Honey and Walnut Loaf Cake

Honey and walnut loaf cake topped with cream cheese frosting, decorated with homemade honeycomb and finished with a drizzle of honey. What a beauty!

Before we get into the recipe I have to mention that this cake is made using fresher than fresh honey, harvested by my niece and nephew (with the help of their parents of course!). I was so pleased when they gifted me a jar of the honey, I immediately started harvesting a whole load of baking ideas, with this cake being the top of the list.

Honeycomb walnut loaf cake

How to make honeycomb

Making honeycomb is so much easier than I thought it would be! I followed BBC Good Food’s Video Tutorial which was super helpful to see how it was meant to look at each stage. I definitely recommend giving that a watch, and here are a few of my own top tips to help you out:

Tip #1 – Be REALLY patient
It can take a while for the sugar to dissolve and turn to liquid. I had to patiently wait a good 10 minutes for this to happen. Just don’t be tempted to turn the heat up, it won’t speed it up and instead you’ll probably end up burning the sugar.

Tip #2 – Look for a deep golden colour
Before you add the bicarbonate of soda, you want the sugar to be a really deep golden colour and reaching a rolling boil in the saucepan. Think the colour of maple syrup. If you add the bicarb too early when the sugar isn’t hot enough, the honeycomb will end up chewy rather than crunchy.

Tip #3 – Only stir the bicarb in for a couple of seconds
As soon as you add the bicarb the honeycomb with froth and bubble up, you only want to stir the mixture for a couple of seconds before pouring it onto the greaseproof paper. Over-stirring will deflate the honeycomb and it won’t have those lovely air pockets throughout.

Honeycomb walnut loaf cake

How to decorate your honey and walnut loaf cake

I chose to decorate my cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s not as sweet as traditional buttercream and the tangy flavour of cream cheese pairs so well with honey. This recipe makes enough for a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Use a spoon or a spatula to swirl the frosting on top.

Spreading cream cheese frosting on honeycomb walnut loaf cake

The final touch

A drizzle of honey is the finishing touch for this cake. Do this just before you’re ready to serve the cake, otherwise, the honey will soften the honeycomb.

Drizzling honey on loaf cake

More cake recipes you will love


Honey and Walnut Loaf Cake Recipe (makes 8-10 slices)

Ingredients

For the loaf cake:

200g Stork tub (margarine) or unsalted butter
170g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
100g chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting:

70g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
150g icing sugar
70g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge

For the honeycomb:

100g caster sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by making the loaf cake. 

Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.

Now add the remaining flour, milk and honey and mix together until fully combined. Add the chopped walnuts and fold everything together one last time.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Whilst the cake cools make the honeycomb.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large saucepan add the caster sugar and honey. Heat gently on a low temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and a clear liquid has formed. You’ll need to be patient as this can take 10 minutes or so.

Now turn the heat up to medium and heat the liquid until it is bubbling up and has turned a golden amber colour. Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning. Again be patient as this can take another 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and immediately stir into the mixture until the powder has dissolved. This will happen very quickly and the mixture will foam and bubble up. Pour the honeycomb onto the greaseproof paper and leave to set.

Now make the cream cheese frosting.

Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese (cold from the fridge) and fold into the mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can quickly become runny.

Time to decorate!

Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake. Use your hands to break up the honeycomb into shards and scatter them on top of the frosting. Finish with a drizzle of honey.

Store your honey and walnut loaf cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.




Cream Cheese Frosting

Problems making cream cheese frosting? Does it always turn into a lumpy, runny disaster? Trust me, I’ve been there! Finding a U.K recipe that actually works can be tricky, but believe me when I say that this one will not let you down.

It’s taken me years of failed attempts to finally develop a recipe for cream cheese frosting that is spreadable, pipe-able and silky smooth. I actually jumped for joy when it worked!

cream cheese frosting

Success tips for cream cheese frosting

  1. Use Full-fat Philadephia Cream Cheese
    In the U.K our cream cheese is more like a spread and thin in texture. I’ve found that low-fat versions or any other brand of cream cheese isn’t thick enough and results in a runny frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on its own for 1-2 minutes first.
    This will break down any lumps and make sure the frosting is completely smooth. You also want to beat the butter until it is really pale so that the frosting comes out a lovely bright white colour.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar.
    Making sure the icing sugar is really fine in texture will keep the frosting smooth and lump-free.
  4. Keep the cream cheese in the fridge.
    This is THE most important tip. You want the cream cheese to be as thick as possible, if it’s kept at room temperature it will start to loosen and become soft. Therefore only take the cream cheese out of the fridge when you are ready to use it in the recipe.
  5. Gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture
    At this step swap the electric mixer for a wooden spoon or spatula. Very gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture until it has JUST combined. Be really careful not to over-mix as the frosting can very easily turn to liquid.
cream cheese frosting

