Honey cakes bake up like the summer solstice in a pan.
Golden, sweet and almost glowing, this beautiful, pull-apart honey cake sweetens any Litha or Solstice ritual.
So tie on an apron and follow the recipe below to make your midsummer magical.
(For other ideas on how to celebrate the summer solstice, check out 10 Ways to Celebrate Litha.)
Please note: This post may contain affiliate links.
Why honey cakes?
Across a variety of European and North African cultures, the ancients considered the rare prize of foraged honey a gift from the gods.
In neopagan traditions born out of Western Europe, many practitioners still leave honey cakes in the garden on the night of Midsummer’s Eve to delight the woodland spirits, sometimes called “faeries.”
Serve honey cakes during a summer solstice ritual or leave them on the altar/in the garden as an offering.
With this in mind, I picked up some high-quality honey on my trip to Savannah, Georgia early this year. I’ve been saving it all this time!
Compliment this honey cake by serving it with fresh fruit and milk.
For the adults and lactose-intolerant, mead (honey wine) also pairs nicely with honey cakes.
Add a bonfire and a few tiki torches, and make this lovely festival meal one to remember.
A few notes:
This post went viral and a lot of my readers shared their experiences, so you get the benefit of their wisdom!
You may end up with a little extra batter. Subbing out honey for sugar is tricky business, so I concentrated on getting the ratios correct for that and apparently overshot the amount of batter by about 4 cupcakes.
Reduce the ratios as your own risk! Or just do what one reader did and make some extra cupcakes (perfect for the altar or as an offering).
You Will Need:
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 cups sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup honey
-2 sticks butter (softened)
-1 cup milk
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-oil or cooking spray to grease mold
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lower if your oven runs hot. Grease your silicone honeycomb cake mold.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in one bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add honey. Beat in vanilla.
Slowly add flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat until just smooth.
Place cake mold on cookie sheet for support during baking. Pour batter into greased cake mold and put in preheated oven.
Watch it! Honey caramelizes a lot faster than sugar. Bake until you can plunge a fork into the cake and it comes out clean.
Allow to cool for at least 1.5 hours before removing. Remove carefully from mold by placing another cookie sheet on the “cake side” of the mold and then flipping both cookies over. Gently pull off the mold and see how you did!!
This looks amazing I can’t wait to try it!
About how long do they bake?
I absolutely love your honey cakes and have made them a couple times a year to celebrate the sabbats. But i have been recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance, have you or any of your readers convertered this to gluten free?
check out this article for a gluten-free honey cake recipe 🙂 https://www.goodforyouglutenfree.com/gluten-free-honey-cake-rosh-hashanah/
Did you end up trying a gluten free version? If so, how did it turn out?
I have made this as written with Better Batter 1-1 gluten free flour. It came out perfectly. If you can’t find that, maybe another 1-1 flour would work.
About how long would you bake it?
I baked mine for about 30 minutes, but my oven runs HOT so I can never rely on my bake times for other people. I just bake it until a fork comes out clean at a slightly lower temperature than usual because of the honey.
Mine took about 40 minutes in a fan oven
Is the cake mold absolutely necessary? Or can i use a regular cupcake pan?
Of course you can use a regular cake pan! Absolutely! The pan is only for presentation and symbolism. If you use a regular cake pan, be sure to grease it well.
So glad the website is back up and I can make this honey cake in time for Litha 🙂 Really enjoy your blog. Thank you!
I’m going to try this in my beehive molds ..thanks for sharing the details and tips about the honey. I use to take my cake out of the mold brush or drizzle with honey and bake another 10 to 15 minutes to get that crispy thin outer layer it’s to die for …try it
Just tried! I have a couple questions: Did you use quite a bit of oil in the mold to achieve that golden/crispy edge? Second, when I finally got the mold off it was all in one piece but all the outer combs are pulling away from the center, do you think I over-filled the mold?
Delicious cake, we made a lavender lemon glaze to go with it!
I did use quite a bit of oil to grease the mold thoroughly. I also think a higher honey content causes it to carmelize the top.
