burnt honey cake with blackberry jam and marzipan

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there are few cakes that cross my mind as often as the pink champagne cake i made two years ago does. i think this is due to a combination of three things: 1) it’s one of the prettiest cakes i’ve ever made, 2) my life was in complete turmoil when i made it, and 3) the blog post that accompanies it is so unrepresentative of how i was feeling at the time.

those who know me IRL know that my disposition is not generally as sunny as my blog persona, but this case was pretty extreme — i start off the champagne cake post by talking about carrie bradshaw, which is weird because i’ve never seen sex in the city, and proceed to excitedly engage with the reader about the cake’s components and plans for new year’s eve. in reality, i was reeling from a messy breakup, an eating disorder, and some major personal fuck-ups. yet the cake is pristine and the post is the most happy-go-lucky thing i’ve ever seen.

i cranked out a lot of my best cakes during that time because i was baking 24/7 to keep my mind off things. i often use baking as a coping method, which is great, but then i neglect it when i’m actually doing well. i’m going to try and bake more when i’m already happy, instead of just using it to try and get happy, if that makes sense.

also, i think it’s pretty common for people to cultivate online profiles that make their lives look unrealistically perfect — i’m definitely guilty of this. moving forward, i’m gonna try and be more honest both on my blog and on social media!!

that’s it! sorry for rambling! this cake is tiny but it’s super flavorful, and you can easily double the recipe and make it in 6-inch round pans if you’re trying to serve more people. happy new year!!!!!

cake

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

filling

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup blackberry jam

assembly

  • 7 oz marzipan, room temperature
  • fresh blackberries
  • rosemary

 

for the cake, preheat the oven to 350º. grease three 3-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. place the honey in a large saucepan over high heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until dark golden brown. set aside to cool. whisk together all the dry ingredients, then make a well in the mixture and whisk in the honey and the remaining ingredients. you should have a thick, homogeneous batter. divide between the pans (you’ll have some batter leftover) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. when finished, the cakes should be dark brown, set in the middle, but springy. let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

for the buttercream, beat together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. add the salt, extracts, and powdered sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

to assemble, place one cake layer face down on a cake board. transfer some buttercream into a ziplock bag and snip the corner off. spread the cake layer with some buttercream, then use the bag to pipe a border around the edge (this prevents the jam from leaking out). fill the middle with some jam, then place the second layer on top and repeat. place the final layer on top and crumbcoat with the remaining buttercream. place in the fridge or freezer to chill. meanwhile, roll out the marzipan into a large circle on a work surface dusted with powdered sugar. try to make it a little less than 1/4″ thick. remove the cake from the freezer and quickly drape the marzipan over the top, using your hands to smooth it around the sides. cut off the excess at the bottom with a sharp paring knife. use your hands to roll the leftover marzipan into three thin ropes. pinch them at the top, braid them, and wrap them around the base of the cake. garnish the cake with a few sprigs of rosemary and some blackberries.

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