along with the great british bake off for five weeks running. then again, one thing i’ve never been is a quitter, so……
this week is alternative ingredients week, something i rather have experience with. from time to time i’ll bake something vegan or sugar-less, preferring to use honey as my substitute. so when i saw that the first challenge was a sugarless cake, i needn’t see anything more. i knew it had to be a honey cake, and what better than a czech medovnik? i think i felt a little bit like ugne this week, choosing the most ambitious project of mine to date and even deciding to go ahead and make a sugarless (honey) custard creme icing! uh oh.
i have to say that the actual bake itself went well. i was a bit disappointed that i could not keep my cake to the timeline (2 ½ hours) from the show that i like to challenge myself by. but damn, that custard. because of choosing custard, it went from a two hour challenge to a multi-hour one.
traditional medovnik is a multi-layered (as in 7 to 9 layers!), honey-flavored cake, which has a soft consistency and a nice brown color. unfortunately, far too late, i realized where it gets its distinctive color– the caramelization of the sugar while making the batter. duh-doy. needless to say, with honey alone, i did not achieve this color, but it was a nice honey color and the batter smelled pleasantly of honeycomb cereal! (below, all of my layers cooling)
the layers were no prob. i made them round by pressing them into flat rounds, the size of a small plate, onto a stencil of sorts ontop of baking paper. then, in twos, into the oven they went for six minutes at about 185°C (fan oven). when out, they were the consistency of a biscuit (cookie), which was a little unexpected.
but oh, that custard. when finished cooking, it was the consistency of egg nog and i popped it into the fridge for a couple of hours. eventually it thickened a little, but it really took until an overnight cooling and thickening to achieve the consistency i wanted initially. i would’ve failed bake-off time limits miserably. no more custard!
as medovnik has a crumbly topping, i chose one imperfect cake layer, crumbled it up, and baked it again until drier before sprinkling on the assembled cake then topping with toasted walnut halves. then into the fridge it goes again.
the taste test… oh boy, was i nervous! i was hoping to bring it along to a game night if successful.
alex, the impartial baked good tester’s take…
it is… very dense. good flavor, though.
yeah, it’s definitely much harder to slice through than a medovnik should be. a soft biscuit consistency.
honestly, i am not very happy with the result and i am positive that paul would tell me it tasted a little bland… there’s no way i could take it with me to a game night, let alone take such a strange medovnik to a czech’s house!
if i’m going to eat a slice of cake, i want it to be a “can’t put the fork down” kind of flavor, as i’m sure you would too! the recipe i followed was definitely in need of some salt. not pleased. the custard, being so thin, basically just melted between the layers. the honey vanilla flavor of the custard, though, was superb… i hope mary would’ve given me some props for a delicious sugarless custard!
it did, however, taste great with the extra custard sauce drizzled on top of a slice!
so, it didn’t go completely my way this week, but i will be more careful with the choice for next week and make sure not to unnecessarily uncomplicate things as ugne knows, it can be one’s downfall!