A simple honey cake is an old fashioned tea cake that has few ingredients, is easy to bake, and showcases the complex flavor of honey!
Honey cakes are popular around the world ~ some are extremely complicated, while others, like this one, are plain and simple. The reason these cakes are so popular is crystal clear ~ the flavor of honey is unparalleled!
In contrast to honey cakes that include coffee and orange juice, along with spices and sometimes nuts, this cake takes a simpler route. It’s made with honey only, no other sweeteners or add ins. But there’s a limit to how much honey you can add to a cake recipe and still have it bake up with the right texture, so you may want to add a drizzle of honey to your slice, or serve with a honey whipped cream (recipe below) to emphasize that wonderful flavor.
what you’ll need for a honey cake
- this is the star of the cake and it’s a great opportunity to explore different varieties. Skip the plastic honey bear this time and try something new, it’s essential to use a strong flavored honey to get the full effect of this cake. I love to use a local honey.
- vegetable oil
- any mild vegetable oil.
- sour cream or plain yogurt
- cornstarch has a tenderizing effect on cakes.
- salt, baking soda and baking powder
- almond or vanilla extract
- just a touch. Too much will detract from the honey flavor.
- powdered sugar for dusting
- whipping cream, optional
decorate your cake with powdered sugar lace!
This pretty effect couldn’t be simpler, you might recognize the technique from my Gluten Free Tangerine Cake. You can read more details in my post about how to decorate a cake with lace.
- Locate a vintage doily, old scrap of lace, or other stencil.
- Lay it across the cooled cake, making sure it’s nice and flat against the cake surface.
- Dust the entire surface liberally with powdered sugar using a sieve.
- Carefully peel away the lace and…voila!
if you mess up…
The good news is, even if you do mess this up, you can always just go over the surface of the cake with another dusting of powdered sugar and no one will be the wiser!
what to expect
This is a cake in the European tradition, so it is a little different from American cakes. It’s not as sweet (surprising, I know, considering it’s a honey cake!) and a little denser than, say, our boxed mix cakes. This one is perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea, and is not a decadent dessert.
- You can add a bit of spice to your cake with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, or any combination thereof.
- Vanilla will work in place of the almond extract ~ just don’t overdo it, you want the honey to be the star flavor.
- Top with sliced almonds before baking.
- Drizzle sliced cake with honey for serving.
- You can serve the cake with whipped cream and/or berries if you like.
- You can use butter in place of oil.
- Want more honey flavor and a sweeter cake? Make a glaze by melting 2 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup honey in a small saucepan. Brush this glaze liberally over the cake while it is still warm from the oven. You may not need all of the glaze. Note: if you choose this option the lacy powdered sugar topping will not work.
tips for making honey cake
This is a very simple cake and the basic baking rules apply.
- Make sure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature. I use a hanging oven thermometer which gives me the confidence to know exactly where the temperature is at. The reality is that most of us are cooking with ovens that are not 100% accurate so this is important with delicate recipes like cakes.
- A good nonstick cake pan is essential. Make sure yours has sides at least 2 inches tall. If you’re using grandma’s bakeware it might not be suitable. My recommendation? Get two sets of these pans and you’ll be prepared for most any cake!
- This cake bakes rather quickly, so be sure not to over bake or it can dry out.
we love honey!
- Honey Meyer Lemon Curd
- Honey Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Sage
- Buckwheat Honey and Caraway Rolls
- Honey Ice Cream Recipe
- Honey Spice Hazelnut Cookies
- Easy Baked Brie with Figs and Honey
- Honey Jalapeño Cornbread
- 9" non-stick cake pan (with at least 2" sides)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp honey. I recommend a good strongly flavored honey.
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (you can also use vanilla)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
honey whipped cream, optional
- 1 cup cold whipping cream
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray your 9" cake pan with baking spray and line with a circle of parchment at the bottom.
- Whisk the oil and honey until well combined.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the almond extract.
- With the mixer on low, blend in the cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Then mix in the flour. When the flour is almost all incorporated add in the sour cream and mix just until combined, don't over beat. Note: if you are using a stand mixer I always finish with a silicone spatula to make sure everything has gotten up from the bottom and evenly incorporated.
- Turn the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter on it. Mine took 33 minutes, to be exact.
- Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before going around the edges with a thin offset knife to loosen it. Then turn out from the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
- Dust the cooled cake with confectioner's sugar and serve with a drizzle of honey or honey whipped cream.
honey whipped cream
- Whip the cold cream with the honey until soft peaks form. Add a bit more honey if you like. Note: don't try to whip to stiff peaks, the honey will cause curdling if you take it too far.
Questions and Reviews
Great cake, I modified it by placing fresh figs slices on the bottom and pouring batter over them. Then glaze with honey after you turn it out.
Love that idea, figs go so well with honey.
A pinch of mixed spice in the honey works wonders.
Your honey cake looks beautiful and the recipe read la delicious. Can’t wait to try it.