Lemon Honey Cake
This rustic cake is infused with the tastes of honey, lemon, and a hint of ground cardamom, like a flavorful cup of tea. Four layers of cake -- made tender and moist with oil (in place of butter), milk, honey, and brown sugar -- are brushed with more honey, then spread with a satiny-smooth filling that's a cross between lemon curd and cream-cheese frosting (for the best of both). We topped ours with a piece of honeycomb, but a drizzle of honey is just as buzzworthy.
- Total Time:
- Servings: 12
Photography: Johnny Miller
Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2015
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup safflower oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 large eggs, plus 3 large yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving (optional)
- Honeycomb piece, for serving (optional)
Cakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line with parchment, then coat parchment with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together honey, milk, and oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and zest on high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, slowly add honey mixture and beat to combine, 1 minute. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until tops spring back and edges start to pull away from sides of pan, about 25 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack 25 minutes; invert onto rack, top-sides up, and let cool completely.
Curd: Combine eggs, yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over high and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and starting to bubble around edges, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cream cheese, one piece at a time.
Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2 cups); discard solids. Cover curd with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Assembly: Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place a cake bottom on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread 2 tablespoons honey over top. Spread 1/2 cup curd over top, stopping slightly short of edges, then place a cake top on curd, cut-side up. Spread with 2 tablespoons honey and another 1/2 cup curd.
Repeat with second cake bottom, 2 more tablespoons honey, and 1/2 cup curd. Spread cut side of final cake layer with 2 tablespoons honey, then place on top of assembled cake, top-side up. Spread top with remaining 1/2 cup curd, swirling as desired. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours before serving, topped with honeycomb or a drizzle of honey.