Not sure about the second part of your question. I let mine cool a looooong time before I pulled the mold, I think that may have helped.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this project, feel free to post pics!
Any suggestion on how to make this for a gluten sensitive person??
I’m not the best with GF, but here’s an article on how to add honey to any cake recipe. Maybe you could use a GF recipe as a base?
Hmmm, about 16oz … I was about to fill 4 standard cupcake cups
The pan I received fit inside my 10″ cast iron with a small amount of space on all sides. I’m not at home to measure it right now.
See the updated post under the heading “A few notes” and thanks so much for your input.
I tried this one time with at 325 in the oven, I filled the batter to the top of the mold which was a terrible idea. It took about 45-50 mins to cook all the way through and completely burned the edges and honeycomb part. Also it has really gross looking air pockets all on the combs.
Tried again today with the oven at 310, about a half inch from the top left open with the batter, and I even put some foil around the edges so it didn’t burn and it came out perfectly around 45 mins. + 6 cupcakes with the leftover batter.
Not having a cook time totally turns me off from wanting to try a recipe but this one looked so declious and I bought the mold already! The cake itself is so good! You can really taste the honey. I wonder if brown sugar would be even better than the regular sugar.
Thank you for sharing this 🙂 Blessed be!
Thanks for your insights, I had the same experience of the cake being too brown, tho it tasted great. Next time I will follow your advice and make extra cupcakes, along with lowering the temperature. Have a blessed Solstice!
I’m making this for a solstice party. I made it the first time and had the same experience. I had about the same amount left for cupcakes too. I made it again and did the same amount of batter for the cake as you. Added a glaze of honey to finish it. Love this cake for my midsummer party.
Did you use creamed honey or liquid honey?
I used local wildflower honey. It wasn’t creamed.
Hello, I’m planning to make this cake on Sunday for an Oscars party. I purchased the mold too — so excited! Question: is it really 3/4 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda? That seems like a lot of baking powder, especially in relation to the amount of baking soda. Thanks in advance.
What is the actual measurement for the butter?
Where I’m from, 2 sticks of butter would be 2 pounds. There’s no way that’s right!
2 sticks = 1 cup
I am so happy I found you!! Your site is amazing and very informative! Thank you for this recipe! I will be trying it this Litha!!
I’m happy you found me, too! Happy Litha!
Hi! I love this idea but I’m from the UK and we do not use the same measurements. Do you have a version of this using grams and ounces?
I’m making this cake for my solstice party on Friday! How did you get it to look crispy, almost like a waffle? did you put honey on the top? the cake tastes very good otherwise, but I think I might reduce the vanilla so it tastes more like honey, and I’m going to try a lemon lavender glaze that I think will pair nicely. great recipe!
Can I use almond milk instead of regular milk?
Substituting almond milk for regular milk is almost always fine. It would be the same measurement too!
This looks very similar to the ancient Arabic honey cakes. I’m really looking forward to trying it, and to see if it is similar to the Abbey Honey Cakes that were made by the monks.
I made this cake today for the solstice. The recipe made a lot of batter. I had enough batter for two cakes. The cake is very dense and delicious. The color is beautiful. I trimmed the top so that the cake would lay flat. The cake breaks into little cakes.
I did the same thing! I was so surprised by the amount left over. It looks amazing using the honey comb mold though. Blessed solstice.
I just made this cake! It smells divine and is super tasty, but I wasn’t able to get the caramelized look- it looks a bit dull. I did have enough batter for two cakes- should I add more honey, or add a verrry generous amount of oil to grease the pan to get it caramelized for the second?
would it be possible to add in herbs or something? like a bit of lavender or rosemary? thanks!
I’ve made these and I think lavender would taste better. You’d only need 1-2 teaspoons of dried.
Delish! For the next run, I’d like to know how to get that beautiful carmelized top…
Just did my first attempt! I used a lot of oil on the cake mold and had some extra, which I threw into my bread pan. The smaller one cooked in 30 min at 325, but the cake mold had a lot of time to go, so I lowered the temperature to 310 and baked for another 20 minutes. It came out with a distinct pattern, though I’m pretty sure getting that caramelized top in the photos will require a post-mold glaze and some extra baking. I’ll experiment next time, and I’m also going to bake just the cake mold at 310 for 45 minutes and see what happens.
