Melbourne's Best Snacks: All Are Welcome's medovnik

Published on 17 November 2021

Photo: All Are Welcome's medovnik (illustration: All Are Welcome)

When Russian-born pastry chef Boris Portnoy was thinking about cakes for his new bakery, he wanted to include some from the “lesser-known canon”. Enter the medovnik, the multi-layered honey cake covered in buttercream, native to several countries in eastern Europe including Russia and the Czech Republic.

Heritage-wise, it makes sense, but even without the personal connection for Portnoy, this is a cake of substantial merit. For starters, there’s the sculptural precision of its 10 layers. Then there’s the honey (“medovnik” means “honey cake”) that infuses each of them, Tasmanian leatherwood adding a unique southern-hemisphere gum-flower intensity to the mix. There’s further beauty in the dulce de leche that flavours the buttercream sandwiched between the layers and coating the outside of the cake. Then there’s the texture. Rolled thin before baking, the cake’s layers have a crunchy texture more akin to a biscuit than sponge cake that’s particularly satisfying to eat in conjunction with the soft, rich buttercream. 

The final secret to its success? The cake is assembled and then set in the fridge overnight so that the ingredients can “age” and impart a depth of flavour that, in fairness, should move the medovnik into the better-known canon.

All Are Welcome, 190 High St, Northcote, all-are-welcome.com.

By Michael Harden

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