This past weekend back home, Mom decided to throw a spring tea party. I was all about it since tea is my jam, and I love nothing more than being fancy with china, mini sandwiches and lots of carbs, and so drove home to help. Well, the tea happened amid the so-called-spring weather of freezing rain and snow flurries. So…that was cool.
Mom and I hashed out the menu for weeks and decided on a lot of traditionals with some Buddha bits thrown in. More on the rest in a few weeks, but for today, I’m bringing you one of the desserts we made, a Viennese Honey Cake.
About this cake. This is one of those grandma cakes that Mom inherited and changed in the best possible way- by adding Kalhua to it. With no need for me to make it any better, I’m bringing her your recipe. It is…a bit labor intensive due to the fact that it’s layer intensive, as most Viennese pastries and tortes are, but it’s 100% worth it. We typically eat this only at Christmas time, and have had it every holiday for as long as I can remember, so to get it a quarter of the way through the year was an added treat for me. And sometimes it’s all about me.
The cake essentially has three parts: a creamy layer, a cookie and a chocolate frosting for the top. Make the pieces in that order and you’ll be good to go. I’ve done my best to document the process, so thanks to Mom for doing all the work on this one.
The good thing about all of this hoopla is that it can be done in parts in advance. The dough freezes well, so you can do this weeks ahead.
Clean it up, slice it up and you have the perfect accompaniment to tea (or coffee)! Mom does this in four layers, but if you have a larger pan, you can do it in three. This Viennese Honey Cake also, of course, works splendidly for those holiday dessert trays. I surely know.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 TB milk
- 3 TB honey
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 6 TB cream of wheat
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup sweet unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter
- 6 ounces dark or milk chocolate
- 1 TB instant espresso, dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup Kahlua
- First, make the filling. In a small saucepan, add the cream of wheat and milk. Let cook until thick, let cool, cover and refrigerate until cold. Once it’s cold, in a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Fold in the cold cream of wheat, mix until combined and set aside or refrigerate until you’re ready to fill the cake.
- Next, make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, the honey and the milk. Slowly add in the flour and baking soda until well combined.
- Divide the dough into four even pieces. Press each one flat, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least four hours, but it can really meld for a few days if you want.
- After the dough has chilled appropriately, bring it back up to room temperature and preheat the oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Place this on the bottom of an inverted 9 x 13 pan. Cut the dough and patch it up so that the cookie fits perfectly.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove immediately from the pan to cool on a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
- While the cookie sheets are cooling, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and espresso. Slowly add the chocolate, then the sugar and beat until all is thoroughly combined.
- To assemble: Place one cookie sheet on a flat surface. Brush with Kahlua. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the top. Brush both sides of cookie #2 with Kahlua and place atop the other. Spread another 1/3 filling. Repeat with cookie #3 and spread remaining filling. Brush the bottom of cookie #4 and place on top. On top of the final cookie, spread the chocolate frosting. Let the whole thing set in the refrigerator, about 1 hour.
- To “clean it up”, with a serrated knife, trip the four sides of the cake into clean even lines. Cut the cake into diamonds and serve at room temperature.
- The parts can be made in advance.
- Cake freezes well.
- Can be made into three rather than four layers, using a larger pan.
Written after some DWTS, Disney.