Rustic French Honey Cake

By • September 14, 2011 15 Comments

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Author Notes: Note: This cake is only slightly sweet. It is a cake that answers the age old question, “is it ok to put a slab of butter on my cake?” with a definitive yes. I find it great in the afternoon with an espresso and if it is a Saturday I might even attempt an armagnac, cognac or a sweet walnut liquor. If you just can’t help yourself you could add another 1/8 cup of honey.
The cake is good wrapped in plastic wrap for a couple of days. It was eaten over the course of 3 days here and, for me, only got better.

Makes 9 pieces

  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup unbleached cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup prunes, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350? F. Grease an 8 X 8 inch square cake pan. A parchment square in the bottom might be a good idea if you think the cake will stick to your pan. Grease the parchment too.
  2. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl. Any large pieces of bran left in the strainer can be discarded. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves.
  3. Add the eggs, honey, milk, and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the prunes and stir to distribute them.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve.

More Great Recipes: Breakfast & Brunch|Cakes|Breakfast

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Comments (15) Questions (0)


11 months ago rachelg

I followed the recipe exactly (except I used pastry flour instead of cake - maybe that was the problem?) and it was super dry. Is there any way I can easily make it more moist? Should I add more honey? or switch the butter for olive oil? Or add more milk? Thanks!


about 1 year ago Renee Meissner

This looks delictios! I'm going to the store tomorrow and will stock up on needed ingredients. I am sure that this cake made as directed will be perfect. Obviously, subbing many ingredients doesn't work….I don't understand when people sub ingredients and then complain? You didn't follow the recipe and then want to gripe about the outcome… puzzled.


over 3 years ago misslofox

I made this cake for a brunch this morning and it was beyond delicious. I was a little worried about the comments that it would be dry, but I found it to be very moist. I didn't chop my prunes very small - maybe that helped? In any case, this recipe is definitely a keeper!


over 3 years ago beijinggirl

Just made this - used whole wheat flour, omitted the prunes and baked in flower cake molds. Beautiful!


almost 4 years ago Susan

Exquisite! I subbed wheat flour for rye, and soaked the prunes in apple juice like Lillasyster suggested. It was so good I decided to forego the brownies I'd planned to make for a potluck and share this cake instead. Anything that can stand in for chocolate is of superior quality.


almost 4 years ago bklyncook

mmm..added applesauce because i feared the "dry" factor....yum easy...


almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Loved. I made the cake with whole wheat instead of rye flour--I didn't have any rye--and used the extra honey because I'm a wimp. It was very slightly dry, but that may have been my oven's fault--sometimes it runs hot, sometimes cold, and it was running a little hot today. We had it with cappuccino for dessert and loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.


almost 4 years ago Lillasyster

A very nice cake. I used plain AP flour instead of rye, the extra blob of honey and soaked the prunes in apple juice. Results were plenty moist and not too sweet; thanks for the excellent recipe!


almost 4 years ago Regine

More like a honey bread than cake since it just has a hint of sweetness even with the additional 2 tbsp of honey. Definitely good with butter or even cheese. I could see it cut in slices next to a plate with a nice selection of cheeses. I did not have rye flour nor do I like it, so I replaced the rye with the same quantity of all purpose flour. I also added about 1 tsp vanilla extract. Would I make it again? Yes. You could even up the honey from 1/2 cup to 3/4.


almost 4 years ago Brotha Percy

Oh, Man! I must make this, this very weekend and I will post my photo when mission is accomplished. :-)


almost 4 years ago Smallpeace

What did I do wrong?! My honey cake was very dry. Arathi, I like the idea of steeping the prunes in armagnac, maybe that would help. But I do think this very un-sweet cake needs the added dusting of the confectioners. Frowny face.


almost 4 years ago thirschfeld

Smallpeace, I have made the cake several times now and it has never been dry. It is not a particularly moist dense cake either though. Did you use 8 x 8 metal bakeware or some other bakeware? Did you use stone ground rye? Sometimes I find stone ground grain absorbs more moisture and needs a little more hydration. Also in the headnote you will notice it recommends for a sweeter cake to add up to an eighth of a cup more honey. Arathi's idea of steeping the prunes would be a great additon.


almost 4 years ago ashleychasesdinner

I am loving honey lately, so I am off to make this. I have similar plates to the one you have in your photo! Love that plate. Mine are on their last leg, since they are old and have been passed around to so many through the years. Thanks for sharing the recipe thirschfeld!


almost 4 years ago Arathi

I made this yesterday - I didn't dust with confectioners' sugar because I am afraid of dusting and always make a mess when I do it, but I did steep the prunes in some armagnac. I just had a tiny slice as a pre-run snack, I think this may be my dream breakfast cake. Looking forward to a much bigger slice when I am back from running. Thanks for the recipe, I think I might make this every week!


almost 4 years ago BubbleChild

Amazingly articulated recipe and gorgeous photos. I love not only the recipe, but the commentary and eating suggestions that go with. After living in France for a bit, this recipe seems pretty dead on to the traditional honey cake I would find in the market. Looking forward to playing with it! Cheers.