Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Baking Adventures: Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake

Late last year I visited a cute boutique called the Main Street Honey Shoppe in Vancouver. The place sells every kind of honey imaginable and on weekends, they also offer a delightful dessert called the Honey Cake. A beautifully tender, subtly sweet cake with a slightly crunchy top slathered in a gorgeous honey glaze, the Honey Cake captured my sweet tooth (and my heart) almost immediately. Once I got home I searched up recipes online and it turns out that the cakes can be made with a Nordic Ware Honeycomb Cake Pan (sold through William Sonoma, although I found mine for only $20 at TJMaxx). Anyhow, today I wanted to share with you the recipe and some tips on how to recreate this beautiful treat. To read on, click.......
The recipe I used actually came with the pan, with a few adjustments. The Honeycomb Pan features a heavy-duty aluminium non-stick material. The quality is actually really impressive, one of the best cake pans I've purchased. The pan is molded on the bottom so when the cake comes out, it's in the form of 19 pull-apart mini cakes, each adorned with either a honey comb or a bee pattern.
Honeycomb Pan from Nordic Ware
Honeycomb Pan from Nordic Ware
Nordic Ware instructs that the pan be oiled and floured. Butter, oil, or lecithin-free spray all work (Pam, thus shouldn't be used as it actually will leave behind a sticky residue over time due to the lecithin it contains). I oiled and floured the pan. I probably added too much flour because my cake came out with a bit of whitish residue on the top so in the future I will probably forgo the flour altogether as the cake slipped out of the pan with no resistance at all.
There is a nice crunchy crust on top and the inside is very fluffy and soft.
Now onto the recipe, adapted directly from the recipe that came with the Nordic Ware pan:

Ingredients for the Cake:
2 1/2 Cups of Cake Flour*
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt

1 Cup of Butter
1 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla

2/3 Cup of Milk
1/2 Cup of Ground Almonds

*There is a great substitute for cake flour using just regular flour and starch. I used both the substitute and actual cake flour and there honestly is no real difference.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease and flour the pan, tap out excess flour.
3. Sift the dry ingredients (excluding the ground almonds) together in a small bowl, set aside.
4. In a large bowl, cream the butter on high and add in the sugar until the mixture is fluffy and light.
5. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each egg.
6. Add the vanilla.
7. Turn the mixer down to low and add the dry mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix between each addition until just incorporated.
8. Gently fold in the ground almonds.
9. Pour the finished batter evenly into the pan. (I move the pan back and forth on a cushioned chair to help the batter fill each slot. Dropping the pan from a height will also help release air bubbles, ensuring the cake really gets molded with the intricate design on the pan.)
10. Bake at 350 degree F. for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (I left the pan in the oven for an extra few minutes to really help the surface crisp up.)
11. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before turning the pan upside down to release the cake.

I prefer the tops of these cakes to be quite crispy and crunchy so what I do after the cake comes out is that I will transfer the cake into a toaster oven (out from the pan, the design side up) to let the top crisp up for a few minutes. This creates a beautiful contrast between the soft inside of the cake and the crunchy top. With the method, the cake doesn't stay as soft and tender for as long, so unless you are preparing to serve the cake right away, I wouldn't reccomend doing this (even though it does make the cake extra yummy for a short while).

The cake itself is pretty delicious. It's lightly sweet and soft but the addition of a glaze definitely makes it ten times better.

Ingredients for Honey Glaze:
1/4 Cup of Butter
1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup of Honey
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Tbs Water
Pinch of Salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, mix and let simmer.
2. Let the glaze cool before pouring over the cake.

I am actually not a huge fan of this glaze recipe. If I were to remake it, I would take out the butter and the sugar because they were just excessive and added nothing extra to the sauce (except maybe some extra butter grease and sugar). Additionally, you can decide to add the glaze all at once and store it as such or add it right before serving, depending on how moist you want your cake.
A beautiful glazed slice of Honey Cake
So there you have it, the Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake. Although the recipe pairs perfectly with the beautiful honeycomb and bee pattern, I think it can easily be adapted for cupcakes as well! So you don't need to hunt down the pan if you are not willing to invest the extra dollars (god knows how many cake pans I have in my kitchen cupboards....). Let me know if you end up trying the recipe, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
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