I still remember very well the first time I tasted this cake, more than fifteen years ago. My aunt H. brought the recipe and it was a big hit since then. The whole family, aunts, cousins......everybody loved it. They even served it in some family weddings. Although I made this cake endless times, and tasted others as well, aunt H. is still the one who makes it best. Her honey cake has a unique flavor and texture.
What is special about this cake -besides being incredibly good- is the way it's made. Unusual and Very easy method, no need for a mixer or any fancy schmancy material. All you need is a pan and a wooden spoon! Its baking time is relatively fast too. The only thing that is a bit "time consuming" is the making of the pastry cream. I usually make it the night before. I sometimes make this cake just because I have leftover pastry cream.
I personally like cakes that have different textures, and this one has it all: sweet tender biscuit layers with a smooth fluffy vanilla pastry cream in between. Topped with a layer of dark chocolate to balance the sweetness, plus some crunch from the crushed almonds. It is a cake worth a try and once you make it I am sure it will be one of your favorites.
150 g unsalted butter.
100 g granulated sugar.
1/4 cup honey.
1 large egg.
3 Tbsp whole milk.
1 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
400 g all purpose flour.
1/2 tsp baking powder.
1/4 tsp salt.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk.
1 large egg.
4 egg yolks.
70 g granulated sugar.
60 g corn starch.
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract.
70 g soft unsalted butter.
100 g dark chocolate, melted.
Crushed toasted almonds.
1- Preheat the oven to 375 f. Butter a 16 1/2 by 11 1/2 baking sheet. Set aside.
2 -In a sauce pan combine the butter, sugar, honey, milk, egg and baking soda. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until all the butter is melted. Add the vanilla. Strain the mixture in a bowl and set aside.
3- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in three batches. At first you can use the wooden spoon to mix, then you'll have to use your hands because the dough will become harder. The final dough should be smooth and not sticky. If the dough feels sticky after all the flour is added, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. But remember not to over work the dough or you will end up with a tough cake instead of a light flaky one.
3- Press the dough on the baking sheet. Using your hands, flatten it as evenly as you can all the way to the sides of the pan. Prick the dough and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cookie rack.
Pastry Cream Preparation
1- Heat the milk over medium heat.
2- In a sauce pan, combine the egg, egg yolks, sugar and corn starch. Whisk until smooth.
3- Gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Cook the cream over medium low heat until it thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as it starts to bubble remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
4- Transfer the cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. To avoid a thick layer from forming on top of the cream, the plastic wrap should touch the top of the cream. Let the cream cool completely. If not using the same day, the cream should be well kept in a container and refrigerated . It can keep for 4 to 5 days.
5- When the cream is completely cool, add the soft butter and mix until light and fluffy (I use my hand held mixer for that).
1- Cut the cake vertically into 3 equal parts, about 5 inches each.
2- Spread the cream between each layer. You'll have 3 layers of cake and 2 of cream.
3- Cover the cake with the melted chocolate and decorate with the crushed almonds.
4- Cut the cake into 2 by 1 inch rectangles or into squares.
It is preferable to let the cake sit for an hour or 2 before cutting. This cake actually tastes better the following day. It can keep for a day in a cool dry place and should be put after that in the fridge.