Recipe ideas for how to use cream cheese frosting

There’s plenty of ways you can use cream cheese frosting, it’s really versatile and pairs particularly well with vegetable or fruit cakes. Want some recipe inspiration? Check these out:


Ingredients

Makes enough cream cheese frosting to decorate 12 cupcakes or the top and sides of a two-layer 8inch cake.

  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 150g full-fat cream cheese frosting (cold from the fridge)

Method

Step 1

Cut the unsalted butter into chunks and put it in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric whisk or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until super soft, fluffy and pale in colour.

step 1, beat the butter

Step 2

Sift half of the icing sugar into the bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently mix the butter and icing sugar together first for 30 seconds (this will help stop the icing sugar from going everywhere when using the electric mixer). Now turn the electric mixer on a medium-high speed and beat together until smooth and fluffy.

step 2, sieve the icing sugar

Step 3

Sift the remaining icing sugar into the bowl. Repeat the same step as above, using a wooden spoon or spatular to first mix the butter and icing sugar together, then the electric mixer to beat together until you have a smooth mixture.

step 3, beat together

Step 4

Take the cream cheese out of the fridge and add it to the bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula (not the electric mixer), to gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture until smooth and just combined. Be careful not to over mix at this stage.

step 4, fold in the cream cheese frosting

Step 5

Use straightaway to decorate your bakes, or cover with clingfilm and store the cream cheese frosting in the fridge for up to 3 days. I used it to decorate these gorgeous Strawberry Cheese Cupcakes

strawberry cheesecake cupcakes

Mojito Cake

Classic cocktail meets cake. Flavoured with white rum, mint and lots of lime, this mojito cake is light, refreshing and packs a real punch!

I had so much fun developing this recipe, spending an afternoon drinking rum and eating cake. Dreamy. I loved experimenting with the flavours to find the perfect balance between sweet and citrus, and making sure the rum comes through but doesn’t blow your head off!

So what makes this a mojito cake?

Well, first the three layers of sponge are flavoured with lime zest and vanilla. Then whilst the cakes are still warm, a sugar syrup infused with lime juice, fresh mint and white rum is then drizzled over, soaking into the sponge. A simple buttercream with fresh lime juice and white rum is used to sandwich the cakes together, and the final touches are a sprinkle of lime zest and a lime wedge placed on top.

Mojito cake
Mojito cake ingredients
Mojito cake mixture

Ingredients (makes a 3 layer, 8 inch mojito cake / 8 slices)

For the cakes:
300g Stork tub
300g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
300g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons whole milk
3 limes, zest only

For the syrup:
3 limes, juice only
100g caster sugar
Small bunch mint
100ml white rum

For the buttercream:
300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
600g icing sugar
3 tablespoons white rum
1 ½ lime, juice only

For the decoration:
1 lime, zest only
Mint leaves
Lime wedges

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of three 8inch round baking tins with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the sides with a little butter.

Start by making the cake. In a large bowl beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy.

Mix in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the 300g flour with each egg to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining flour, baking powder, lime zest and milk and fold together until smooth and combined. Be careful not to over-mix. The mixture should drop off the spoon but still hold its shape.

Divide the mixture equally between the cake tins. Lightly tap the baking tins on the side to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Whilst the cakes are baking, make the mojito syrup. Add the lime juice, sugar and mint to a saucepan and heat on medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, the liquid is bubbling up and is syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir through the rum. Leave to infuse for 10 mins, then strain into a bowl. 

Take the cakes out of the oven and leave them to cool for 5 minutes. Prick them all over with a toothpick or skewer and spoon over about 3 tablespoons of syrup per cake. Leave to cool completely.

Now make the buttercream. Beat the butter until really soft and pale in colour. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until smooth. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, add the rum and lime juice and beat again until smooth. If the buttercream is too soft add a 1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar.

Time to decorate. Put one of the cakes on a pretty plate or cake stand. Spread an even layer of buttercream on top. Top with the second cake and repeat. Put the final cake on top and cover the top with buttercream. Decorate with the lime zest, lime wedges and mint leaves.

