Friday, May 24, 2013

Honey Cake

by Sheila Connolly

Oops, I did it again—I went to Brimfield (that's the huge antiques fair in central Massachusetts, held three times a year).  Yes, I am addicted to stuff.  In the past I have bought a wide range of items there, including some furniture, but now I try to restrain myself, and mostly I focus on vintage/antique cookware, which is affordable.  Well, there was that nice antique apple basket I just had to have, but that was my only indulgence.

I love old baking pans, and there is such a wonderful variety of shapes!  This year I learned something new (see? It's educational!).  One vendor had a cast iron pan with half-sphere compartments—I'm sure we've all seen them somewhere.  I've always wondered what they were supposed to be used for, but this one actually had BR-OW-NI-ES cast right into the metal across the bottom.  Made me wonder when brownies stopped being round and became square.  (No, I didn't buy it.)

But I did buy one new/old baking pan, so I had to find an old recipe to try it out. This is actually a recipe developed by Proctor & Gamble in the 1950s (a bit younger than the pan), shared by Julie Richardson in Vintage Cakes, with a few changes.  It worked in my cake pan (I had to adjust the baking time), but this sounds delicious in any pan.


2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup plus 2 Tblsp unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup honey (any variety you like)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x2" round cake pan or 9x3" springform pan (mine was a bit smaller).  If your pan has a flat bottom (mine doesn't), line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Dry ingredients in my mother's
vintage Pyrex bowl
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla on low speed until blended.  Then turn the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle a few times while mixing.

Blend in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, quickly.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix only until blended, and scrape down between additions.  Do not overbeat!  Do the last bit of the mixing by hand with a spatula.  The batter will be thick.

Spread the batter evenly in the greased pan.  Place in the center of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake is golden on top. 


½ cup honey

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, stir the honey, sugar and butter over medium heat until combined.  Bring to a bare simmer.  Turn off the heat but do not let cool.

After 45 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the top with a wooden skewer.  Pour half the glaze over the cake, letting it sink in.  Then bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for about an hour.  Then carefully turn it upside down onto a plate.  Pour the remaining glaze over the top.

Let me tell you, there was a bit of prayer
involved when it came to umolding it!

This cake will last well if you keep it covered, thanks to the honey.

(I sneaked in a new
ebook last week!)


  1. Sheila, I am so impressed. How did you *ever* get the cake to turn out of the pan that beautifully? OMG! It's hard to get a bundt cake to turn out of a pan with a newfangled non-stick coating. I can't imagine how you did this. I love these older recipes. They do such clever things, like putting the cake back in the oven after adding the glaze. Lovely!


  2. A lovely bit of nostalgia. And tasty sounding, too.

  3. Hi Sheila: I was happy to hear about your good luck at the Brimfield Fair and finding some vintage baking items. We live about an hour from there, but I can't do that kind of walking anymore. I had boxes of vintage items from my grandmother and antique shop finds but when we retired and moved the boxes just disappeared. Still feeling sad about it, but what can you do?
    The cake came out of the pan wonderfully well and that recipe was definitely a "trip down memory lane" wasn't it?? Thanks for the offer and the recipe.

  4. Love this recipe, especially the honey glaze step at the end. The antique pan story makes the recipe even sweeter. (Echoing Krista...) My jaw dropped at how perfectly you were able to birth the cake from its antique mold. Brava and beautiful!

  5. Looks absolutely delicious. A friend brought me some honey from a nearby farm--I will have to try this.