A new month and a marvelous new cake. You’ll find it in the Bakeshop and at the Deli bearing the Hungarian name, Mézes Krémes (May-zesh Krem-esh), which means that it fits well with our ever-growing and ever more popular range of traditional Hungarian pastries.
First off, the cake itself is awesomely excellent. I’m not typically a big cake eater, but this one is seriously terrific. As in, I could eat a whole slice in about two minutes. It’s light and elegant with an exceptional caramelly honey frosting and filling. Mézes Krémes is four layers of tender, sweet honey sponge cake, lightly spiced with cinnamon, sandwiched between luscious layers of cream infused with “burnt” (i.e., caramelized) honey, dulce de leche, sour cream, and a hint of orange zest. For context, it’s said by those in the know to be as amazing as Dobos Torta.
The Origins of Mézes Krémes
Interestingly, in the way that all traditions move, weave, and evolve over time, this cake came to Hungary during the painful 20th century period of Soviet rule, from the end of WWII through to the 23rd of October 1989. In Russian, its name is Medovik (honey in Russian, is med. Bear is medved.) The cake was invented by a chef for the empress Elizabeth Alexeievna, wife of Tsar Alexander I, the tsar born at the time of the American Revolution and ruled until shortly after the founding of The Federal Republic of Central America. (Tsar Alexander’s death was followed by the revolt of liberal army officers in what came to be called the Decembrist Revolution, an event that’s probably now better known for the band). [Note from the Bakehouse: This cake continues to evolve over time! To create our version, we referenced a number of recipes and wove together pieces of many of them, including one of the most well-known, Michelle Pozine’s Russian Honey Cake.]
Its elegance makes it easy to imagine Mézes Krémes (or Medovik) being served—more likely in Russia with tea than coffee—in St. Petersburg back in the early 19th century while leaders argued over issues like the power of Napoleon in France (he invaded Russia in June of 1812) or the idea of ending serfdom (which didn’t happen in Russia until 1861).
There’s a wonderful subtle hint of bitterness that comes from the caramelization of the honey. You can eat it any time—great pairing with the Guatemalan coffee. I think it would be a beautiful addition to your breakfast table!
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Sign up for Ari’s Top 5 enewsletter to hear more from Ari every week!
- Order a Mézes Krémes Torta for pick-up at the Bakehouse.
- Read more about the history behind this cake.