Also, for any newbies, since the recipe doesn’t mention these details:
1.) Make sure all of your wet ingredients are room temperature, not just the butter. Do not soften the butter via a microwave. Basically, take everything you need out about an hour to an hour and a half before you start combining ingredients (and yes, this includes the milk). It really changes how well things combine.
2.) Aerate your dry ingredients (minus the sugar). When measuring flour, don’t just dump it into your measuring cup. Spoon it from the bag into the measuring cup. When combining the dry ingredients, I like to use a whisk to mix them together and get some air in there. It can change how dense your end result is.
3.) When adding the flour mix and milk (alternating) to the butter/sugar/eggs/honey/vanilla mixture, make sure to start and end with the flour, and try to keep the ratios pretty even. That little cup of milk goes further than you think. Also be careful not to mix too much, as your end result can be pretty dense if you mix all the air right back out.
Good luck everybody! This recipe does taste delicious, so I highly recommend it!
I halved the recipe cause I only had a small Bundt bite tray and cooked in an electric oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Came out perfect! I then finished them off by brushing the tops with a honey and water syrup
Made this with Cup4Cup Gluten free flour and it tuned out perfectly. It did rise in baking a LOT so definitly don’t fill the mold al the way. I had left 1/4” but I’d recommend more like 1/2 to 3/4”. But it also gave me enough to make 9 flower cakes in a flower mini Bundt cake pan. It did take a long time to bake at 325 but didn’t get too done. I topped with a little extra honey and fresh whipped cream and it was the perfect cake for our summer solstice meal.
Hi!! I made this a few days ago to bring in the new moon as well as an offering. And of course, I gave some away to friends and family. I made them in a cupcake tin and it worked out great. I didn’t add as much sugar with mine, and it still tasted quite good. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!
After about half an hour of cooking I was getting worried about the cake burning since the center wasn’t setting so because the tray I baked it in has deep sides I poured in some water. Came out a beautiful golden brown after cooking at a slightly lower temp for another half an hour
What kind of butter needs to be used, salted or unsalted?
Ugh…I did not pay attention the fact that there may be extra butter. So I put all the batter in the dang mold! It’s been in the oven for almost an hour and I just want to eat my honey cake!
Can I leave put the sugar?
I would like to know the answer to leaving out the sugar also
I made this with banana puree (and a little bit of unsweetened apple sauce because I ran out of banana) instead of butter because I’m lactose intolerant and let me tell you… DO IT! Holy wow. Mine didnt look as good as the picture but it’s awesome. Gonna pack these in my lunches for work.
So I made a trial run for the solstice. I did cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller batch. Since i had no honeycomb pan or anything other baking pan that was honey or bee related, I decided to use silicone mini tartlet and pie forms (from Wilton). It made 7 of the tartlets. I used my oven style little airfryer and baked on the middle rack for 16 min at about 325F. I inverted one of the trays from the airfryer above the middle rack to divert the airflow and promote equal browning. Using the airfryer makes sure I don’t heat up my kitchen in summer.
I have to say, these are seriously good and the crumb so tender. They are divine with some honey drizzled on it. Perfect for the summer. Now that I think about maybe some honey sweetened lightly whipped cream on the side….Hmmm Thank you so very very much.
And thanks to all the other suggestions especially with the gluten free.
Followed the directions to a T and our cakes turned out perfectly and look it’s like the photo! My daughters and I were thrilled and my husband (who normally doesn’t eat sweets) was very impressed. The flavor is SO GOOD! Blessed Summer Solstice friends! 🐝🍯💛🌞
Has anyone made these with Duck egg instead of chicken eggs? My girl is allergic to the chicken eggs and I want to make this for her bee themed birthday
No, but that sounds interesting, let us know how it turns out!
Did you torch the top? Mine didn’t brown so I added honey and put it under the broiler but I might use a handheld torch next time