How I Met Honey – Milk & Honey Cake

How I Met Honey – Milk & Honey Cake

Spring has sprung and so has allergy season. Each year, I have to suffer through part of spring while everyone, including the pollens, are dancing about in the beautiful weather. Each year, I repeat the same thought, “Life is so unfair.”

While my life during this time of year has not been the most enjoyable, I’ve found ways to make it a bit more tolerable. My cocktail of Zytec, Benadryl and a Chinese homeopathic supplement allow me to breathe somewhat normally. I’ve also heard about the benefits of local honey that can build up my body’s defense towards pollen. For several years, I tried experimenting with this idea with several types of local honey from the Farmer’s Market but to no avail. They only made my life taste sweeter.

So instead of drinking the honey for health benefits, I’m using it in cakes. At least this way I can momentarily forget about the allergies when I slice into this scrumptious Milk and Honey Cake. Allergy-free anyone?

Milk & Honey Cake


Honey Cake
  • 6 cups (30 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Horlicks or malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups ( 10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
Milk Frosting
  • 1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Horlicks
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 16 pieces
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened
Honeycomb Candy
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Honey Cake layers
  • Milk Frosting
  • Reserved cake crumbs
  • Honeycomb Candy


Honey Cake

1. Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350℉. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat (alternatively, spray pan with cooking spray). Whisk flour, Horlicks, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in large measuring cup, set aside.

2. In at the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed,  until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add honey and continue to beat until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low, add one-third of flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and remaining flour mixture. Give bowl a final scrape. (Dough will be thick, resemble cookie dough.)

3. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Working with 2 portions at a time, roll each out into 10-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Using 9-inch cake pan as template, trim away excess dough to form two perfectly round 9-inch disks. Transfer disks and trimmed  to prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets halfway through baking time. Transfer disks to rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Repeat with remaining dough. (Layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

4. In a food processor, pulse cake trimmings into irregular size crumbs. Alternatively, place trimmings in ziplock bag and smash them lightly with rolling pin. Store in airtight container until ready to use.

Milk Frosting

1. Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, Horlicks and salt in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is very thick, 5-7 minutes. Transfer milk mixture to clean bowl and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cooled milk mixture and vanilla on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add butter and cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Honeycomb Candy

1. Line baking sheet with silpat and set aside. Combine sugar water and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a a boil over medium heat, continue to cook mixture until it reaches 300℉. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda, quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan and let cool completely. Break into chards, store in airtight container until ready to use.


1. Place 1 layer on a cake stand or serving plate and spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat 6 times (reserve/refrigerate extra frosting). Top with final layer, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until layers soften, at least 24 hours or up to 2 days.

2. Remove frosting from refrigerator, and let rest on counter for 20-30 minutes. Unwrap cake and spread frosting on top and side of cake. Decorate top with cake crumb and honeycomb candies. Serve.