05 Jun Honey Bee Cake

Honey Bee Cake

I’ve got so much honey, the bees envy me.

Central Texas Wildflower Honey, that is. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

I absolutely love simplicity in my food. While it’s fun to make cupcakes covered in buttercream and sprinkles and filled with curd/jam/whatever-craziness-I-can-come-up-with, nothing really makes me happier than a recipe that uses a few high quality ingredients and presents them in a way where each shines through yet complements the others perfectly. This cake feels that way to me.

What is more simply beautiful than honey?  It’s nature at it’s finest. Flowers bloom, honey bees feed on the nectar, thus pollinating the flower and allowing it’s cycle of life to continue, the bees work some biological magic in their tiny bee bodies and and voila, we have honey. Ok, so it’s not quite that simple {you can read the details here}.  But how cool is that?

Honey Bee Cake

Before making this Honey Bee Cake, I knew there were different kinds of honey, but I didn’t realize just how many varietals there are. That teddy bear jar you have in your pantry is just the tip of the ice berg. There is a whole world of honey waiting to be explored under the surface. The flavor of the honey is dependent on the nectar that the bees are feeding on. There are over 300 varietals in the U.S. alone! Of course, this sparked my curiosity and I decided to do a taste test.

After some research, I found out that we have some really great honeys that are produced locally in the Austin area. A variety unique to the area is Central Texas Wildflower honey. This basically means that the bees roam the countryside during wildflower season and feed on the nectar of a variety of species. If you’ve ever been to Texas during wildflower season, you know why the name alone was enough to sell me. In the springtime, Texas country roads are blanketed with Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes and a variety of other wildflowers. It’s truly the most beautiful time of the year. Drive down any highway and you’ll see families pulled over taking portraits in the flowers. A landscape that beautiful has to make some magical honey, right? I think so.

I purchased Goodflow Honey Co.‘s Texas Wildflower honey as well as Burleson’s Orange Blossom Honey. Orange Blossom honey is a fairly popular varietal with a mild flavor and notes of citrus, which make it very popular in baking. Both honeys were excellent but the Texas Wildflower won me over. The Orange Blossom was light in color, and had a clean, fresh taste. If I were baking something with a lot of different flavors, I would use this honey to avoid overpowering the other ingredients. Since honey is the primary flavor in Honey Bee cake, I wanted something that would stand out. The Wildflower honey was perfect for this. It had a more complex, floral flavor and a deeper, richer color, perfect for a gorgeous honey glaze.

As you can tell, I’m having quite the love affair with honey.

Now, I don’t expect you to have access to Texas Wildflower honey. I do however, encourage you to explore your local market and find a variety of honey that is local to your area for use in this cake. It may be a little more expensive, but it’s 100% worth the additional dollar or two. It will add that little special something that makes this cake so amazing. And of course, I always promote supporting local artisans.

Let’s get to the baking.

Honey Bee Cake

Honey Bee Cake by Butterlust Blog Honey Bee Cake Honey Bee Cake


Honey Bee Cake Honey Bee Cake

Honey Bee Cake


    For the cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish


    For the cake:
  • Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan OR a 9 by 3-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, honey and vanilla and mix on low speed until well blended.
  • Increase mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, adding the next when the previous has disappeared into the batter.
  • With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat.
  • Add the final 1/3 of the flour mixture but stop the mixer before it is fully incorporated. Using a spatula, complete the mixing by hand to avoid over-beating the batter.
  • Spread the batter into your pan and bang on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is a deep golden color on top and a toothpick inserted into the center has moist crumbs attached. Remove the cake but do not turn the oven off yet!
  • For the glaze:
  • While the cake is in the oven, combine butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer then turn off the heat. Leave the mixture on the burner to keep it warm.
  • Assembly:
  • When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and poke holes all over the top with a toothpick or wooden skewer. This is going to allow our honey glaze to seep into the cake.
  • Pour half of the glaze over the cake and spread evenly, if necessary.
  • Sprinkle the cake evenly with almonds, and then cover with the remaining glaze.
  • Place the cake back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire cake rack for at least an hour. To remove the cake from the pan turn the cake upsidedown onto a plate, remove the parchment paper and then flip back over onto your serving plate.
  • This cake will last up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Note: to toast almonds place on a cookie sheet and toast in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until you can smell them and the color is a light golden brown.

Source: Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

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