Blueberry Dream Cake

Light and airy vanilla sponge with a bottom layer of blueberries, topped with a caramelised oat crumble and served with hot custard or cream. Blueberry Dream Cake literally tastes like a dream!

This recipe is inspired by one of the most traditional and famous Danish cakes Drømmekage, which translates into English as “dream cake”. I’ve kept the sponge ingredients and method the same but added blueberries for a fruity twist. The topping is traditionally made with coconut, but I chose to make it with oats instead (I’ll admit it’s what I had in the cupboard!) and added a teaspoon of cinnamon to compliment the blueberries.

Blueberry dream cake with custard poured on top

The method for a Drømmekage sponge is so different from any other cake I’ve made before. For starters, you whisk the eggs and sugar first, rather than creaming the butter and sugar. I know, I was confused too, but trust me it works! Then you add melted butter, vanilla and milk. At this point, I was thinking this can’t be right but stay with. Finally, you add the dry ingredients and fold everything together.

I put the cake in the oven, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Well, the result was amazing! The sponge is moist but light, sweet but not too sweet, and the caramelised topping just takes it to a whole other level. I served mine warm with custard, and after the first bite, I totally understood why it’s called a dream cake.

Blueberry dream cake

Ingredients (makes an 8inch cake / 8 slices)

For the cake:
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
200g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
130ml whole milk
150g fresh blueberries

For the caramel oat crumble:
90g unsalted butter
30ml whole milk
150g soft brown sugar
100g porridge oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon

To serve:
Custard or cream


Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of an 8inch deep loose-bottom round baking tin and grease the sides with a little butter.

Start by making the cake. Combine the flour and baking powder together in a bowl, stir through and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together for about 5 minutes until pale and frothy.

Melt the butter in the microwave in 20 second blasts or on the hob. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk to the whisked eggs and mix through. Add the dry ingredients and fold the mixture together until you have a smooth mixture (don’t worry if it looks runny, it’s meant to be like that). Finally fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the mixture to the baking tin, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and the middle is firm to the touch.

10 minutes before the cake is ready, make the caramel oat crumble. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and stir together on a medium-low heat until the butter and sugar have melted and you have a thick oat mixture.

Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and pour the caramel crumble on top. Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the topping has set and has browned around the edge. Leave to completely cool in the baking tin.

Best served warm with either a dollop of custard or a drizzle of cream. Store the cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Classic Victoria Sponge

It’s back to basics with this bake. Classic Victoria sponge cake, so simple but so delicious!

There are so many variations of a classic Victoria sponge. Buttercream or fresh cream? Raspberry or strawberry jam? Decorate or leave plain?

I started going down a rabbit hole when researching this one, only to realise that there isn’t really a “right” way and that, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter! It’s one of those cakes that I think you can decide what your classic take on Victoria sponge will be, and let’s face it, it’s always going to taste amazing.

So here’s my take on it. Beautifully baked vanilla sponge cakes sandwiched together with strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream flavoured with vanilla essence. For the decoration, I chose a simple dusting of icing sugar. As you know I’m all about simplicity!

Ingredients (makes a two-layer 8inch Victoria sponge cake)

For the cake:
250g Stork tub
250g white or golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

For the filling:
3-4 tablespoons strawberry jam
150ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4-5 fresh strawberries (optional)

For the decoration:
Icing sugar for dusting

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of two 8inch/20cm round baking tins with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the sides with a little butter.

Start by making the cake. In a large bowl beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy.

Mix in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the 250g flour with each egg to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining flour and baking powder, and fold the mixture together until smooth and combined. Be careful not to over-mix. The mixture should drop off the spoon but still hold its shape. If it’s too thick then add a tablespoon of milk and mix through.

Divide the mixture equally between the cake tins. Lightly tap the baking tins on the side to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and leave in the baking tins for 5 minutes to cool. Run a knife around the edge of the tins and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

Now make the filling. Whip the double cream and vanilla extract with a whisk or electric mixer until the cream starts to thicken, can hold its shape but is still soft. Be really careful not to over whip as this can make the cream hard and grainy. If you’re unsure, I found watching BBC’s video tutorial really helpful.

Time to decorate. Choose a cake layer for the base and place it on a pretty plate or cake stand. Spread the jam on top into an even layer. Make sure the jam doesn’t go right up to the edge of the cake, you’ll want to leave about a 1cm gap. Spoon the whipped cream on top and spread out into an even layer, again leaving space. Cut the strawberries lengthways and dot around the outer edge of the cake. Carefully place the other cake layer on top and lightly press down so that the jam and cream spread out to the edge underneath. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.