Honey Cake

June 8, 2023

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This Honey Cake recipe is a simple dessert full of irresistible flavor. Made with the perfect amount of sweetness, it’s moist, tender, and has slightly caramelized edges. Topped with crunchy almonds, it’s dripping with sticking honey and highlighted with a faint hint of warm spices in every tantalizing bite. 

Honey cake shown with variation of serving with strawberries and ice cream.

What Is Honey Cake? 

The origins of honey cake recipes can be traced all the way back to ancient Egyptian and Roman cultures. In its first stages, the dessert is believed to have been made out of honey and mashed yeast or barley.

During the 12th century, it was developed into a dessert similar to what we make today thanks to bakers in Italy. Soon, it was adopted by the Jewish culture and quickly became a custom surrounding the study of the Torah

Over time, the cake has been incorporated into a wide variety of cultures across the globe and can be found in many different variations. In fact, it is the dessert that spurred the creation of gingerbread. However, no matter how it is made, honey cake always comes together with a simple, spiced batter that is naturally sweetened. 

Soft, sweet, and incredibly tender, it’s one dessert that truly stands the test of time and remains a favorite in many homes, including our own! 

Whole honey cake on a platter cut into slices.

Honey Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • Sliced almonds: Look for raw, unsalted almonds. You can typically find them in the baking section of your local grocery store. Whole, chopped, and slivered varieties will not work well with this recipe. 
  • All-purpose flour: I use unbleached flour, but bleached would be fine. I haven’t tested it, but a 1:1 gluten-free alternative should work, too. Please let us know how it goes if you do. 
  • Baking powder: A crucial ingredient to ensure the cake rises. Use aluminum-free for the best flavor. 
  • Baking soda: Used to neutralize the acids in the batter and encourage browning to create the beautiful golden color we’re looking to achieve with this recipe. 
  • Spices: Salt, cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg add warmth to the flavor for a sweet honey cake with just a hint of spice. 
  • Honey: I use clover honey, but any high-quality light honey you like best can be used here.  
  • Unsalted butter: I recommend using unsalted butter to avoid overpowering the batter. If you prefer salted butter, reduce the amount of extra salt included. 
  • Eggs: These bind the ingredients and actually help the cake rise.
  • Buttermilk: Used as a tenderizer, this creates the super soft, moist texture we want.

Ingredients needed to make homemade honey cake.

How to Make Easy Honey Cake 

  1. Prepare: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with cooking oil spray, and dust the entire pan lightly with flour. 
  2. Add almonds: Sprinkle an even layer of almonds along the bottom of the cake pan, and set it aside. 
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together until smooth. 
  4. Mix the wet ingredients: In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to combine the honey and butter until the ingredients are combined and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, blending in between. 
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Add half the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients, and mix on low speed just until the mixture is well combined. Blend in the buttermilk. Then, add the remaining flour mixture, and combine the ingredients just until no streaks remain. 
  6. Add the batter to the pan: Dollop large spoonfuls of the cake batter over the almond layer in the cake pan, and spread them out evenly. 
  7. Bake: Wrap a water-soaked cake strip around the pan, and place it in the oven until the cake has risen and a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. 
  8. Cool: Set the honey cake aside to cool slightly. Then, invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely before drizzling extra honey on top. 

Six photos showing steps of making honey cake batter. Six steps showing how to finish batter and spread into prepared cake pan and bake.

Helpful Tips 

  • Use room temperature ingredients: Allow the butter, eggs, and buttermilk to come to room temperature before you begin. This makes them easier to incorporate into the batter and helps avoid over-mixing. 
  • Avoid over-mixing: It is imperative to combine the ingredients just until the batter is smooth and no streaks remain. Continuing to mix will result in a dense, chewy honey cake. 
  • Don’t use a dark colored pan: A dark coated pan will burn the honey cake on the exterior. A light colored baking pan should be used in this recipe.
  • Make sure your honey is runny: If your honey has crystallized in the container, warm it in a bowl of warm water to the level of the honey until it is a smooth liquid consistency again.
  • Run a knife around the edges: Use a thin knife to separate the cake from the pan by running it around the edges before you invert the dessert onto a wire rack. This helps loosen the dessert, keeping it intact. 

Serving Suggestions 

This honey cake recipe is delicious on its own. However, it’s even better topped with sliced fresh strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or, for an extra layer of flavor, you can add ½ a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest or a few pinches of dried lavender. 

How do I store homemade honey cake? 

  • Transfer the honey cake to an airtight container, or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. 
  • Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Can I freeze this recipe? 

  • Yes, allow the cake to come to room temperature. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by tin foil. 
  • Transfer the cake to a freezer-safe container or sealable bag. 
  • Keep it frozen for up to 3 months. 
  • When you’re ready to eat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Slice, and serve cold. Or, let it come to room temperature first. 

Honey cake with sliced almonds and honey drizzle finish.

What does honey do to cake? 

The star of the show in this recipe, honey helps sweeten the cake and allows it to retain its moisture. This creates a softer crumb than most cake recipes. Plus, it adds a beautiful amber color that makes the dessert look like it came straight from a gourmet bakery. 

Do I have to use a cake strip? 

No, I have tested this honey cake without a cake strip. It still tastes great. It just doesn’t rise as well or bake quite as evenly. Honey cake surrounded by spring flowers.

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Honey Cake

A simple dessert full of irresistible flavor. Made with the perfect amount of sweetness, it’s moist, tender, and has slightly caramelized edges. Topped with crunchy almonds, it’s dripping with sticking honey and highlighted with a faint hint of warm spices in every tantalizing bite. 
Servings: 10
Prep20 minutes
Cook40 minutes
Cool40 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 40 minutes



  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a light colored (not dark non-stick coated) 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Spray parchment paper then dust entire pan lightly with flour and shake out excess.
  • Sprinkle almonds evenly into bottom of pan (you can shake pan side to side to even them out). Set pan aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer mix together honey and butter on high speed until pale and fluff, about 3 minutes.
  • Mix in eggs one at a time, blending until combined after each addition (mixture may appear curdled thats okay).
  • Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Blend in buttermilk then mix in remaining half of the flour mixture just until combined. Scrape down bowl and fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Dollop large spoonfuls of batter over almond in pan and spread into an even layer.
  • Wrap a water soaked cake strip around the cake pan (this will ensure cake rises evenly and edges don't become overly brown, I have tested without and it works just not as superior of a result).
  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges then invert onto a wire rack to cool. Cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle servings with honey to taste.


  • This cake is delicious served with sliced fresh strawberries, macerated strawberries, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  • For another layer of flavor in the cake you can add 1/2 tsp orange or lemon zest or a few pinches of dried lavender. 
Nutrition Facts
Honey Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 86mg29%
Sodium 175mg8%
Potassium 167mg5%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 436IU9%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.