This month, the birthday boy (David) announced that he was tired of the options at Financier, and so Eugene offered to bring a cake from one of the bakeries in our neighborhood.
While he asked me about the options near us, I noted that if he wanted, I could actually just make them the cake myself. David agreed and sent over a short list of his favorite flavors, including chocolate and honey.
The flour-based frosting is actually one that I'd been wanting to try for a while, and the thing that inspired the recipe. It's kind of an amazing thing as the process is totally different than regular buttercream. Instead, a flour-thickened pudding is made as the base, then cooled and whipped with butter until light and fluffy.
The result is a a super creamy and buttery frosting that's much less sweet than the typical powdered sugar concoctions. Another benefit of the flour buttercream is that it lets you play around with different flavors and infusions.
The original recipe for this honey buttercream came from the Baked cookbook, but, with only 3 tablespoons of honey, I didn't think their recipe had enough honey flavor. I ended up substituting 1/2 cup of the sugar with more honey just to make it super...um...honey-er?
Whatever the word, the results are awesome! If you're a honey-flavored dessert lover, you'll be very much into this frosting.
I also urge you not to skip the finishing touches! The crunchy cocoa nibs work beautifully against the honey flavors of the buttercream and the sprinkle of flaky salt (I love maldon) gives it an added level of flavor reminiscent of salted caramel.
All around, seriously good stuff!
Loved this recipe? Here are three other birthday cake ideas you might like:
- Vanilla and Brown Sugar Birthday Cupcakes
- Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Espresso Buttercream
- Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
Thanks so much for reading!
Chocolate Honey Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream & Raw Cocoa Nibs
Makes 1 10-inch layer cake (12-15 servings)
Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious. Buttercream recipe adapted from Baked Expolorations via O Magazine
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup honey + 1/4 cup honey, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa nibs and flaky sea salt, for garnish
Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and line two 10" round baking pans with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together chocolate chips and coffee. Set aside.
Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined.
In the base of an electric mixer beat eggs for 3 minutes until light. Mix in 1/2 cup honey, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla, followed by the chocolate and coffee mixture.
Add the dry ingredients and gently mix in just until completely combined. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool layers in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely.
Make the frosting:
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar and flour. Add the honey, milk, and heavy cream, and set over medium heat, stirring until ingredients are smooth and evenly combined. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until sauce thickens and becomes pudding-like (about 12 minutes). Lower heat to low and continue to stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Let cool completely at room temperature (about 1 hour).
Once the flour mixture is cool, place the 1 1/2 cups butter in a stand mixer and beat until light and creamy. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in all the flour mixture and continue to beat until it is fluffy and smooth. Add the remaining honey and beat a bit longer until evenly incorporated.
Frost the cooled cakes with the honey buttercream, then decorate the tops with cocoa nibs and garnish with flaky salt. Serve the cake room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator at least 2-3 hours before serving so cake has a chance to reach room temperature (it tastes best at room temp!). Cake can be left unrefrigerated for up to about 6 hours.
Note: Both cake and frosting can be made in advance and refrigerated. Let frosting come back to room temperature before assembling cake.