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Traditional Ukrainian Honey Cake – Recipe

Honey cake variety arrangementUkrainians (as also  many other Europeans) use honey in cooking, baking, and home remedies to treat almost anything.  My dad would always concoct some home remedy with the use of honey, but then again, one of his hobbies was beekeeping.

I love honey cake, but especially more so around the holidays.  There is something very soothing about having hot herbal tea with a piece of honey cake, on a cold winter day, which is perfect around Christmas.

Here is my favorite recipe for a honey cake, which I call “Never Fail”, as it never has failed me yet.

You can use a little bit of creativity, and turn one plain honey sheet cake into  three different cakes.

Honey Sheet Cake

Original honey sheet cake.

Honey Sheet Cake - separated into thirds

One third of the honey cake is iced with chocolate ganache and walnuts, second part will remain plain, and third part will also be iced with chocolate ganache.

Honey Sheet Cake - Chocolate ganache topping with chopped walnuts,white icing with Irish Caramel Cream liqourHoney Sheet Cake - Chocolate ganache topping, and chocolate rum fillingHoney Sheet Cake - original and plain with powdered sugar

Once the three sections are separated, the plain one is sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving. One section is layered with two layers of white frosting flavored with Bailey’s Irish Caramel Cream liquor,  and the third section is layered with one layer of chocolate icing flavored with rum.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey (wild flower, or clover, not buckwheat)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1/4 tsp allspice, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chopped nuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


  1. Beat eggs and sugar until thick.
  2. Add vegetable oil, honey, and sour cream.
  3. Beat well.
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
  5. Gradually mix it into the liquids.
  6. Add vanilla, and mix well.
  7. Grease and flour two loaf pans, or a 9 x 13 sheet cake pan (I use the sheet cake pan).
  8. Preheat oven to  350 F.
  9. Pour batter into the pans. Sprinkle nuts over top (optional).
  10. Bake on the middle oven rack for 40-50 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven, and cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from pans onto wire rack, and cool completely.
  13. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar before cutting to serving pieces.

If you decide to make it into a torte, this is the time to cut it into layers, and spread you favorite filling.

Wrap the torte in foil, or saran wrap, and keep it refrigerated.

Honey cakes also freeze very well.


TIP: You can turn this plain honey cake into a torte, by cutting horizontally in half, or more layers, and layer it with your favorite butter icing.  You can frost the sides as well, but it will be fine just leaving them plain, and pouring chocolate or vanilla glaze over the top and letting it drip down the sides.

10 thoughts on “Traditional Ukrainian Honey Cake – Recipe”

  1. Yelena says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. My cake is baking as we speak. The batter tasted delicious and my house smells fantastic. I think this is the cake that I remember from my childhood in Kiev.

  2. Suburban Grandma says:

    You are most welcome. Merry Christmas. Honey cake also reminds me of my childhood Christmas….I loved eating my honey cake like bread…spread thinly with butter…:-)
    This recipe is very easy, but some ovens vary in temperature retention, so you need to use the “clean toothpick” test…

  3. Yelena says:

    Merry Christmas! The cake was fantastic- best recipe out there. We’re baking another one right now. Thank you for restoring a family favorite.

  4. Suburban Grandma says:

    You are soooo sweet and kind. Thank you for taking your time to leave a follow up comment. Enjoy your honey cake and please pass it on to others.

  5. cher says:

    Can I replace oil with softened butter? Is it possible to decrease the amount of sugar? Will it affect the texture of cake if, for example, I reduce oil or butter to 1/2-3/4 cup or reduce sugar to 1/4-1/2 cup? I have another recipe of honey cake (like cookies with sour cream filling) but am looking for a more ‘cakey’, spongy honey cake that can even be rolled. By the way I tried your other honey cake (7 layer honey cake sheet) recipe and it was great though I did reduce sugar to 1/4 cup and honey to only 1/2 cup and used butter instead of oil. Thanks a lot!

  6. Suburban Grandma says:

    I think butter makes the cake more crumbly, and oil keeps it more spongy. Reducing sugar should not affect the cake texture too much, but it will make it less sweet of course…Sounds to me like you have your ingredient alterations under control….so I am sure your cake will be a success, and please share your experience with all of us. Thank you.

  7. Rino says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! Would you be able to share your chocolate ganache, white frosting, and chocolate icing recipe as well? I love the idea of making three different parts!

  8. Suburban Grandma says:

    White frosting – you can follow directions on the powdered sugar bag, or my favorite cream cheese frosting under this link:

    Chocolate Ganache frosting:

    Chocolate Icing would be the same as the regular vanilla (on the powdered sugar bag), plus adding some cocoa powder or melted chocolate.
    Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Have fun making the honey cakes..:-) I am making some for Christmas as well.

  9. Irena says:

    The honey cake is delicious , but I was hoping to find a recipe that is close to the one that my uncle made when I was a kid. Thank you for the recipe, Irena

  10. Suburban Grandma says:

    Thank you for trying my honey cake recipe, and enjoying the taste.
    Sorry, it is not the one you were looking for…hopefully you will stumble upon it in the future.

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