vanilla honey cake
photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 16 servings.

4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey
⅔ cup whole milk
½ cup finely ground almonds
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Tap out excess flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla until blended. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium, add the honey and egg mixture, and beat until well combined.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three stages, alternating with the milk and beating after each addition until just incorporated. Gently fold in the ground almonds.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Gently tap the cake pans on the countertop and invert onto a wire rack. Turn each layer right side up. When the cake has completely cooled, place the lower layer on a plate. Spread top and sides of cake with Honey Glaze. Place second layer of cake on top of the bottom layer. Spread remaining glaze over top and sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set up before serving. Frost the cake with Buttercream Frosting or dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Honey Glaze:
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt. Stir occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Add the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk to a smooth consistency.

Buttercream frosting (optional):
In an electric mixer, blend 8 ounces cream cheese (softened), 2 sticks salted butter (softened), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 box confectioners’ sugar. Mix until well blended.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.