I have all my best ideas when I’m lying in bed at night. After I’ve brushed my teeth and just before I nod off, things just come to me: outfit ideas, prospective DIY projects and, most recently, this cake. Maybe I hadn’t eaten a proper dinner and was subconsciously in need of a midnight snack or maybe the sweet tooth fairy just paid me a visit. Whatever the reason, this confection appeared fully formed in my head so I dashed off a quick iPhone note to myself and fell fast asleep.
As soon as I had the chance, I set about making my dessert dream into reality. I baked a honey-infused cornbread cake and spread on layer after layer of cinnamon buttercream. I whipped up (quite literally) a batch of homemade honeycomb candy and fashioned white-chocolate bumblebees to keep the theme going strong. I put it all together, stepped back and thanked my sleepy mind for its stroke of sweet inspiration.
Sweet Cornbread Cake
recipe from Epicurious
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/3 cups sugar
• 2 Tbsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 2/3 cups vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup butter, melted
• 2 Tbsp honey
• 4 eggs, beaten
• 2 1/2 cups whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9″ round cake pan.
2. Stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, eggs and milk and stir to moisten.
4. Pour half the batter into the cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the top just starts to brown.
5. Repeat with the second half of the batter, and let cakes cool completely.
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
• 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 6 cups powdered sugar
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1 tsp cinnamon
1. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter until it’s smooth and creamy (this should take two to three minutes).
2. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Then add in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon and mix until light and fluffy.
3. From here you can add a little more powdered sugar or milk to ensure you have the perfect texture.
recipe from The Pioneer Woman
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup corn syrup
• 2 Tbsp honey
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tsp baking soda
1. Line a high-sided pan with parchment paper.
2. Add the sugar evenly to a saucepan. Add the corn syrup, honey and water so all the sugar has been moistened—but don’t stir it! Turn the burner on to medium high and let the sugar dissolve.
3. Cook the mixture to 300ºF (a candy thermometer is ideal for this), which should take about five to ten minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat.
4. Whisk in the baking soda for about 5 seconds, and once it’s stopped foaming up, immediately pour the mixture into your parchment paper-lined pan. It’s important to move quickly so your mixture doesn’t burn!
5. Let cool until fully hardened, then use the back of a knife to shatter the honeycomb into chunks.
Once all your components are ready, it’s time to assemble the cake! I started by quickly melting some white chocolate melts and pouring them into this cute bumblebee mold. I let those cool in the fridge while I got everything else situated.
Start by using a serrated knife to slice the two cake rounds in half. Stack three of the layers with a generous smear of cinnamon buttercream in between. Once the third round is on top, spread on one more layer of frosting, then arrange pretty clusters of honeycomb and white-chocolate bumblebees around the edges. Finish by drizzling honey around the edges and then fight the urge (or don’t!) to slice into this puppy right away.