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.

Martha Stewart Living, June 2015


Credit: Johnny Miller

Recipe Summary

50 mins
4 hrs




Instructions Checklist
  • 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.