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Spiced honey cakes

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for spiced honey cakes.

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 18
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Spiced honey cakes
Use a single-blossom honey, such as leatherwood or chestnut, for a distinct flavour.
Tips for cupcakes
  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature before you start for ease of incorporation. That goes for butter, eggs, milk and other wet ingredients.
  • Prepare your moulds by lining with cupcake papers or buttering and flouring before you start.
  • Make sure your butter is soft but not melting. Coarsely chop it while it's cold and place in mixing bowl minutes before you start.
  • Scrape down sides of your mixing bowl regularly to prevent lumps in the batter.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. If the mixture shows signs of splitting (it'll look grainy), add a tablespoon or two of flour to the mixture and stir to combine before you go any further. A split mixture will result in tough cakes.
  • Beat butter and sugar, and eggs, in an electric mixer, but stir in dry ingredients and milk by hand to avoid overworking the mixture.
  • Fill moulds to 5mm below tops, unless otherwise specified.
  • Bake cakes in centre of oven and turn halfway through cooking time to ensure even baking (except for sponge cakes, where an even oven temperaturemust be maintained).
  • Remove cupcakes baked in paper cases from the moulds and place on a wire rack to cool, to avoid sweating.
  • Be patient and let cakes cool before icing or filling.


  • 180 gm plain flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch each of ground cloves and freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 110 gm (½ cup) raw caster sugar
  • 40 gm (2½ tbsp) brown sugar
  • 120 gm honey
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) almond oil or vegetable oil
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 20 ml Scotch whisky
  • For greasing: butter
Honey butter icing
  • 80 gm honey
  • 50 gm softened butter
  • 200 gm pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180C. Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and bicarbonate of soda, add sugars and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre, add honey, oil, milk, egg and whisky. Stir until smooth, spoon into 18 buttered and floured 1/3-cup-capacity cake tins (see note) and bake until dark golden and cakes spring back when centres are lightly pressed with fingertip (15-20 minutes). Stand in tins for 15 minutes, then remove from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • 2
    For honey butter icing, beat honey and butter in an electric mixer until fluffy and very pale. Add icing sugar and lemon juice, beat until smooth then spread on tops of cooled cakes. Cakes best eaten on day of making.


Note For this recipe we used a set of hexagonal cake tins available from Iced Affair, mimicking the shapes of fresh honeycomb. If you can't find these, you can use any 80ml-capacity cake tins, but you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

  • Author: Emma Knowles