youtube pinterest twitter facebook instagram vimeo Bookmark Entries BURGER NEW Chevron Down Chevron Left Chevron Right Basket Speech Comment Search Video Play Icon Premium Nigella Lawson Vegan Vegetarian Member Speech Recipe Bookmark Comment Camera Scales Quantity List Reorder Remove Open book
Menu Signed In
More Nigella recipes

Honey Chocolate Cake

by . Featured in FEAST
Print me

Introduction

I was once in Dean & DeLuca in New York and saw a little chocolate cake decorated with sugar bees. Having gone through a Biedermeier period earlier on in my life, I have something of a weakness for bees, and have wondered for years how I could incorporate them in a cake of my own: this is it. It seemed only right, to make it a honey cake: beautiful, perfect, Napoleonic - though perhaps in a slightly Disneyfied way. You judge.

I was once in Dean & DeLuca in New York and saw a little chocolate cake decorated with sugar bees. Having gone through a Biedermeier period earlier on in my life, I have something of a weakness for bees, and have wondered for years how I could incorporate them in a cake of my own: this is it. It seemed only right, to make it a honey cake: beautiful, perfect, Napoleonic - though perhaps in a slightly Disneyfied way. You judge.

Honey Chocolate Cake
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Makes: about 10 slices

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 100 grams dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
  • 275 grams light brown muscovado sugar
  • 225 grams soft butter
  • 125 millilitres runny honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 250 millilitres boiling water

For the Sticky Honey Glaze

  • 60 millilitres water
  • 125 millilitres runny honey
  • 175 grams dark chocolate
  • 75 grams icing sugar

For the Bees

  • 25 grams yellow marzipan
  • 12 flaked almonds

For the Cake

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (broken into pieces)
  • 1⅓ cups light brown sugar
  • 2 sticks soft butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the Sticky Honey Glaze

  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar

For the Bees

  • 1 ounce yellow marzipan
  • 12 slivered almonds

Method

  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that's happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin.
  3. Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the runny honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. (I don't suppose there's anything to stop you doing this all-in-one in the processor, blitzing everything except the boiling water, and then scraping down the batter and pouring the water down the funnel with the motor running.) Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes.
  4. Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.
  5. To make the glaze, bring the water and runny honey to a boil in a smallish, though not tiny, saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate (I use my mezzaluna or 70 per cent cocoa solids buttons), swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk together. Sieve in the icing sugar and whisk again until smooth.
  6. Choose your plate or stand and cut out four strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and sit the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the icing over the cold runny honey chocolate cake and smooth it down the sides. I should warn you that the glaze stays tacky for ages (this is what gives it its lovely melting gooeyness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it. You can then very gently slide out the strips of baking paper to reveal a clean plate. Keep the pan of icing, and don't wash it up, as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.
  7. Divide the marzipan into six even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees' bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.
  8. Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky runny honey glaze left in the pan. About three stripes look best, in my not enormously considered opinion, and then very carefully attach the flaked almonds at an angle to make the bees' wings, two on each one (unsurprisingly). They might snap as you dig them into the marzipan bodies, so have some spare. I have to admit that, I also like to give them eyes by dipping the point of the skewer in the glaze and thence on the bees: they look more loveable with an expression, but this is where the Disney effect comes in. If a more imperial dignity is required, forgo the dotting of the eyes and present this as your Napoleonic Chocolate Cake.
  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that's happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin.
  3. Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the baking soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. (I don't suppose there's anything to stop you doing this all-in-one in the processor, blitzing everything except the boiling water, and then scraping down the batter and pouring the water down the funnel with the motor running.) Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes.
  4. Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.
  5. To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a smallish, though not tiny, saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate (I use my mezzaluna or 70 per cent cocoa solids buttons), swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk together. Sieve in the confectioners' sugar and whisk again until smooth.
  6. Choose your plate or stand and cut out four strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and sit the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the icing over the cold honey chocolate cake and smooth it down the sides. I should warn you that the glaze stays tacky for ages (this is what gives it its lovely melting gooeyness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it. You can then very gently slide out the strips of baking paper to reveal a clean plate. Keep the pan of icing, and don't wash it up, as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.
  7. Divide the marzipan into six even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees' bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.
  8. Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky honey glaze left in the pan. About three stripes look best, in my not enormously considered opinion, and then very carefully attach the slivered almonds at an angle to make the bees' wings, two on each one (unsurprisingly). They might snap as you dig them into the marzipan bodies, so have some spare. I have to admit that, I also like to give them eyes by dipping the point of the skewer in the glaze and thence on the bees: they look more loveable with an expression, but this is where the Disney effect comes in. If a more imperial dignity is required, forgo the dotting of the eyes and present this as your Napoleonic Chocolate Cake.

