Cake Blog Honey Butter Cake

Baking By LizzieAylett Updated 10 Nov 2015 , 1:41pm by craftybanana2

LizzieAylett Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 7:26pm
post #1 of 38

Hi, I tried baking this cake last night, but although it was testign cooked, and looked cooked, as it cooled it shrank right down and is all gooey and raw in the middle.  It didn't specify what kind of sugar so I automatically used caster sugar, but afterwards I realised it's an Amercian recipe and you don't use caster sugar.  Do you think that's what caused my issues?  If so, what kind of sugar should I use?  Or what else might be my problem?

Here is the recipe:


37 replies
craftybanana2 Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 9:12pm
post #2 of 38

Caster sugar is what we Americans call granulated sugar. We use it when the recipe just states "sugar." If you used other baking measurements, maybe the conversions didn't come out right? But uncooked usually means it wasn't baked long enough. If it looked done, then try baking at a lower temperature for longer? With my dark or shiny pans I have to do this because my top and edges always cook faster than the middle.

craftybanana2 Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 9:16pm
post #3 of 38

And apparently I'm wrong on that sugar thing, it's "super fine" here in the US. Learn something new everyday :)

LizzieAylett Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 9:21pm
post #4 of 38

I'll try it again with granulated sugar and see if that makes a difference - just hate wasting ingredients.  It seemed cooked - I should probably have described it as dense, rather than raw, which could have come from the collapse...  My oven cooks low anyway, so I would hesitate to lower the temp further.

Thanks for your suggestions, craftybanananananana2 :-)

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Jul 2015 , 9:31pm
post #5 of 38

The sugar was likely the issue because caster sugar is finer and so 1 1/2 cups of caster sugar is more sugar by weight than 1 1/2 cups of regular granulated sugar which isn't as fine.

LizzieAylett Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 7:58am
post #6 of 38

So, I tried it again with granulated sugar and the same thing happened.  The batter was lovely going in, it looked, smelled and tested cooked coming out, but shrank away at the sides and sunk down to give a dense brick!  Any ideas what might be going wrong?



SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 10:03am
post #7 of 38

Yes, that recipe cannot possibly work right because it has two acidic ingredients - buttermilk and honey so there should be some baking soda in the recipe as a leavening agent.  And there is not. Not sure if switching out the baking powder to soda would work on its own or if you still need some baking powder along with it. Just getting granddaughter ready  for daycare so I will get back to you in about 2 hours. Want to think about possible proportions.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 12:19pm
post #8 of 38

I would try adding about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in addition to the baking powder. Baking soda is about four time the strength of baking powder so that is why we usually use a smaller amount than baking powder when it is added in a recipe.  Likely if I was experimenting with the recipe - I would go with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda because there is both honey and buttermilk in the recipe.

You need baking soda to neutralize the acids in these acidic ingredients and though it adds to the leavening, the main leavening agent is the baking powder. The soda also has some affect on tenderizing the batter.

I think I would also send a message to the cake blogger telling her of your experiences and asking her if she realizes she omitted baking soda when she typed the recipe. To me this is an error of omission.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 5:45pm
post #9 of 38

This is odd. I looked at other recipes on the blog. The cake recipe you used is from Carrie Sellman.  There is a honey cupcake recipe from Lauren Kapeluck on the same blog. That recipe and the Cream Cheese Icing for them is exactly the same recipe as the cake but cut in half. So obviously it wouldn't work either.  But you would think the error would have been picked up on either recipe or in the methods.

Now  "things are getting curiouser and curiouser" to quote Alice in Wonderland.

I am going to try and bake this tomorrow with the addition of the baking soda. I will post back with the results.

LizzieAylett Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 8:59pm
post #10 of 38

Thank you, SquirrellyCakes.  I can't really afford to waste any more ingredients.  On that note, any suggestions what I could do with the failed cakes?  Other than stick them in the food waste bin?

SquirrellyCakes Posted 20 Jul 2015 , 9:12pm
post #11 of 38

Awwh - do you suppose the birds would eat them?  How about soaking them in cream?Any windows need breaking?

I am going to play with the recipe and see if I can get good results and post back here. Likely tomorrow. 

SquirrellyCakes Posted 22 Jul 2015 , 12:05am
post #12 of 38

So I made the recipe today. Rather than make the whole recipe for the cake , I made the half recipe for the Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream which is the exact same recipe as the cake and cream cheese icing but cut in half and posted on the same blog by a different contributor. It too is missing any baking soda.

Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Icing

The recipe from the site:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature ( I use cold and soften with paddle, beating on low)

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon of honey

*Additionally you need to add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F. Recipe says to line 12 cups of a cupcake tin with liners but this made them too full so I would instead make 13-14 cupcakes. You will see by my photo that they spread too much on top of the pan.55aede5c23c0c.jpeg


Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, I softened cold butter on a speed of 2. Add sugar and cream on a speed of about 4-6 for 8-10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg is added.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl  stir together buttermilk, honey and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture in two additions alternating with buttermilk mixture, mixing on  a speed of about 6-8. Do not overmix.

