Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Russian Honey Cake and Headache Foods

Russian Honey Cake

Looking at the photo you probably think this is an ordinary honey cake, cut across and filled with cream. Russian honey cake is quite different from any other cake that I have made,  even different from the Armenian Cake.

Russian honey cake batter is similar to a cookie batter, no milk is used and the consistency is similar to cookie dough. The dough is rolled out relatively thinly and then baked. You end up with something resembling large cookies. The ‘cookies’ are layered with cream and allowed to rest for many hours. As a result the cookies become soft like soggy biscuits, nice soggy biscuits, not the kind associated with British ‘tradition’! Sorry for mentioning this.

The texture of the Russian honey cake is fantastic. Some of the moisture from the cream filling goes into the cake, softening the cake and firming the cream.

The near perfect layers looks like something that only professional bakers can achieve. Obviously not, if I can do it. This cake is really quick and easy to assemble The recipe is available here.

Today's Favourite Photo
Cookies with chocolate dulce de leche

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: Care2
A revealing article discussing three foods that cause headaches, one of which is a liquid.

One of the biggest triggers of headache is cheese, specifically the aged varieties. Cheese is high in an enzyme called tyramine, an amino acid known to raise blood pressure, which can contribute to headaches. Tyramine forms from the breakdown of protein in foods, so the longer a food has aged, the greater the amount of tyramine present. Blue or moldy cheeses, Brie, Muenster, Parmesan, and cheddar tend to be the worst offenders.

Other foods that contain tyramine are processed and aged meat products (like salami, pepperoni, and hot dogs), pickles, fava beans, avocados, and most kinds of nuts.

Red Wine
Red wine negatively affects so many people that “red wine headache” is sometimes considered its own syndrome. Having sensitivity to red wine isn’t the same as developing a pounding headache after drinking a bottle or two. True red wine headaches usually develop within just a few minutes after someone drinks the wine. People used to blame the headaches on sulfites, the compounds added to wine to halt fermentation or act as preservatives. In the early eighties, the FDA began to require wine producers to state on their bottles whether their wines contained sulfites, since a small portion of the population is allergic to them, so many people assumed that sulfite allergies were what caused the infamous red wine headaches. In fact, sulfite allergies are much more likely to trigger breathing problems than headaches and are far less common than people think. Also, white wine usually contains more sulfites than red wine, yet few people complain of white wine headaches.

Some people think that it’s actually the mouth-puckering tannins that cause the reaction, since experiments have shown that tannins cause the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has been linked to headaches. Other scientists reject the tannin theory and blame histamines, which are present in red wine in levels twenty to two hundred times those of white wine.

Some food additives are known to trigger headaches in sensitive individuals. As with other triggers, scientists don’t know exactly what about nitrates, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and food colorings causes headaches, but their prevailing belief currently is that these substances increase blood flow to the brain. Headaches caused by additives tend to be slightly different than regular headaches. Those caused by MSG can result in pressure or a burning sensation in the face, neck, and chest, dizziness, and abdominal discomfort. Highly processed foods of any kind, such as Velveeta cheese or frozen TV dinners, also cause the same symptoms. Unlike migraines, which are usually felt on only one side of the head, headaches caused by food additives tend to occur on both sides.

Other foods that have been known to cause headaches include cultured dairy products, chocolate, dried or pickled fish, canned soup, nut butters, pudding and ice cream, freshly baked bread, dried fruit, overripe bananas, papayas, and any beverages containing caffeine.


  1. Hi, your Russian honey cake look awesome. Very delectable, the layering look very neat and nice.

    Thanks for sharing today's favourite photo and blog. :)

    Have a great week ahead,regards.

  2. I've heard of Czech honey cake and this Russian honey cake looks equally interesting!

    1. I've never heard of Czech honey cake, sounds related to the Russian one.

  3. Russia, Belorussia... You are travelling Eastern Europe recently a lot! I have heard about honey cakes, but have never tasted them. Yours looks extraordinary. You have really mastered the cake layering which I am still struggling with. The numbers of the thin layers is just impressive.
    As for the headache... Very interesting! I knew that tannins provoke headaches and in general coloured alcohol is bad; for example the darker the whisky the worst the hangover (but also really good whisky is never dark...). Anyway, the funny thing with sulfites is that first of all all the wines contain sulfites naturally. The addition of sulfites of course depends on the wine and on the producer. Very expensive Bordeaux wines have a huge amount of sulfites (I read recently a study in a wine magazine) and yet people tend to have headaches after drinking a 3 euro plonk and not a 300 euro bottle ;-) Even if I don't drink more than 3 glasses, if the wine is really bad and cheap, I have a huge hangover and I'm sure it's also related to the method of production and maybe the illicit sugar addition? (I wish I could test one day a 300 euro bottle too ;-) . I never have headache or hangover after a wise amount of good quality wine.
    I am surprised at avocado! I had a horrible headache yesterday (no wine!) and had a whole avocado on my own for dinner... No wonder I had to take some medication afterwards... The old cheese -related headache sounds incredible! Does it mean that the French have more headaches than say people in Sweden? People often joke that if MSG was so bad, most Chinese would have a constant headache because apparently in China it's used in most restaurants. I know some people are allergic to MSG.

    1. I know, two recipes in a row from that region. Not the next one though:(
      You should try it, its not difficult at all.
      I've heard about (and experienced) hangovers from colored spirits like whisky. It is really terrible. A friend used to say "whisky is very risky") But I guess it also depends on how much we drink - sometimes its more than it should be!
      I haven't done sufficient tests with good and bad wine. And in Sweden the cheapest wine costs about 6 euro - so unfortunately I can't test with the 3 euro plonks:) When I've drank cheap wine its usually in large volume and that gives hangover, irrespective of the tannins!
      I think the French should have more headaches - lot of cheese and wine. However with the economic situation wine/cheese consumption has declined, which is good news in a way:)

  4. The Russian Honey looks wonderful. We have a similar family recipe with chocolate wafers where it is left to sit and the cookies become moist. I am glad I am not too prone to headaches I adore cheese and wine!

  5. Sounds a bit similar and easier to make.

  6. That layered cookie is simply beautiful! A professional job, indeed!
    Oh my, my entire meal could be one big headache on a platter .... from soup to desserts! And all this while I've been blaming the weather.

    1. Thank you
      I think the weather has been getting a lot of flack, unfairly in some cases:)

  7. Oh no, from sissi's choc layer cake and now your honey layer cake.. i'm drooling! It's interesting the cake layers are like cookie batter.
    I have a friend who has headache from MSG and chocolate. It will be suffering if i cant take chocolate!

  8. It is interesting and unique - and it worked out well. Cookie like batter is easier to work with