Tell us what you think

What 12 Others have said

  • Today I finally baked the honey chocolate cake and it was awesome. Its a must try and surely you will ask for more. Nigella, thankyou!! :)

    Posted by jerrin on 5th August 2015
  • The honey was a real surprise, really glad I finally took the plunge with this, although minus the cute bee embellishes. This is my 6th Nigella chocolate cake and suffice to say I'll keep baking them until we run out of recipes. Keep them coming Nigella!

    Posted by Mrs. Smits on 15th March 2015
  • Hi Nigella and team, What can I say!!! It's really a great recipe, when I first read about the boiling water, It seemed quite strange, but the result was fantastic!! My family and friends loved it. Very "chocolatosa", sorry but I don't know that word in English!! Very intense and tender at the same time. I put a ganache and praline on the top. One of my favourite chocolate cake recipe!! Thanks Nigella!!! Sandra, Argentina

    Posted by Sanmask on 8th October 2014
  • I made this in September for the MacMillan cancer charity coffee morning and it turned out brilliantly - very moist and chocolatey - I used the crushed crunchie on top of the cake as well as the bees so it looked like the bees were feeding on the honeycomb! The pieces of cake which were left kept well for a few days remaining moist, probably due to the honey - will definitely make again, maybe for a birthday.

    Posted by Dianamite on 3rd November 2013
  • Very impressed with this recipe, exceptionally moist and very chocolatey. I used baking powder as I ran out of bicarb and less liquid as the batter was quite runny already. Turned out great!!

    Posted by sosp89 on 7th July 2013
  • I LOVE THIS CAKE SOOOOO MUCH. I HAVE SEEN NIGELLA MAKE IT ON ONE OF HER PAST TELEVISION SERIES. I SIMPLY ADORED HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS CAKE LOOKED. I AM GOING TO TRY AND MAKE ONE SOONER THAN LATER!!!

    Posted by ANGEL.AARTIYAANA on 29th April 2013
  • Tried this recipe today .. Cake turned out to be very very nice .. Moist and soft .. Awesome recipe.

    Posted by shravyakilar on 22nd January 2013
  • I made this years ago for the first time and it's still one of my favorite cakes! AMAZING!

    Posted by sonalilq on 29th January 2013
  • This cake was delicious but instead of 250ml of water I used 250ml of milk as I dislike the idea of using water in a cake.

    Posted by Bartalesi on 2nd January 2013
  • Wow - this cake is amazing! It's extremely moist and looks incredible when finished. I didn't have marzipan so I went with a smashed crunchie on top and my guests couldn't get enough!

    Posted by bekka135 on 20th August 2012
  • I wanted to take this cake into work (to show off my amazing baking skills :P) but didn't have time to make the little marzipan bees, so stole an idea from one of your cupcake recipes and bashed up a Crunchie to sprinkle on top! Went really nicely and looked more impressive than it actually was - always a bonus :) Have also used the recipe mixture to make cupcakes instead of a whole massive cake, although I still need to get the cooking time down to a tee!

    Posted by Lady Hanban on 11th January 2012
  • Everybody should try this cake. Tasted delicous and is almost as the orginal Sacher Torte just the confiture missing.Plus my three year old helps along making the bees. Thank you Nigella.

    Posted by Stany on 26th October 2011
Show more comments