There are 3 different ways to make this cake…the hard way, the harder way, and the way we're gonna do it--the hardest way. Because it's that worth it. The tiny amount of bitterness we get from the burnt honey really is the secret here, and the slightly tangy whipped cream frosting provides a bit of acidity and lovely light texture; and unlike other frostings, it's not too sweet.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
45 mins
additional:
8 hrs 25 mins
total:
9 hrs 55 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 9-inch cake
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Burnt Honey:
For the Cake Layers:
For the Frosting:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Pour honey into a deep saucepan over medium heat. Boil until a shade darker and caramel-like in aroma, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and whisk in cold water.

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  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (such as Silpat®). Place a mixing bowl and a whisk in the refrigerator.

  • Place a large metal bowl over the lowest heat setting on the stovetop. Add butter, sugar, 1/4 cup of the burnt honey, and regular wildflower honey. Let sit until butter melts, 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

  • Whisk butter mixture and let sit until very warm to the touch. Whisk in eggs. Keep mixture over low heat until it gets very warm again; whisk in baking soda mixture. Remove from heat. Sift in flour in 2 or 3 additions, stirring well after each, until batter is easily spreadable.

  • Transfer about 1/2 cup batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an 8- or 9-inch circle using an offset spatula. Shake and tap the pan to knock out any air bubbles.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove liner from the pan and let cake layer continue cooling until firm enough to remove, 6 to 7 minutes. Invert cake onto a round of parchment paper.

  • Repeat until you have a total of 8 cake layers, letting each cool on an individual parchment round. Trim edges using a pizza wheel to ensure they are the same size; save scraps for crumb mixture.

  • Spread remaining batter onto the lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until edges are dry, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into small pieces; toss with reserved cake scraps.

  • Return to the oven and continue to bake until browned, 7 to 10 minutes more. Let cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a resealable bag and beat into fairly fine crumbs using a rolling pin. Set aside.

  • Remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator. Pour in heavy cream. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add remaining burnt honey and sour cream; continue whisking until stiff peaks form.

  • Place a cake layer on a parchment paper round on top of a pizza pan or serving plate. Spread a cup of frosting evenly on top, almost to the edge. Repeat with cake layers and frosting, pressing the layers in smooth-side down. Place last cake layer smooth-side up. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Cover with crumbs; clean any excess crumbs around base.

  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours, to overnight. Transfer to a cake stand using 2 spatulas. Cut and serve.

Chef's Notes:

Any type of honey will work for this.

You can also bake multiple cake layers at a time, depending on how many silicone liners and baking sheets that you have.

You can use an electric mixer for the frosting, if you prefer.

Nutrition Facts

795 calories; protein 9.5g 19% DV; carbohydrates 84.6g 27% DV; fat 48.7g 75% DV; cholesterol 243.6mg 81% DV; sodium 484.7mg 19% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (23)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
11/28/2019
I liked it, I would have liked to make double the frosting next time because there was barely enough following the recipe. After refrigerating overnight the cake was really good, a few spots where the frosting was a little sparser were dry which is why I would recommend making 1.5x the frosting recipe in the future. The texture feels similar to firm lady finger in a tiramisu to me and the flavor is very subtle, I got the honey flavor from the frosting more. Would make again! Was really fun to make a cake using silpats and I think from now on I will make all my cakes 8 layer on silpats because the frosting can be more evenly distributed through 8 layers and it gives that perfect frosting to cake ratio in every bite! Thanks Chef John! :) Read More
(5)
29 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 25
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
11/28/2019
I liked it, I would have liked to make double the frosting next time because there was barely enough following the recipe. After refrigerating overnight the cake was really good, a few spots where the frosting was a little sparser were dry which is why I would recommend making 1.5x the frosting recipe in the future. The texture feels similar to firm lady finger in a tiramisu to me and the flavor is very subtle, I got the honey flavor from the frosting more. Would make again! Was really fun to make a cake using silpats and I think from now on I will make all my cakes 8 layer on silpats because the frosting can be more evenly distributed through 8 layers and it gives that perfect frosting to cake ratio in every bite! Thanks Chef John! :) Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
12/04/2019
What a delicious, impressive final product! And not an overly-sweet cake or icing at all. Everyone was delighted at my daughter’s Thanksgiving dinner. Kudos!! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
12/09/2019
Was a big hit. I did make a couple alterations, used half as much Cardamon instead of Cinnamon, and a touch more honey in the whipped cream... which was amazing. Very well might use honey sweetened whipped cream in other recipes in the future as well. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/27/2020
My wife is from Vladivostok, Russia and loves this recipe! I've made it 4 times and it goes fast every time. I purchased extra round cake pans to make several layers at a time which reduces the time to make the finished product. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
01/16/2020
Worth every second of the 5 hours it took me to make this. Don't be intimidated it just takes a little time! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2020
It is time consuming but well worth it. I used honey from local bee keepers which worked wonderfully well. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2019
One of the most satisfying and delicious recipes ever. Worth the little effort. The worst is to leave it overnight - which you must do. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
12/23/2019
I used gluten free equal measure flour and it came out wonderfully! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
11/17/2019
This cake is delicious. Read More
(1)
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