This delicate, buttery milk and honey cake proves desserts don’t have to be elaborate to impress. Pleasantly crumbly, not too sweet or too tangy (though the type of honey you use will influence the flavor), it’s best when slightly under-baked. Instead of thick, overly sweet frosting, it’s topped with honey whipped cream—or even just a sifting of powdered sugar.
Odette Williams’ cookbook “Simple Cake: All You Need To Keep Your Friends and Family in a Cake” is full of similarly easy and delicious treats. You’ll need two round cake pans for this recipe, but you don’t have to stack the layers if you just want one small cake; try freezing the other one for later.
- Difficulty: Easy
For the cake:
- 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, shake carton
- 3⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
For the honey whipped cream:
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1⁄2 cup (115g) heavy cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon of sifted confectioners’ sugar
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 by 2-inch round pans with butter, line the bottom and sides of the pans with parchment paper, and grease the paper.
- Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer with beaters or a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 30 to 45 seconds on medium speed, then gradually add the sugar. When all the sugar has been added, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Continue beating on medium speed for another 4 minutes or until light in color and fluffy.
- With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs 1 tablespoon at a time, over 3 minutes. If the batter curdles, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flour to bind it back together.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry and wet ingredients alternately two times, starting and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined and smooth.
- Don’t overbeat. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure it’s well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven on the same rack for 35 to 38 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed. #Remove the cakes from the oven and let them stand for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cakes to gently release. Peel off the parchment paper from the sides. Invert the cakes, peel off the bottom piece of parchment, and cool on a wire rack.
To make the honey whipped cream:
- Pour the cream into a cold large metal bowl. If adding any flavoring (yogurt and confectioners’ sugar), add it now.
- Using a balloon whisk, begin to whisk the cream until it has doubled in volume, has smooth soft peaks, and is light and fluffy. Add some finely grated zest for a delicious tang.
Reprinted with permission from “Simple Cake” by Odette Williams, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Nicole Franzen. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photograph courtesy of Nicole Franzen.