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Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Did we mention this honey cake recipe also happens to be gluten-free? (There is also a cream cheese frosting.)



  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Frosting and Assembly

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, cream separated from milk, room temperature
  • Bee pollen, fennel fronds, edible flowers, and berries (for serving; optional)

Recipe Preparation


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9" cake pan with nonstick spray and line bottom with a parchment paper round. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl to combine.

  • Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, honey, egg, and egg yolk in another large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard pod. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat mixture until pale and thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually pour in orange juice and whey. Beat until frothy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; beat just until smooth and homogenous (it will be thin, like pancake batter).

  • Pour into prepared pan and bake until cake is golden brown and center springs back when gently pressed (a cake tester will not come out clean), 45–55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan, 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake to loosen and invert onto rack; let cool completely.

  • Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Frosting and Assembly

  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard pod. Beat on low speed until mixture is very light and thickened, about 2 minutes; scrape down sides of bowl. With motor running, add coconut cream by the tablespoonful and beat until very soft peaks form (save coconut milk for another use).

  • Pile frosting on top of cake and spread to edges (it’s okay if it cascades over the sides). Decorate with bee pollen, fennel fronds, flowers, and berries, if desired.

Photos by Peter Frank Edwards

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 670 Fat (g) 34 Saturated Fat (g) 17 Cholesterol (mg) 70 Carbohydrates (g) 93 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 56 Protein (g) 6 Sodium (mg) 380Reviews SectionWOW. wow. I can't think of a better word to describe this cake other than that. I firmly believe anyone who is interested in attempting this masterpiece should do it now! ... But first, a few easy precautions that will ensure your success. Now I must say, I am no expert baker, and I certainly do not have a fancy oven or the tools to make every delicious creation, but I have learned to work with what I can scrounge up and have learned from hours in front of many baking shows in my free time. With this in mind, I want to add my advice for getting around some of the challenges that others ran into in the previous comments. Let's talk about the cake itself - you need to be using room temperature ingredients in order for everything to incorporate beautifully and to be using regular all-purpose flour (for those with gluten allergies, I may suggest adding a gluten substitute like xanthum gum to the flour). The batter is already a loose consistency with heavy sugars like the honey, so working with gluten-free flour, which lacks the sticky binging agent of gluten, could cause your cake to have difficulty cooking in the middle (especially with those of us with less fancy ovens). Now if you forget everything else, please remember this; you must bake this cake in a 3" tall baking pan (8" or 9" in diameter) with a parchment lining. This cake will GROW and needs the room to do so. I was sweating (mostly from the heat) while waiting for this cake in my oven because the sides quickly crept up and the middle was still liquid, but rest assured, the middle will spring up at the very end (~50 in my oven on 350) of the bake like a beautiful muffin-like dome. I highly recommend using a light-colored aluminum baking pan that is NOT non-stick because the reflective nature of light-colored pans, the even heating or convection of aluminum as a metal, and the lack of a nonstick surface (believe it or not) will lead to a successful cake that is even in texture, color, and yummy taste. Now in regards to the icing, which I must say is always my least favorite part of a cake because I find most icings a bit cloying and overbearing to the flavor of the cake. This icing was heavenly - not too sweet, smoother than butter, and as visually appetizing as it was to taste. Again, use room temperature ingredients for better incorporation and be very modest with the coconut milk to achieve the perfect stiff but smooth consistency and hold (even on a hot day!). Mind you that the coconut milk is used predominantly for shine and texture in this recipe and doesn't have a strong taste to start with, so don't be surprised if you don't taste it in the final form of the icing. I ended up using 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (shaken not separated) for the icing. Now if you want to enhance the flavor of the icing to really complement the cake (and you are a fan of lemon), I added 3 tablespoons of lemon zest instead of 1, and the flavor POPPED and the color of the bright yellow specks with the black specks from the vanilla bean complemented each other perfectly. Also, ice the cake when it is completely cool to avoid your frosting running, but I found that this icing was extraordinarily durable, if you are careful with how much coconut milk you add to the icing. After icing the cake, I found that the PERFECT garnish to the lemon color and flavor of the icing was a few stems of dried lavender, a sprinkling of bee pollen, and a cut strawberry for a pop of color! Et voilà - that's it. I just wanted to show this cake some love, since it has for me and my family. Bon appétit!AnonymousAnn Arbor, MI06/28/20I used a 10" pan, which obviously makes the cake slightly thinner but the center didn't sink. The frosting wasn't runny, but the coconut cream makes it less thicker than regular buttercream frosting and has a duller shine. It was easy to spread, but personally, I would've preferred regular frosting because of the texture and taste. I also didn't get much coconut flavor.AnonymousSan Francisco04/01/20Based on the other comments' mentions of sinkage in the middle, I decided to bake it in two separate layers and use regular flour. The cake turned out fine and was pretty good! It's like a carrot-less carrot cake.AnonymousWashington, DC01/07/19The cake tasted fine, but collapsed in the middle! The frosting was also very runny and rather difficult to work with. This recipe should be re-examined and adjusted— I’m sure it can be great!AnonymousSacramento12/25/18I don't know what I did wrong, but the cake cratered in the middle. I was really looking forward to serving this dessert at my holiday dinner tomorrow with my gluten-free guests, but now I'm going to have to find something else. Also, just an FYI in case you decide to try the cake, you need to use a 9X3" pan; a 9X2 would definitely not be high enough (for the sides of the cake anyway! my sunken middle would fit!)AnonymousOrinda, CA12/22/17It is in the oven, and I'm looking forward to the final product. There appears to be an error in the instructions. There was no way all that batter would go into a 9 in CAKE pan. I instead used a 9 inch SPRINGFORM pan and am hoping that will work out well.AnonymousCamas, WA11/04/17

Watch the video: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (July 2022).


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