Brown Butter Honey Cake


From Bee Ambassadors


Baked and photographed by Clara French.


According to Roman myth, Psyche is able to sneak past Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the underworld, by lulling the monster with a drugged honey cake. This version may not have the same effect, but paired with a cup of hot tea, it might just transcend this world.

Serves about 12

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh seasonal fruit

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then simmer until the butter begins to smell nutty and the color deepens to a light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Carefully separate the eggs, making sure no broken yolk gets in the whites. (If you need instruction on how to properly separate eggs, look here.)

Set aside the yolks, and place the whites in the bowl of a mixer. Beat whites until they form stiff peaks. If you’re not certain what “stiff peaks” means, look here. If you are beating the whites by hand with a whisk, be patient and don’t quit early.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the honey, sugar, and salt until pale yellow. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately fold flour and brown butter into the yolk mixture, mixing gently until smooth after each addition. Fold in the egg whites. (Here’s a good video showing this folding process.)

Chill batter for 5 minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and butter a round 8- or 9-inch cake pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will be thin. Cool in the pan for several minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.

Cut into wedges and serve with unsweetened, freshly whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit. The cake is also good served with a glaze of melted butter, honey, and fresh lemon juice.