“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy , not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
At the beginning of this year, I found myself thinking this year would be the year of change. I felt like things were going to be different, whether it be for the good or the bad. But I forgot one minor detail… change brings challenges.
I’ve met people that love change and others that hate it. I’m not the biggest fan. I often think to myself, I could get used to this and be comfortable and happy, but if we don’t invite change, our lives would become stagnant and we would just waste it. Being able to aim for something, even if you don’t achieve it, should be celebrated. We have a tendency to not try because we don’t want to face the challenges ahead, and “fail”.
I’ve learnt that we shouldn’t look at failure as a lack in our abilities but an opportunity for improvement. I often want to brush away my failures and pretend they never happened, but I think it’s important to understand that they make us who we are, “character building”, if you will.
I’ve never really thought about change, I’ve heard all the cliches and didn’t have a second thought. But for some reason, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I’m not saying that we should love change, but that we should welcome it even though we may fear the challenges ahead and the unknown. I was trying to find inspiration for what to bake and I stumbled upon this thing called a Russian Honey Cake. The number of layers and gorgeous rich amber colour of the cake drew me in. I was intrigued and wanted to try it out. It proved to be harder than I thought. But totally worth the struggle.
The cake has the texture of a cookie dunked in milk. It doesn’t sound that appetising, but believe me, it’s amazing. I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and the only thing I altered was putting less icing in the layers and using it as a pour over syrup.
Russian Honey Cake
170 g honey
100 g sugar
115 g unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups plain flour
Icing and filling
900 g sour cream
400 g sweetened condense milk
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare two baking trays, that will fit 22cm circles, with parchment paper.
- To make cookie dough: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, honey and butter over a medium heat. Once simmering, cook for 3-4 minutes, or till gets a faint shade darker. Whisk in baking soda. Remove from heat and set aside for 2-3 minutes.
- In a bowl, lightly beat eggs. Pouring slowly, whisk vigorously into the honey mixture into the saucepan, until combined.
- Stir in salt and vanilla and 3 cups of flour with a spoon, the mixture will become a thick dough. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until completely combined.
- Lightly flour your counter and divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Take one of the pieces and roll it between two layers of parchment paper. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and trim dough to a 22 cm circle. Set trimmings aside, to bake later.
- Place circle onto a tray, dock with a fork. Bake for 6-7 minutes, till slightly firm and it becomes slightly darker. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- While the first layer is baking, start on the second piece, so it’s ready to go into the oven once the first is baked. Repeat this process until all 8 layers are baked. Then bake trimmings, checking regularly, as they will bake at different times.
- To make the frosting, whisk sour cream and sweetened condensed milk together in a large bowl.
- Once cookie layers are cooled, dab some frosting on plate and stick first layer down. This will help to keep the cake centred on the plate. Use parchment paper to tuck underneath the first layer, this will make it easier to clean the plate later.
- Scoop frosting onto the centre of your first layer, leaving at least a 3 cm border. Place the second layer on top, continue until all layers staked. It will get very messy.
- Place cake inside the fridge for at least 2 hours, then recentre the layers and scoop extra frosting back onto the cake. Place cake back into fridge to chill overnight.
- Next day, grind the cookie trimmings into a fine crumb.
- Take cake out of the fridge and do one last clean up. Use cookie crumbs to decorate on top and around the cake, with a spoon or clean brush.
- Remove the parchment paper from the plate, this will help clean up most of the mess around the cake.
– Recipe from ‘Smitten Kitchen’