This blog post has been a long time coming. It’s hard to believe that my last post was in January! It’s been a hell of a year – upheavals, changes, and barely time enough to breathe let alone formulate, test, photograph and share any new recipes. But now, life has mercifully calmed down, and I can get back to my poor, neglected and much missed corner of the internet.
One thing that has not changed throughout the craziness is my persistent, deep-seated need to bake. I do it for a living, study it in school, but increasingly feel the pull to do it on my own terms, in my chaotic and messy share house kitchen. Everything I post here has been methodically baked and re-baked, every minor tweak to the recipe tested to the point where my housemates just cannot. eat. any. more. cake. This recipe is no different, except that it has been declared ‘the best one yet’ by my discerning, cake-weary housemates.
The cake itself is a crumbly vanilla base spiked with honey and complex with spices. A tangy, savoury cream cheese frosting (my old mate!) compliments nicely, but its crowning glory is the glaze. Honey is cooked to a smoky, deep amber, and paired with brown sugar and butter to obtain a rich, sticky, glorious glaze. I now want to use it on everything. Swirled through vanilla ice cream, drizzled over a fresh strawberry tart… the possibilities are endless!
This is just one of a long list of recipes I intend to bring you over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Burnt Honey Brown Sugar Glaze
Inspired by Carrie Sellman’s Honey Butter Cake for the Cake Blog
170g/6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
220g/1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly whisked
360g/2 1/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
180ml / 3/4 cup buttermilk
60ml / 1/4 cup oil
180ml / 3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170 °C/340 °F. Grease and line 3 6″ cake tins.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, honey and vanilla.
With a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, fluffy and increased in volume.
Add the eggs little by little, scraping down the bowl and beating well with each addition.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and fold through until just combined. Do the same with 1/3 of the wet ingredients. Continue until all ingredients are incorporated.
Separate the mix between the 3 prepared tins.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched or a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean.
Let cool in tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and leave to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting*
150g/5 oz. unsalted butter, softened
200g/7 oz. cream cheese, softened
180g/1 3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter until pale and fluffy.
Add the icing sugar and beat until combined, then continue to beat for a few minutes until smooth.
Add the cream cheese and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overwork as it may split.
Burnt Honey Brown Sugar Glaze
80ml/1/3 cup honey
40g/1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
125ml/1/2 cup thickened cream
20g/1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Sea salt, to taste
Place the honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until darkened to a dark, caramel-like amber.
Add the brown sugar and bring to the boil. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, then take off the heat.
Immediately add the cream and stir until combined. Then add the butter and stir until smooth. Finally, stir through the salt.
Leave to cool completely.
Once the cake layers have cooled, use a serrated knife to carefully cut off the domed tops.
Place one of the layers, cut side up, on a cake board or plate, and top with 1/3 of the frosting.
Place the next cake layer on top, cut side down, and top with another 1/3 of the frosting.
Place the last cake layer on top, cut side down, and top with the remaining frosting. Smooth out the overhangs of frosting for a naked look. Refrigerate until set.
Once the frosting has set and the glaze has cooled completely, pour it over the cake, using an offset spatula to carefully push it off the sides. Refrigerate until the glaze has set, and enjoy!
*This amount of frosting is enough for a naked cake. If you want to completely cover it (and why not, cream cheese icing is freakin’ delicious), make another half batch.
*This cake is quite crumbly and can be a bit of a bitch to frost if not careful. To make it easy on yourself, freeze the cake layers prior to assembly. I failed to do that the first time, and the frosting was more crumbs than frosting!