Freedom from Torture - Behind the recipe: Sahar and Russian honey cake

Behind the recipe: Sahar and Russian honey cake

Sahar Delawar’s taste in food is as varied as her family story. Read more about her below and click here for the recipe for her Medovik Tort (will you be making your own for Bake Freedom?).

Born in Afghanistan, she spent her childhood in the Russian republic of Kyrgyzstan (now an independent republic) before emigrating to the US with her family. It was a big step, geographically and culturally, from the mountains of central Asia to the prairies of the American mid-west, but her family food traditions have travelled across hemispheres and continents.

“The love of food and baking is so important for our family” says Sahar. “When we moved to the US I remember my mother holding down two jobs, so my sister and I, only ten and eleven years old, learned how to cook and prepare meals. We made traditional Afghan food and Russian favourites. When the original ingredients weren’t available we adapted with new ones. It was easier when we moved to Pennsylvania where there was more of an Afghan community.”

Now Sahar is studying at St Lawrence University in upstate New York. She is in her third year of a four-year undergraduate degree in Arts and Government, majoring in Government and Peace Studies with minors in Arabic and Global Studies.

She has also been active in extra-curricular activities, raising funds for Eurphates, a charitable organisation working on peacebuilding among communities in the Middle East. She has helped to raise $3,000 to assist Syrian refugees resettled in the US.

St Lawrence is a small college and around eight percent of the students have international backgrounds. They regularly meet up for communal tea and food, contributing dishes from their homelands. Everyone is welcome and it is a good way to build bonds between students.

During her six week internship with the fundraising team at Freedom from Torture, Sahar has undertaken a variety of tasks, from stuffing envelopes and data entry to preparatory work for our Bake for Freedom Week.

When she made a Russian honey cake for our team members, we loved it so much we devoured the lot. So it is appropriate that she has left us a delicious legacy with this wonderful recipe - a gift for Bake for Freedom.

Sahar explains: “In Russian this is known as Medovik [honey] cake. Families have their own version – this recipe comes from my aunt. I love this cake, it’s got everything – honey, milk, butter, cream – not much sugar. It is so rich and tasty – it gives a little bit of luxury to everyday life. And although it sounds complicated anyone can make it."

Thank you Sahar for sharing your baking story for Bake Freedom. Find out how you can get involved here.

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