Spoon into lined cupcake pan. Bake in centre of oven for about 18-20 minutes just until toothpick comes out clean and a light touch on the cupcakes makes an indent that springs right back.

These cupcakes are very slightly rounded.

I found the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to this half recipe produced a nice somewhat spongy moist delicate texture. The cupcakes have a mild honey taste. The icing is nice and creamy and pipes well. Overall these were a hit. 

I will try the full three layer cake version with the addition of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, the icing and the drizzled topping - sometime in the next few weeks.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 22 Jul 2015 , 12:08am
post #13 of 38

The iced cupcake.55aedef9241d4.jpeg

SquirrellyCakes Posted 22 Jul 2015 , 12:10am
post #14 of 38

The cut cupcake - nice texture.55aedf8b18718.jpeg

LizzieAylett Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 8:14pm
post #15 of 38

So I have take 3 in the oven just now, with extra bicarb in it, thanks to Squirrellycakes.  I'll keep you posted...

LizzieAylett Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 9:09pm
post #16 of 38


Same problem again.  As soon as I take it out of the oven it just shrinks away from the edges and sinks.  Definitely cooked, but just not got the structure.  I think I'll have to give up on this one.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 9:52pm
post #17 of 38

Wow, I don't understand this. You are using all purpose flour or plain flour and regular sugar. Liquid honey right?

It is delicate true but for me it didn't shrink down like that.

LizzieAylett Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 9:55pm
post #18 of 38

Plain flour, granulated sugar, liquid honey.  The addition of the bicarb did change the texture, but not the sinking/shrinking.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 9:56pm
post #19 of 38

I had success with half the recipe as cupcakes. This week I will try the full recipe with the addition of 1/2 tsp. baking soda and get back to you.

LizzieAylett Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 9:57pm
post #20 of 38

Thank you.  I've never had this problem with any other recipe.

Gerle Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 10:01pm
post #21 of 38

I've made several of Carrie's cakes before and never had a problem. but I, too, have experienced problems with this cake.  I've emailed Carrie and am waiting for a response.  If and when I hear back from her, I'll let you know what she says.  Maybe it will clear up the problem for both of us.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 10:03pm
post #22 of 38

I agree that it doesn't have a lot of structure. I will give the full recipe a try and then try adjusting the structure. Sorry this happened to you. Maybe in the small area of a muffin tin cup, it has the "walls" to support it better than the larger tin. I will give it a try.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 10:29pm
post #23 of 38

Gerle, on her blog - in addition to the cake,  she has half the same recipe as cupcakes but submitted by another contributor. What I don't understand is you would think when the recipe is there twice - that someone would have tested either one or noticed an error. I know there has to be soda in it yet it isn't mentioned in either recipe as an ingredient or in the method. Yet with those acidic ingredients it has to have soda for it to work. It works as the half recipe as cupcakes with 1/4 teaspoon of soda although it isn't the strongest structure but it didn't collapse. It is easier for it to support itself in a muffin tin though.

Anyway, I am going to try it as the full recipe with the addition of 1/2 tsp. baking soda for starters and then try some other changes. Let us know if you hear back.

Gerle Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 10:42pm
post #24 of 38

I will do that.  I'm curious to see what she has to say.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 25 Jul 2015 , 11:27pm
post #25 of 38

Me too.

craftybanana2 Posted 26 Jul 2015 , 2:55am
post #26 of 38

I was looking at some other honey butter cakes, and none of them use buttermilk, just regular milk. Would changing it to regular milk eliminate the need for the extra baking soda?

Gerle Posted 26 Jul 2015 , 3:21am
post #27 of 38

That's a good question.  Wish I knew the answer.

craftybanana2 Posted 28 Jul 2015 , 2:25am
post #28 of 38

I'll try that this week with regular milk, once I buy some more. Will hopefully be able to report back within a few days :)

Gerle Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 2:03am
post #29 of 38

I still haven't got an answer from her.  Will give it a few more days to see if she's going to respond and maybe try again.  Otherwise maybe try to get an answer from another source.

craftybanana2 Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 11:14pm
post #30 of 38

I made half the recipe with regular milk instead of buttermilk. I turned the oven down to 325F for my shiny pan and baked 20 minutes. Only my non-shiny pan cupcakes domed, the ones in the shiny pan were only slightly domed. They seemed overly moist and super sweet with way to much honey flavor. They remind me of biscuits soaked in honey instead of topped with a dab of honey. I won't make these again for ppl since my stomach is feeling the too-much sweetness of just one. The honey flavor is nice, but too overpowering. It also seems like there's too much liquid? They were too moist for my taste, I'm guessing because of all that sugar.

I wonder what the rules are for subbing a few tablespoons of sugar for honey are in a recipe. I like the idea of having a honey-flavored cake, just not as overpowering as this one.

And just got done looking at Jewish Honey Cakes and they seem to have an equal amount of baking powder and soda, and no buttermilk. Although some used yogurt and others had orange juice in there.
Just a few of the links I browsed.

Edited to add that it made 16 cupcakes. All of which I will be throwing away and not taking to church, they're just too sweet. :(

*Last edited by craftybanana2 on 1 Aug 2015 , 11:15pm

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