Have you ever sweetened a cake using honey? I can't believe it's taken me this long to try it! This Honey Vanilla Cake recipe is 3 delicious honey flavored sponges layered with homemade vanilla whipped cream! It's so easy to whip up and is the perfect size for small gatherings! Top it with fresh fruit in the summer and it's super tasty, gorgeous, and refreshing!
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How Honey Changes the Cakes Flavor
Did you know honey looks and tastes different depending on where it's from? Its flavor can range all the way from citrusy to floral based on the pollen in the area! That's one of the many things I love about honey! No two batches will taste exactly the same, but they're always sweet and delicious! If you make this cake using locally sourced honey (which I highly recommend), it'll bring out the flavor profile of that specific honey. I like to decorate this cake to match the honey's taste. I used honey with floral notes in this cake, so I topped it with some flowers! It also paired extremely well with fresh summer berries!
With the cake's delicate flavor, I decided to use homemade whipped cream for the frosting. I thought a vanilla buttercream would be a bit too sweet to add to the honey cake. A cream cheese frosting would be tasty, but I wanted to keep it light! It's also much easier to frost the cake using whipped cream. Rather than having to chill the cake layers and worry about making the frosting look pretty, all you have to do is plop on the whipped cream and spread it out! I am all about the ease of naked cakes!
Making the Cake Layers
This layer cake is incredibly quick and simple to put together! It uses regular all-purpose flour instead of cake flour and there's sour cream and buttermilk to keep it moist! The first thing you'll want to do is get your cold ingredients out of the refrigerator so they can adjust to room temperature (these are the unsalted butter, eggs, sour cream, and milk). Whisk your dry ingredients together, and then in a separate bowl, cream together your wet ones (minus the buttermilk). Alternately mix the dry ingredients and buttermilk into your wet ingredients, and you're all done with the cake batter!
Before adding the batter to the three 6-inch round cake pans, spray them with cooking oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Then, evenly distribute the batter and smooth the tops with a spatula. They only need about 20-30 minutes in the oven! If your oven cooks a bit unevenly, you may want to rotate the pans once or twice as they bake. When they are light tan and a toothpick comes out of the center clean, they're good to go!
Assembling the Cake
Let them cool for a while in the pans and then carefully flip them out onto a wire rack. You can make the whipped cream while they finish cooling! For this, all you have to do is whisk the heavy whipping cream for a few minutes, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and continue whisking until you reach stiff peaks! This is when the whipped cream is thick enough to hold itself together without drooping from the whisk. I recommend using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for this, unless you want a nice arm workout!
If your cakes still need time to cool, store the whipped cream in the fridge. Once they're ready, just lather the whipped cream on the cake layers! Try to keep the cake as cool as possible so the whipped frosting doesn't melt. It should be fine in normal environments but if it gets too hot, you could have a cake disaster on your hands!
To make this cake ahead of time, just wrap the cooled cake layers tightly with plastic wrap and put them in a large baggie. They can stay like this at room temperature for a couple of days, or in the freezer for about a week or two. Take them out to thaw a bit before layering them with frosting. When you're ready to assemble and serve the cake, whip up the cream and decorate away!
Tips & Storage:
- This recipe can also be used to make cupcakes instead of a layer cake! It makes 18 cupcakes. Just make the batter as instructed and evenly distribute into 18 cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 14-19 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).
- If you're making cupcakes, I found the easiest way to apply the whipped cream frosting was with a large cookie scoop. Fill the scoop about ⅔ full and then plop the whipped cream on top of the cupcake!
- Store the frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
Did you try this recipe?
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Honey Vanilla Cake
- (3) 6-inch round cake pans
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups/scale
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment (recommended)
- Wire rack
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup buttermilk room temperature
*see notes below to make your own
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream cold
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray three 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with round sheets of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and creamy (about 2 minutes). One at a time: stir in the honey, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream (mixing after each addition).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly mix ⅓ of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, followed by ⅓ of the buttermilk. Repeat until all of the dry ingredients and buttermilk are incorporated into the batter. Be careful not to overmix - stop stirring as soon as everything is combined.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter into the 3 cake pans and smooth the tops out as much as possible with a spatula.
- Bake all 3 cakes on the middle shelf for 23-29 minutes. You may want to rotate the pans halfway through if they aren't baking evenly. They're done when the tops are light brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 30 minutes and then carefully flip them onto a wire rack to finish cooling. While they're cooling, make the whipped cream.
- Whisk the heavy whipping cream vigorously until they've reached soft peaks (thick enough to hold together but droop when you lift the whisk). Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and continue whisking to stiff peaks (thick enough to hold together and remain stable when you lift the whisk).
Assemble the Cake
- Alternately layer the honey cakes with the whipped cream.
- Decorate the cake however you'd like or leave it plain. I recommend adding a bit of fresh fruit!